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Review: Shadowman #6

Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher have worked tirelessly to create a fresh and exciting “new” Shadowman character that fans have been clamoring over. Now, with Shadowman #6, we get to actually see a true new character emerge from their collective conscience, one that has set his diabolical sights on our hero and won’t let up until death has been claimed for the victor!

The “dynamic duo” of the Valiant Universe, Jordan and Zircher, have been putting our hero through the emotional, if not physical, ringer as of late and this issue brings more of the same style of highly developed characterization to the table. Distraught and emotionally scarred by his actions, or inaction, to save a friend; Jack Boniface gets to do some soul searching throughout the issue. Although he is the title character and has some great developmental sequences, most of this particular tale revolves around the schemes of some rather nefarious characters and brings one of them to the forefront as a dire threat to Jack. We all know that a hero is only as good as his villains make him become, well, by the end of this tale Shadowman will be one the lips of comic fans everywhere! 

The only detraction I have with the issue is with the choice of so many artists. Each of their skill sets are phenomenal, rendering different aspects of the story to give each section its own individuality and scope but, at times it was a little distracting. You get accustomed to a certain flow while following the story the artist unfolds before you and with three different artists, it instead became jarring to transition between the story changes. 

Still, Shadowman is a rare gem of concentrated high level writing and artistry that never fails to excite and entrance each and every month! I am proud to say that I was a fan of the original series and now, with Jordan and Zircher breathing new life into the character — I’m an even bigger fan!

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Review: Shadowman #4

The Shadowman series culminates in issue four with astounding action sequences and more than a little intrigue to whet your appetite. Let’s just say this book has it all!

The battle in the Deadside continues as Shadowman realizes that he is not only there to save Alyssa. He is there to battle Mr.Twist to the death as the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Not only would he lose Alyssa to the hands of nefarious soul draining ghouls if he loses, he would become the catalyst for Master Darque to roam the world once more!

The writing abilities of Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher have become synonymous with pure adrenaline! Shadowman is a constant barrage to the senses both visually and conceptually, each issue leaves you breathless! Issue four is the pinnacle of all out action layered with deep intrigue and heaps of emotional duress. A fledgling hero with untested powers is all that stands between the tyrannical return of unfettered madness to the world and certain death — of course there will be emotional duress! But this book isn’t all about the action, Jordan and Zircher have begun to flesh out Shadowman as a character, his lack of trust in himself, his acceptance of his new found powers and his bond with Alyssa are all explored here. It gives the reader a much needed look at Jack Boniface as a person dealing with all the strange predicaments he now finds himself in, especially taking on the mantle of Shadowman! 

Patrick Zircher’s art is overtly majestic, exuding pure excitement from every page! Every diminutive detail has been scrutinized, highly rendered to the finest detail and executed flawlessly, creating a book filled with 32 pages of masterpieces! For my four dollars, there has been no other book that I can say has been continually this visually stunning in recent months. Completely stunning!

Valiant has been putting out some amazing books since their debut last year and Shadowman has been one of the best! You owe it to yourself to dive into the Deadside, you only have your soul to lose!

 

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Advanced Review: Shadowman #3

Shadowman must dive into the belly of the beast and survive the hollow coldness of the Deadside. It’s not the battle he must wage there but the decisions he makes that will forever change the course of his life. Can he be content living as just Jack or does he need to become Shadowman in order to truly live?

Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher meld their wildly imaginative writing talents to bring to you a story of discovery and sacrifice that will solidify Shadowman as one of the best books of 2013! Between the fever pitch action, the soul searching drama and the off the wall circumstances our characters find themselves in, there is something to please every fan no matter what their favorite genre is. 

