Valiant Entertainment 2018
Written by Andy Diggle
Illustrated by Stephen Segovia
Coloured by Ulises Arreola
Lettered by Simon Bowland
Jack Boniface has only just returned home to New Orleans…but the Deadside won’t let him stay gone! From across the veil of life and death, the malignant presence of Baron Samedi – a ravenous voodoo deity bent on consolidating power at all costs – now seeks to infiltrate the mortal plane and claim the legacy of Shadowman for himself! But even as Jack and Alyssa marshal a defense to Samedi’s inhuman agenda, a monstrous new force – driven by killer instinct and a rabid hatred of the Shadowman – is about to turn the Big Easy’s back alleys into a hunting ground…
It really is fantastic to see Jack back in his own book and honestly with Andy’s skill and ability when it comes to storytelling couldn’t be a better fit to create something new, fresh and surprising. Already we see that this whole thing is so much more complex and has avenues to it that may or may not tie into one another but will test their minds and detective skills. I like it, in his absence the town has literally gone to hell and now that he’s back it’s time for Jack and Alyssa to fix what’s wrong.
I like the way the book is structured and how Andy manages the flow of what we see. We ended last issue with Samedi possessing Alyssa to get Jack’s goat as it were and that’s where we pick up here well after he’s left her body. While the thought and idea of the Deadside is already rearing it’s ugly head I am going to trust in Andy’s judgement that it won’t be something that keeps occurring, Jack going back that is. As much as I love the idea of Samedi being his “Joker” it would be nice to see other avenues and other problems arise.
Well maybe the folks we’re being more fully introduced to will open that avenue where science versus “magic” or voodoo comes into play. They however know of Samedi and their whole deal while I am not completely up to date on their involvement but it’s an interesting mix from what I can see. That Andy is showing us some of what they capable of and how they respect, see fear, Samedi well we know they aren’t good people and I look forward to seeing what their whole relationship is. If they are just trying to curry favour with Samedi and Jack defeats him what then? There are a ton of possibilities here and thinking about them all excites me.
Stephen and Ulises work extremely well together. Before I get into details I think THE most powerful image in the book came on page seven with the teddy bear. The utilisation of the page layouts and the angles and perspective that we see in the panels showcases a very magnificent eye for storytelling. Then there’s the varying weight in the linework and the use of shadow and shading that really make moments stand out or change a character like we saw. It really does give the boys a perfect platform to really stretch their legs and do some amazing stuff. The backgrounds the attention to detail, the colour gradation and how everything blends it’s just stellar stuff.
This series is off to a strong healthy start. It has all the things that make a reader eager to see more and actually engages them. I rather enjoy when a book will take me into that zone where my mind races and I try to come up with scenarios that COULD play out. That is the power of storytelling right there when the reader thinks beyond the story itself and gets to that point where they are so invested.
Andy provides some magnificent writing in the story/plot development and characterisation while the guys do some of their best work yet. There is no denying this is Valiant’s new “IT” book.