Posts Tagged With: Shadowman

Thought Balloon/Review: Valiant Entertainment’s 4001 A.D Summer “Event”

4001-ad-summer-event

A few weeks ago saw the conclusion to Valiant Entertainment’s summer event, 4001 A.D.

First off, let me tell you that I loved this story! I enjoyed everything that Valiant published for the 4001 A.D series, but I just don’t feel that this really qualifies as an “event”, at least in the way that most comic fans are used to.

To start off, let me give you a rundown of how this “event” was organized. The main story, told in 4001 A.D, involves a conflict between Father, the AI the space station that is New Japan, and Rai, Father’s protector over New Japan and his weapon against any who oppose him. You can learn everything leading up to this event in the first 12 issues of Rai, which has been collected in an exquisite hardcover deluxe collection. Without getting into too many specifics, Rai joins forces with the future Gilad, the Eternal Warrior and together they battle their way back onto New Japan and defeat Father, who has succumb to a virus and is separating sections of New Japan and sending them crashing to Earth. If you just want to know about the 4001 A.D storyline, proper, all you really need to read are these 4 issues.

The second story is told within the pages of Rai. Spanning issue 13 through issue 16, we actually get a glimpse into the past and learn about the first Rai, a female Rai and the Rai before our current hero. Overall, these issues have nothing to do with the main “event”, but do help flesh out the setting and show us what some of the other Rai’s were like. Issue 16 is important, because it takes place directly before issue 1 and sets up the entire series.

The last, and mostly fringe, stories are told within the various one-shots that involve the other heroes of the Valiant Universe. In the X-O Manowar issue, we learn about the origin of the X-O Mecha that Rai and Gilad use to get back to New Japan. In the Bloodshot issue, you discover that Bloodshot’s nanites have evolved past their original intent and are being on their own. In the Shadowman issue, we learn about an Earth city with a connection to the Deadside, and the formation of a new Shadow person. Lastly, in War Mother, we’re introduced to a new character, a hunter and scavenger of New Japan tech with a sentient rifle. With the exception of the X-O Manowar and Bloodshot issues, I believe that the stories told in Shadowman and War Mother will become a bigger part of Rai’s world come 4002 A.D.

So, with a third of the “events” issues taking place in the past, and the other third taking place on Earth, in separate communities, I feel that this is not a normal comic “event”. While this doesn’t change my opinion of the overall story or my love affair with Valiant, I feel that comic companies need “events” to sell titles and get comic shops interested in buying odd, random one-shots and new mini-series. I wish comics were in a different place right now, but they aren’t. Marvel is constantly doing massive, for over-reaching “events”, many of which are never completed on time, dragging on for months, while DC keeps reinventing itself in hope of catching up to Marvel’s numbers and sales. With these two big juggernauts out there, I can see why Valiant calls this little story, which takes place in the future of their universe, an “event”, because they need that boost, just to get shelf space.

I’m really, really tired of “events”! I remember when they used to be fun and exciting and rare. I can get behind what Valiant’s doing here, making the “event” accessible, by breaking the story up into groups, so that you don’t have to go broke reading everything, I just wish they would save the word, “event” for something bigger!

 

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Review: Book of Death #1

Book of Death #1Title: Book of Death #1

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

Cost: $3.99

Storytellers: Robert Venditti (writer) with Robert Gill (artist)