Shadowman is a timeless tale of self discovery where the roads to our future are paved with bricks from our past. But what if the past is unknown to us and our future is strewn with things that are too strange to be real, things that cannot be conceived by the minds of mortal men. Who can take us where we need to be, who can show us who we can become? And, what if the answers to those questions are mired in shadow, where even a flicker of truth is scarier than not knowing at all? These are the questions posed by Jordan and Zircher each month. These are the ideas and plot threads that make Shadowman such a compelling read that never falters to deliver it’s promise of excellence. It is the protagonist’s sheer uncertainty about his actions in the face of horrendous odds that anchors us in our seats, breathlessly awaiting the turn of the next page!

Shadowman may be freezing in the Deadside but things are just heating up in Jordan and Zircher’s tale. This is the issue that will bring everything to a head, creating a scattered front against Mr. Twist and his master. Decisions will be made, friends may fall and the past emerges from the ether. This is a quintessential read for this week! Only one book is worthy of having the moniker “Superior” — Shadowman!

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Advanced Review: Archer & Armstrong #5

Are you ready for the explosive debut of The Eternal Warrior to the all-new Valiant Universe? Even if you think you are ready, believe me, you are NOT!

Continuing immediately after the events of Archer & Armstrong #4, our oddly paired heroes are on the run after the death of a Geomancer, which in turn, unleashes the wrath of The Eternal Warrior! Chaos ensues as Armstrong must try to slow his brother down so his ally can escape. But can even Armstrong’s sheer brute strength be enough to stop a being purely fueled by rage with an immortality to rival his own? It’s a possibility that issue six may only have one moniker in the title!

Steeped in flashback sequences, issue five gives us a look at the past history between Armstrong and The Eternal Warrior. It is a brutal and tense relationship, one that focuses on how completely different the brothers are — mimicking the relationship between Archer and Armstrong in the present. It is a pitch perfect tale, giving the reader a sense of direction and information about such a powerful character without making it feel forced or losing the feel of the story running concurrently with the flashbacks. It is a good juxtaposition between the past and present of the Valiant Universe, making the future storylines even more rich for doing so. 

Fred Van Lente has created a series that is at the pinnacle of perfection and is a crowning jewel in the Valiant Universe! Every issue is filled to the brim with enthralling action sequences, compelling characterization and a sense of wonderment that can only be rivaled by the heaping amounts of fun you will enjoy while reading it again and again! There is no telling how far he will take us on this wild ride but I for one, have become a fan for life!

Be bold, be daring, be — Valiant!

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Review: Shadowman #2

The second book under the “Shadowman” moniker is actually a first real look at the rest of the cast of the book. While Jack Boniface takes a backseat this issue, we get to understand the “hows” and “whys” of almost all the other characters — including the nefarious Mr. Twist! 

Beginning with one of the best first pages I have read in a long time, Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher have created a slow-burn issue that answers some gnawing questions while dredging up even more. It is a focus on the history of the characters that will direct and “misdirect’ the actions of Jack Boniface for the future. A well thought out character piece that not only furthers the initial story revealed in issue one, but also helps to solidify the “world” of Shadowman for the readers. The cast of characters are so intrinsic to each other that it only makes sense to delve into their motivations at such an early start to the series and this writing duo does it flawlessly!

While the story may burst with action and intrigue, Patrick Zircher’s true contribution to this book is his gorgeous art! From squirming demon slugs to a “little person” with a firearm, Zircher makes this book absolutely come alive on the page. It is thoroughly en”gross”ing and utterly entrancing to gaze upon the images on every page, he is a true talent no matter which hat he may be wearing at the time! Just check out this interior panel to understand exactly what I mean: 

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Shadowman #2 is a shining star in an already brilliant Valiant Universe! It is no matter if you were a fan of the previous incarnations, with but a single issue of Jordan and Zircher’s collaboration — you will become one now!

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Advanced Review: Shadowman #1

The most anticipated book since the initial rebirth of the Valiant Universe hits stands this week! But is all the hype surrounding the return of Shadowman truly worth it? 

