SHADOWMAN #2 by Andy Diggle, Stephen Segovia, and Ulises Arreola
While the story does suffer from its high-paced plot and a few confusing story beats, the overall experience of SHADOWMAN #2 is incredibly satisfying. With two of the strongest and most interesting characters in comics, as well as the amazing artistry of Stephen Segovia, keep an eye out for this growing series.
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New Orleans Reigns Supreme
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Jack Boniface has had a hard couple of years. After bonding with the Shadow Loa, a powerful voodoo spirit, he faced down some of New Orleans’ biggest magical baddies. Pretty quickly, though, he lost control of the spirit, sold his soul to his worst enemy, and became a rage monster named Magpie. All of this before he wound up trapped in the Deadside, the voodoo afterlife, punished by the spirit Baron Samedi. However, in Andy Diggle’s new run on the series, things seem to be looking up for Jack. He’s back in the land of the living, fighting off magical monsters alongside his former girlfriend, Alyssa. As SHADOWMAN #2 begins, though, we see that this happiness isn’t going to last long. Baron Samedi is on the hunt, and he will use any innocent New Orleanians to find and kill Shadowman.

Forward, Ever Forward

SHADOWMAN #2, Page 1. Courtesy of Valiant Entertainment

Diggle’s work on SHADOWMAN #2 is explosive, with a high-paced plot that flashes through some intense and exciting moments. However, this doesn’t mean Diggle forsakes the quieter moments. This issue feels incredibly balanced, and I appreciate the much smaller scope. This story doesn’t delve into the nature of the Shadow Loa or dig into the heartache of Jack’s history. Rather, it follows a concrete plotline that deals with a singular case of bad mojo in New Orleans. It feels like a nice change of pace from other recent stories in the SHADOWMAN mythos. It gives the characters a chance to recover from past wounds, while also allowing new and old villains to prepare for Jack’s return.

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While this plot does feel rather balanced, the story rushes along quite a bit as well. The story bounces between scenes in lightning succession. This has a mixed effect, sometimes feeling energetic and electrifying while other times it feels muddled. Diggle crams so much into this story, and 90% of it is so good. However, other elements aren’t properly explored. Characters come to some odd conclusions out of nowhere, while the reader is left to explore the magical elements on their own. One such element comes from a secret society that follows the Shadowman villain Master Darque. While I have a background with this shadowy group and its leaders Sabatine and Deveraux, their role and purpose aren’t explored nearly enough to draw new readers in.

From the Shadows

SHADOWMAN #2, Page 2. Courtesy of Valiant Entertainment

Diggle has wowed me with his exploration of Jack and Alyssa thus far, and he doesn’t disappoint with SHADOWMAN #2. While there are some elements that get skimmed over (i.e. Jack’s loss of control on the first page), others prove just how great these characters are. Based on everything these heroes have been through, they understandably have such different perspectives on life. Jack is a bit cynical about most situations, given how many times he has failed in the past. Meanwhile, Alyssa has a more hopeful and logical head on her shoulders. This gives the book a beautiful dichotomy that made me want to continue reading even during some of the messier plot sections.

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I do want to mention that some readers may find the villains of SHADOWMAN #2 uninteresting. They are, after all, a nameless mind-controlling voodoo priest and a giant swamp monster. They have no motivations outside of serving Baron Samedi, and that doesn’t lead to “good” villains. However, I find the “ultimate evil” archetype somewhat refreshing in this story. It isn’t particularly good characterization, but it does lend itself to the plot. Valiant Comics, SHADOWMAN especially, tend to dip into the gray areas of vigilantism. This has led to them being my favorite indie publisher, but it also leads to some deep and complex storytelling. Sometimes, I just want to watch a superhero fight someone I know to be evil, and SHADOWMAN #2 sticks to its guns here.

Swamp Magic

SHADOWMAN #2, Page 3. Courtesy of Valiant Entertainment

Stephen Segovia returns to lend his incredibly talented hand to the artwork in SHADOWMAN #2. There is very little I can say about Segovia’s artwork. I can find absolutely nothing to critique. His work may just be some of the absolute best in modern comics. He fills each and every page with this intense energy, and his landscape artwork is absolutely gorgeous. Very few artists have a better grasp of character design, anatomy, and atmospheric artwork than Segovia. I cannot wait to see how he continues to push this series forward.

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Segovia doesn’t work alone, however, and Ulises Arreola deserves the same amount of kudos. His color work in SHADOWMAN #2 is just as intense as Segovia’s lines. His color choices in this issue were incredible, lending to the already powerful atmospheric storytelling of Segovia’s work. I especially enjoyed the way he differentiated between the two storylines. He fills Jack and Alyssa’s arc with more muted and earthy tones, mostly to give way to the serious tone of the story. Meanwhile, Sabatine’s story has more saturated colors. This showcases the more ridiculous and over-the-top elements of his arc, while also paying homage to Master Darque’s color scheme with the warm colors.

Final Thoughts: SHADOWMAN #2

SHADOWMAN #2 is an excellent reading experience. While I didn’t necessarily take to the high-paced plot, I find it incredibly balanced between characterization and story. The moments between Jack and Alyssa are masterfully choreographed — especially the ending fight scene. The depth of affection and friendship between the two becomes truly clear when the swamp monster Ziwanda attempts to kill them. Pair these elements with some absolutely gorgeous artwork, and you have a must-read comic book series in the making. You can pick SHADOWMAN #2 up at your local comic shop, or online at the Valiant Comics’ website or Comixology.

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