This issue starts off, in the past, with a child, named David, who can communicate or control insects, snakes and other assorted vermin. In the present, we find out that MI-6 and G.A.T.E have been on the trail of Gilad and Tama, the Geomancer from the future, whom escaped from custody. It appears that everywhere that Gilad takes the girl, death follows, leaving several small towns filled with the dead. Something dark is following the young Geomancer and Gilad is trying to protect her, but the different government agencies believe that the girl is causing the devastation, having never learned to control her powers. Capshaw send Aric to try and talk some sense into Gilad, but the immortal warrior declines any help and won’t bring the girl in. Most of the Unity team don’t believe that the girl is from the future, because time travel isn’t exactly something that the everyday public knows about. Tama made the trip from the future with the book of the Geomancer, a journal that chronicles the next 2000 years, and contains all the info on the deaths of several of Valiant’s elite heroes. As Tama reads from the book, we get a glimpse into the future, where we learn that the Unity team will grow in size and contain new members, both familiar and brand new. We learn that Aric will have a child in the near future, but will come to a grizzly end. We also learn that after Kay’s death, a new Geomancer comes forth, one that brings death and destruction with him, one that will change the world forever. As the Unity team prepares to take on Gilad and the girl, an unseen foe has the boy David, older now, and is using the boy to “battle” Gilad and Tama, causing the insects and vermin to attack them in their safe house. All seems lost, but Unity arrives and is able to save their wayward teammate and his companion. Livewire still wants the girl to be turned over, but Gilad trusts no one and refuses. Ninjak attacks the immortal and the battle begins!

OK, for a single issue, there is a hell of a lot of stuff going on in this book! We finally get more from Tama, the young Geomancer introduced at the end of The Valiant, and start to see hints of the person/being after her. While is didn’t go into too much detail about the flash forward presented by the Geomancer journal, we do get a lot of sneak peaks into the future of Valiant, much like we got with Rai #0 from the original Valiant Universe. This issue is great, setting up this mini-series event and features both a great story and gorgeous art…and tons of cameos! If you are a Valiant fan, you definitely need to pick this one up, as it may be the crux of all stories for the foreseeable future.

Recommended

BoD- Legend of Geomancer #1 On the topic of Book of Death, I must admit that I did not get a copy of the sister title, Book of Death: Legends of the Geomancer! While I want to read this series, it’s implementation, has left a very sour taste in my mouth. Right now, even if someone gave me a free copy, I would not read this issue! For those that don’t know, this companion series is a retailer exclusive. It’s not available digitally and never going to be collected (which I find ridiculous). Retailers only got 1 copy for every 25 issues of Book of Death they ordered, making this the lowest print run Valiant comic. Some comic shows and online retailers are selling this issue for upwards of $40, and it’s barely a week old (as of this writing). I understand that this ‘event’ is giving Valiant a lot of coverage in the entertainment media space, but I don’t understand why they would create a comic that supports the secondary market and alienates most of their fans. I really don’t care to ever own a copy of the single issues of this series, but some digital releases or a collector’s edition hardcover collection would be nice.

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Review: The Valiant #4

The Valiant #4Title: The Valiant #4

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

Cost: $3.99

Storytellers: Jeff Lemire (writer) with Paolo Rivera (artist)

Book Four starts off in the future, where an older Gilad battles the Immortal Enemy in a wasteland. Gilad has the mystery box, the one that Breaker has been trying to crack, and another device, which is kind of reminiscent of the Boon. As the two immortal foes are locked in battle, the Boon-like device activates and starts to zap the box with energy. In the present, Breaker discovers that he isn’t able to open the box, but does trigger a hidden, holographic message…from future Gilad! Neville and the team try to get both Gilad and the box together, as it’s the key to defeating the Immortal Enemy. At the mall, Kay and Bloodshot battle the Enemy, with Bloodshot taking a beating, but he constantly gets back into the fight. Bloodshot tries to get Kay to run, but she’s tired of running and begins to attack the Enemy, which no other Geomancer has done. However, the Enemy is too powerful for her and he deals her a mortal blow. Dying, Kay spends one last moment with Bloodshot and is able to use her ability to remove all of the nanites from his bloodstream, turning him human! Gilad makes it too the box, and opens it, revealing the future Geomancer inside. In the end, Bloodshot is gone and Kay is dead, and the Earth still has a Geomancer, but Gilad is unsure who actually won here today, the Enemy or him!