While other companies may rely on movie marketing to propel their fanbase, Valiant has dedicated itself to acquiring the best creative talents in the business and teaming them with the hottest characters of the nineties. These precise pairings have created some of the best “new” comics on the shelves, and in turn, established a whirlwind of excitement throughout the comics industry!

Now, Valiant has brought back one of the most popular characters they have ever created — Shadowman! 

This debut issue is not only as enigmatic and outstanding as the originals, it is also a very heart felt homage by both Patrick Zircher and Justin Jordan. Taking the base roots of the original character and mixing them with their own creative seed, this superb duo has crafted a tale that pays tribute to what Jim Shooter, Steve Englehart and David Lapham did and in the same breath — surpasses it!

Jack Boniface is still the main character for this “new and improved” version, but he is slightly different from what fans will remember. Gone is the long flowing mane of tangled hair and the saxophone is nowhere to be seen, but this younger version doesn’t require the iconic look, he has something far better at his disposal — the creative team!

Jordan and Zircher have created an engrossing look at the world of magic and mayhem in the Valiant Universe. This is an aspect that has been missing from the “Summer of Valiant” and it is a welcome change. Fans of the original series will no doubt recognize some of the old haunts and especially the diabolical Master Darque, but it is the changes that truly make this book an instant fan favorite. From the explosive opening sequence where demons swirl around every corner to the eventual rise of the new Shadowman, you are enthralled by every aspect of this book! The intrigue of Jack’s parents past and the creation of the sadistic Mr. Twist alone are enough to have you on the edge of your seat. But, it is the character of Jack himself that will hold sway over you throughout the book! Jack is a “lost soul” who has filled his life acquiring skills in order to make himself useful in a world that he was left alone in. He is vulnerable and yet, strong willed enough to survive on his own, never knowing the truth about his parents nor the talisman he wears around his neck. And when something horrific befalls him, is it his attackers that are the the true threat or is it the voice calling to him from the shadows that will bring his downfall?

This book will draw you in and ensnare you in the horrifically brutal world that Jordan and Zircher have created. It is fresh and rich in characterization, a book that is easy to get into and extremely hard to put down! Nothing outshines the pure talent that drives this book!

On a personal note, I must thank both Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher for handling this book with such reverence and scope. Shadowman was always my favorite Valiant character and I am proud to say that he is once again! Thank you both for an amazing book and especially for putting the original mask in the museum scene — classy!

So, to answer the original question — is Shadowman worth all the hype? Most definitely! Add this one to your collection and hold on tight, the Valiant Universe is about to get the doors blown off! 

Be bold, be daring, be — Valiant!

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Marvel Reveals “Avengers Vs. X-Men: Consequences” Cover; Reveals Winner of AvX

Like the X-Men even had a chance.

Please.

Marvel released the Patrick Zircher cover to Avengers Vs. X-Men: Consequences #1 which shows Cyclops defeated by the Avengers.

Marvel also previously revealed the cover to Avengers Vs. X-Men #12 which features a triumphant Cyclops with Kid Nova seemingly only barley left standing.

With the events that took place in AvX #11 this isn’t that much of a surprise.

Avengers vs. X-Men: Consequences explores the aftermath of the battle with the first issue out October 10th, written by Kieron Gillen with art from Tom Raney.

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Shadowman Valiant Comics Interview With Justin Jordan

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:2523:]]Cosmic Book News knew that eventually
Justin Jordan would be a household name.

We first happened upon the writer with his hit Image Comics series, The Strange Talent of Luther Strode, with our own Chris Bushley describing the book as “enthralling, action-packed, intriguing, gory and sickly sweet.”

We then met Jordan at last year’s New York Comic Con and briefly spoke about the series as well as snagging some autographed Luthor Strode issues.

So it came to no surprise when it was announced that Jordan had been picked up by Valiant Comics for the new Shadowman and by DC Comics for October’s Team 7.

This November sees Jordan paired with superstar artist Patrick Zircher. Known for his work on Marvel Comics’ Hulk, Thor, Iron Man and New Warriors, Zircher now brings his own talents to Shadowman.

