Review: ‘Shadowman’ #13

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“Shadowman” #13 is a new beginning as Valiant slaps a fresh coat of paint on Jack Boniface with a brand new creative team taking over. Writer Peter Milligan (“Hellblazer”) and artist Roberto De La Torre (“Daredevil”) shift the book into a Vertigo-esque direction with a move towards shedding the superhero’s shortcomings.

WRITTEN BY: Peter Milligan
ART BY: Roberto De La Torre
PUBLISHER: Valiant
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: December 4th, 2013

One of the things that writer Peter Milligan does best is psychological horror and this issue immediately plays to his strengths as a writer. Milligan has immediately turned the book upside down by having the Abettors turn against Jack, which leads him on a path into the voodoo filled swamps to separate himself from Shadowman. Another interesting plot development that Milligan is exploring is the back-story of Jack’s time spent growing up in an orphanage. Growing up in institutions would have had a direct impact on Jack’s mental stability, and here we finally get to see some of the emotional baggage that comes with him being cast away, dejected and unwanted. Milligan is working to break Jack Boniface down psychologically, which makes him that much more terrifying and unpredictable.

Artist Roberto de la Torre delivers one of the best looking issues of “Shadowman”, as his dark and gritty style perfectly captures the mood, feel and seedy elements of the story. One of the problems that plagued this series in the past was the inconsistency on art, as some artists had styles just weren’t compatible with the jarring and unsettling nature of a book like this. Roberto de la Torre corrects that problem by taking the bleak look and feel of the New Orleans streets and transplanting them into these pages.

Valiant did a great job at perfectly matching “Shadowman” with the proper creative team to give the book a new status quo. Milligan and Roberto de la Torre have brought a focused vision back to a title that was floundering with mismatched artistic teams that just were out of sync. ‘Shadowman’ is a book that needs to be skewed towards the dark, sick and twisted to fully be able to seep into the gut of readers and give them a repugnant feeling when they dive into the pages every month. Milligan and Roberto de la Torre have brewed up the perfect cauldron of mystery, despondency and disorientation for “Shadowman” which makes this an exciting book to read.

4/5 Skulls