Wow, “holy status quo change, Ninjak!” I did not see this ending coming and it kinda floored me. I was really starting to like Kay and was hoping that she and Bloodshot would make it out and be the next duo for Valiant. Also, Bloodshot is gone, so I really can’t wait for Bloodshot Reborn to see where he goes after all of this. This, hopefully, won’t be the last time we see the Immortal Enemy, as he is a great Valiant Universe villain, and one that is incredibly scary. While we didn’t get a happy ending, we did get one hell-of-an-end to this fantastic mini-series.

Recommended

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Review: Shadowman: End Times Paperback Collection

Shadowman End Times TPBTitle: Shadowman: End Times Paperback Collection

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

Cost: $14.99

Storytellers: Peter Milligan (writer) with Valentine de Landro (artist)

Jack is dealing with a not of problems: moving in with his new girlfriend, constantly being watched by the Abettors, a group of mages who are supposed to help him in his quest against evil, battling the rogue loa trapped on Earth, dealing with his dark half, the Shadow Loa, and finding out that the father he thought was dead is actually alive! Yes, Josiah, the previous Shadowman, faked his death to escape it all and Jack is pissed. Jack losses everything in his quest to find his estranged father, including both the woman he loves and his soul, as he has to make a deal with Master Darque to help find his father in the land of voodoo. What Jack discovers will shatter his world and change the course of the Shadowman forever!

Another great story by Peter Milligan, as he takes the already dark world of Shadowman and makes it even darker! I’m not going to give too much away in this review, but if you like Shadowman, the Valiant Universe or heroes with a dark side, then this is the character and series for you. The art is great but the story is what brings it all together and makes it oh so wonderful. I highly recommend this one!

Recommended

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Review: Shadowman Volume 4- Fear, Blood, and Shadows Paperback Collection

Shadowman Vol 4Title: Shadowman Volume 4- Fear, Blood, and Shadows Paperback Collection

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

Cost: $14.99

Storytellers: Peter Milligan (writer) with Roberto de la Torre and All Barrionuevo (artists)

Jack is having a hell of a time since defeating Master Darque and protecting the world of the living from the Deadside. He’s waking up in ally’s covered in blood, having beat innocent bystanders for no reason and two senior Abettors have arrived and want Jack’s current Abettor, Alyssa, to relieve Jack of his Shadowman duties and powers, which will kill him. Jack must deal with the revelation that the Shadowman loa isn’t exactly a saint and that an event from his past is haunting his future and destroying his life. Jack and Alyssa must work through their differences and stop the Abettors before they can kill Jack, and create a new Shadowman, while a new terror rises up to take the streets.

Another great storyarc from Shadowman! This series has always been the “darkest” Valiant title, in my opinion, but this collection takes the dark to a whole new level. The “villain” in this story is really Jack, who has to overcome his own shady past, learn to work with the Shadowman loa and accept a love he did not see in order to defeat the story’s “real” villains, the Abettors and Tremble. A great story with appropriate and good art, a must read for fans of the Valiant Universe and Shadowman.

Recommended

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Review: Shadowman Volume 3- Deadside Blues Paperback Collection

Shadowman V3Title: Shadowman Volume 3- Deadside Blues Paperback Collection

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

Cost: $14.99

Storytellers: Justin Jordan, Jim Zub, Ales Kot, Christopher Sebela, and Duffy BOudreau (writers) with Roberto De La Torre, Neil Edwards, Diego Bernard, Andrea Cuneo, Mico Suayan, Lewis LaRosa, Carmen Nunez, Miguel Sepulveda, CAFU, Matthew Southworth, Alejandro Sicat, Stefano Gaudiano, and Brian Level (artists)

The first half of this collection tells the origins of Master Darque and his sister and the Shadowman. We learn that Darque and his sister were born to a father who taught them enough magic to help him with the ultimate spell, which will allow him to enter heaven. However, do pull off this spell, the elder Darque must sacrifice one of his children, and he decides to sacrifice his daughter, Sandria. Darque doesn’t want this and instead kills his father and saves his sister. In the second story, we learn how Sandria left her brother and fell in love with a Union soldier. The two fled Darque and tried to start a family, but their child was stillborn. As the solider, an ancestor of Jack’s, was morning the loss of his child, Darque arrives. Sandria uses her magic and turns her unborn child into a power that can defeat her brother, granting her lover the powers of the Shadowman. In the third issue, Jack has a interesting Halloween adventure, which causes him to run into Dr. Mirage. The last issue is actually three short stories that has Jack battling in both the real world and the Deadside.