We caught up with Jordan via e-mail to talk about the new Shadowman, about the following preview pages that were released and more.

Cosmic Book News: Were you a fan of the original?
 
Justin Jordan: I was. Shadowman originally came along when I was a teenager, and the whole Valiant Universe was sort of a revelation. They were telling stories differently than what I’d been reading before, and Shadowman was particularly interesting to me because it was a more street level, Batman or Daredevil type character.
 
Cosmic Book News: Valiant has launched four titles already, can you tell us how you became involved with Shadowman, and is there a reason why Valiant decided to go ahead with Shadowman as their next book?
 
Justin Jordan: Well, Warren Simons, the Executive Editor, liked Luther Strode, so I sent him pitches on a variety of stuff. Fortunately for me, Patrick also liked Luther, and when he talked to Warren he mentioned me, and it all sort of took off from there. I can’t say why Valiant went with Shadowman as their next book, but I suspect that it’s because Shadowman was one of the characters fans were really chomping at the bit to see. 
 
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:2524:]]Cosmic Book News: From the press release we see that Shadowman is Jack Boniface, what can you say in regards to this Jack versus the original?
 
Justin Jordan: In terms of his personality, he’s actually not too different. His life is different, and his powers are fairly different, but I think fans are going to recognize our Jack. 
 
Cosmic Book News: Speaking of Shadowman’s powers, will magic and voodoo play a large role? And this Shadowman will have different or new powers?
 
Justin Jordan: Yup. Yup to all of them. Magic and voodoo play a pretty big role although in the case of voodoo, not necessarily in the way you might be expecting. But the book does introduce magic into the Valiant Universe, and I think we’ve done it in a way that fits the general Valiant tone. I definitely think it’s cool but I may be very slightly biased.
 
Cosmic Book News: While this Shadowman is Jack, in the preview pages he does seem to resemble Michael LeRoi. Was that intentional?
 
Justin Jordan: Well, you’ll need to read the first issue to get more of what’s going on in those first few pages. Having said that, we do draw some stuff from the LeRoi version of the character, which is one of the advantages of doing a reboot like this; we have a lot of cool stuff to draw from.
 
Cosmic Book News: Can we get your take on Jack being Shadowman? Will there be an inner, or even an outer conflict as a result of him taking up the mantle of Shadowman. Furthermore, does he have a choice in the matter? 
 
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:2525:]]Justin Jordan: There’s definitely conflict. When we first meet Jack, he’s been looking for his past, and in the first issue, he finds it. Unfortunately, it’s not what he wanted or expected. It’s not that he doesn’t want to be Shadowman, it’s that he has no idea something like that even existed, and when the mantle is thrust on him, he doesn’t know how to react.
 
Which is what the first arc is about, more or less; Jack deciding how to handle this situation that he’s been thrown into without warning. 
 
Cosmic Book News: Can you take us through the preview pages? Right out of the gate we see the first issue is jam-packed with action and excitement. Can you give us a hint of what is taking place? 
 
Justin Jordan: Hmmmm, how to talk about that without spoiling too much. Those first five pages? They’re very, very important. What happens there sets in motion a lot of what happens in Shadowman as we go forward. So expect what happens there to echo through the series.
 
Cosmic Book News: And that may be Master Darque in the preview pages as well, what can you tell us about his relationship to Jack in the series?
 
Justin Jordan: That is indeed Master Darque. He’s the big bad of the series, although in ways that might be a bit different than you’d expect. But Master Darque and the Shadowman are tied together very, very tightly in a story that goes back centuries. 
 
Cosmic Book News: Will Shadowman interact with any of the other Valiant characters?
 
Justin Jordan: Yup. I mean, there’s not much point of being in a shared universe if you don’t, you know, share. We’ll definitely be interacting with the rest of the Valiant Universe.
 
