Shadowman #7 Visits The Dawn Of (Shadow)Man

by Tony Thornley

When it comes to legacy heroes, many of those legacies start in World War II, while others go as far as the middle ages. In Valiant Comics’ Shadowman #7, we see an uncommon era – the dawn of man.

The last few issues have explored the past of Jack Boniface’s bloodline. As the loa draws him into the past, he’s observed the adventures of his ancestors, but this issue is quite different. This time, he sees the definitive origin of the curse on his bloodline.

And in a huge shock, it’s not actually a curse. In fact, Jack’s earliest ancestor, Standing Wolf, is willingly bonded to the Shadow Loa to combat an evil sorcerer. Naturally this raises many questions for Jack, but thankfully he’s pulled back to his own body to ponder them…

Andy Diggle, Renato Guedes and Simon Bowland tell a very simple story. That is by no means a bad thing. The interesting thing though is that the small moments actually hold big revelations for the mythology of the character.

In the last few issues, Diggle has used Jack’s narration to try to make sense of the events we see. This issue he dials that back. He instead explores the origin of the shadow loa, and tells of the loa’s first experience saving the world with a human host. It works for this story, and gives Jack a lot to ponder in the coming stories.

Guedes is one of the best artists in Valiant’s staple. He gives this story a grit that fits the era, and casts the story in shadows befitting the title. He also gives the story a fluid sense of motion that few painterly artists are able to pull off. It looks great.

Bowland recognizes what Diggle’s script is doing and uses several tricks in his quiver to help the story accomplish it. He keeps fonts and balloons small, drawing the reader’s eye to the action taking place.

A lot of “everything you knew is wrong” stories come with fanfare and sometimes land with a thud. Here the team gives us a subtle take on the trope, and it works better than we usually see.

Shadowman #7 is available now from Valiant Comics.

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