Considering that this collection contains four Shadowman stories, some shorter than others, the real draw is the Darque tales, which give us the origin of the Shadowman and his villain. This collection contains A LOT of different art, all of which are good, but gives it no consistency. I really enjoyed this collection, even though only half of the collection gives us real insight into the world of Shadowman.

Recommended

 

 

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Review: Shadowman Volume 2- Darque Reckoning Paperback Collection

ShadowmanTitle: Shadowman Volume 2- Darque Reckoning Paperback Collection

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

Cost: $14.99

Storytellers: Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher (writers) with Lee Garbett, Stefano Gaudiano and Roberto De La Torre (artists)

Master Darque is amassing souls in the Deadside, in order to breach through to our world and kill everything. In order to succeed, he must kill the Shadowman, the avatar of the Loa, and to do this he seeks out a lost Loa, Baron Samedi, a god of death. Darque convinces Baron to posses one of Master Darque’s few remaining worshipers, on Earth called the Brethren, and assassinate the Shadowman. However once Baron Samedi gains a body, he seeks out the Shadowman for assistance in defeating Darque. While this is going on, the Shadowman’s allies, Dox and Alyssa have acquired an artifact known as the Devilheart, which can allow one of them to send their soul to the Deadside. Dox uses it and enters in, but is captured and discovers that Master Darque has a army waiting to break through into the land of the living. Shadowman bring Baron Samedi back into the Deadside and the two hatch a plan to stop Darque. Using the other various souls in the Deadside, Dox, the Devilheart and the powers given to him by the Loa, Shadowman is able to defeat Darque but not before losing Dox’s soul to Darque’s corruption, which forces the hero to kill his friend and ally. Baron Samedi once again gains control over the dead in his realm and Master Darque seems gone…for now!

Another great collection/series from Valiant Entertainment, which gives us the magical side of this great comic universe. Shadowman was never one of my favorites from the original Valiant Universe, but I did own a few issue and know enough about him and his villains, but I must say that this new take on Shadowman is 1000 times better than the original. I love everything here: from the Loa to the Deadside and Master Darque and it all feels like it should be a TV show like Supernatural or Buffy! I particularly like how the art style changes when in the land of the living and in the Deadside. While I like this part of the Valiant Universe, Shadowman still seems cutoff from the larger universe, since his supernatural world hasn’t effected the mostly science/tech-based REST of the Valiant Universe.  I want to see Shadowman on the Unity team!

Recommended

 

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Monday Art Attack: Valiant Comics Heroes by LaRosa

Heroes of Valiant by LaRosa

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Review: Shadowman Volume 1- Birth Rites Paperback Collection

Shadowman Vol 1Title: Shadowman Volume 1- Birth Rites Paperback Collection

Publisher: Valiant Comics

Cost: $9.99

Storytellers: Justin Jordan (co-writer) and Patrick Zircher (co-writer and artist)

Jack Boniface is a orphan who is a jack-of-all-trades! When he toss away a talisman that his mother gave him, his heritage catches up to him. Jack is the host for the Loa, the Shadowman, a magical hero who gains powers in darkness/shadows. Jack has to learn to control his abilities and protect his new friends as Master Darque, a powerful sorcerer who wants to unleash hell on Earth, and his followers on Earth plan to bring the walls of reality crashing down!

Again, another great Valiant relaunch! I was never an original Shadowman fan, but this new Shadowman series is great. The art in this book is fantastic and really complements the story. For me, Valiant is three-for-three, so I’m onto their next collection, either Harbinger or Archer & Armstrong.

Recommended

 

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