Cosmic Book News: Sounds good! Thanks for your time, Justin.
 
Shadowman” #1 hits in November and be sure to follow Valiant Comics on Facebook and Twitter.
 

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Review: Secret Avengers #21.1

When Secret Avengers debuted it was one of the most highly anticipated books to come out of Marvel for yours truly in that it offered a spotlight on the “B” characters with the Avengers name attached, of course Nova was onboard!

However, the secret behind Secret Avengers was that it was just another Captain America book, and with that I was off with issue #4.

Somewhere between then and now I did manage to pick up an issue; however, not one “secret” Avenger appeared in the issue – it was all Cap?!

And that all changes with Rick Remender coming onboard Secret Avengers #21.1.

While Hawkeye is not ordinarily one of my fav’s (a bow and arrow? really?), Remender has more than proved himself with Uncanny X-Force, hands down Marvel’s current best book on the racks.

So what did I think?

To be honest, I found it lacking both in writing and art.

First off, the only difference between a street-clothed Captain America and Hawkeye is the purple tint of Clint’s suit. No man in his right mind is going to wear a purple suit. Purple tie? Yes. Business suit? No. I think what the artist was trying to do was use a purple and blue hue to differentiate between Steve and Clint, but they came off looking like identical twins, with slightly different hair styles. To put this in perspective, there is a big difference between the look of Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner. Yeah, I went there with The Avengers movie reference, because they did change Clint’s costume, and let’s be honest, the movie is the reason for the big Hawkeye push. Of course, not to say that is necessarily a bad reason.

Second, the villains. It was great to see a new Masters of Evil, especially with Vengeance! That is one heck of a cool character, so to see him going at it with Cap was pretty good! However, just how did they capture Cap? It wasn’t drawn well. In that one panel Cap is shown jumping and then a huge snake is shown across the next panel. Did it eat him? Was it some sort of psychic snake? 

And how the heck didn’t Max Fury know that Hawkeye was there?

Fury used a life decoy model to trap Cap, pinning a murder on him, while using a device that can record through the camouflage buttons. Wasn’t Hawkeye on the footage? Or are we led to believe that the five hours they held Cap for, Fury never checked out the footage? In addition, Cap and Hawkeye lit up some security guards in the hotel; now how can Fury think Cap was alone? Did the Masters of Evil just happen upon Cap, and that’s when they started following him, and that’s when they started filming him? Because if they filmed Cap after those events, why would the footage be used against Cap? It wouldn’t, it would just be footage of Cap running around the streets. That’s not illegal, is it? Furthermore, it was in the newspapers that they captured an American spy. Now, you have to assume that was leaked by Max Fury, but again, it would come back from the hotel that there was more than one assailant.

Hawkeye even says something similar to Max Fury at the end about not realizing he was there.

Duh.

For a new arc, a new direction, a new writer, a new lead role and new villains, this issue is full of so many holes as Hawkeye himself can shoot them!

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Review: Mystery Men #3 (Marvel Comics)

David Liss’ third installment, of the superb Mystery Men, continues to astound readers with a cacophony of action and intrigue! Our troupe of normal players, the Operative, the Revenant and the newly dubbed Aviatrix, have been dropped into the backdrop in order to make way for two new Mystery Men to take center stage. But …

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Review: Marvel Comics: Mystery Men #2 (of 5)

David Liss’ enthralling tale of masked vigilantes in the economically depressed 1930’s continues, giving readers slight revelations amidst even deeper depths of intrigue. Thoroughly engrossing, one finds themselves speculating as to what is truly going on, while Liss changes the game before your very eyes. New players emerge from the shadows, some to lend a …

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Marvel Comics Review: Mystery Men #1 (of 5)

When Marvel announced the formation of their “Architects” to steer the company into the future, I was impressed with the virtual cornucopia of talent from all aspects of the Marvel U. These were the best of the best, creators at the pinnacle of their careers, but I always thought there was room for more, maybe …

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