Comic Review: Shadowman (the Garth Ennis Run)

Published: July 6th, 2016 (this collected edition)
Written by: Garth Ennis, Paul Jenkins
Art by: Dennis Calero, Ashley Wood

Valiant Entertainment, 200 Pages

Review:

This collected edition is just called Shadowman without any extra subtitle to differentiate it from the general franchise. This collects Shadowman numbers 1 through 4 and Shadowman Presents: Deadside numbers 1 through 3. This is the run that was written by Garth Ennis (the mind behind Preacher) with art by Ashley Wood.

I’ve never read a Shadowman story but I vaguely remember the video games from back in the early ’00s. So this was my first experience with the character in a literary sense.

That being said, I’m not sure if this was a good jumping off point. It’s hard for me to tell if this is how all Shadowman comics are or if this is just Garth Ennis being Garth Ennis and trying to be artistic as fuck without giving me much to really care about from a narrative standpoint. While Preacher is a good example of Ennis style blending well with substance, this just lacked substance or at least any substance I cared about or could relate to.

As I got about a third of the way into this, I really didn’t want to keep reading it but I stuck around, hoping it would be worthwhile by the end and because I loved the art. Really, the art is the absolute high point of this book.

After reading this, I’m still not sure what Shadowman is or is supposed to be. But I’m going to do more research and try and find a better jumping off point.

And maybe this will make more sense if I have more context.

Rating: 4.5/10
Pairs well with: Other Shadowman collections (I assume) and Garth Ennis’ Preacher (which greatly exceeds this).

Comic Review: Bloodshot, Vol. 1: Blood of the Machine

Published: November 6th, 2012
Written by: Kevin VanHook
Art by: Don Perlin

Valiant Entertainment, 200 Pages

Review:

I feel like my love for everything Image Comics in the early ’90s overshadowed some of the other comics I liked but didn’t pick up as regularly. I read Bloodshot books back in the day but wasn’t as loyal as I feel I should have been. Valiant had some great titles but my Image fanboyness was super powerful and now I feel like I need to rectify my past sins.

I picked up this collection because it is old school O.G. Bloodshot. I’m glad that I did because it grabbed me from the first panel and it was a hard book to put down. I don’t often read things in one sitting but Blood of the Machine gave me an hour or so of pure enjoyment.

Plus, this book gave me an introduction into two other major Valiant characters: Rai and Ninjak. Both of the stories that featured them used them a bit sparingly but it still familiarized me with them enough to get me to want to check out their books too. Sadly, no X-O Manowar in this, who was my favorite Valiant hero after Bloodshot.

Bloodshot spends the majority of this book searching for answers to his past. He doesn’t know his identity or why he is this super solider with fast healing nanomites in his blood and enhanced senses and physical abilities. As this collection rolls on, we discover some answers as Bloodshot does.

This is a collection of the first eight issues of Bloodshot ever released. It isn’t a complete story arc with any sort of natural conclusion. It continues on beyond this and this is more or less a small sample into the larger Bloodshot and Valiant universe.

I loved the art style, which to be honest, felt dated by ’90s standards but worked for this book. I also loved how the dialogue was displayed in a more angular and aggressive style than typical comic book lettering. Granted, it just looks more like italicized Comic Sans but it had a nice flow to it that wasn’t the standard look.

Blood of the Machine is a great starting point as it is the starting point for Bloodshot.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: Other early Bloodshot collections, as well as other Valiant titles from the same era.

20 Comic Book Properties That Haven’t Gone Live-Action Yet

*written in 2015.

There is a rumor that Netflix is now developing a Moon Knight series in addition to Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. It hasn’t been officially announced, so I included Moon Knight on this list. It could just be a rumor but I really hope it isn’t. Because I’m now really looking forward to it and Iron Fist.

But this maybe news got me to thinking about what other comic book properties still haven’t gotten the live-action treatment yet.

These properties are my top twenty comic book franchises (or characters) that I would like to see come to life in live-action form.

1. Umbrella Academy
2. Hawaiian Dick
3. Hack/Slash
4. Moon Knight
5. X-Factor
6. Dr. Fate
7. Nightwing
8. Turok
9. Bloodshot
10. Grendel
11. The Spectre
12. Morbius
13. Thunderbolts
14. The Maxx
15. Invincible
16. The Savage Dragon
17. Sleepwalker
18. Simon Dark
19. X-O Manowar
20. Doom Patrol