David: Massive increase, my friend. Massive increase. Honestly, my biggest issue with Shadowman, as you know, is a not very engaging lead. It’s supporting cast is very interesting. This issue was all about one of those members, Master Darque, and holy shit, what a fucked up and awesome horror show that was. I thought it was actually not only the best issue of Shadowman I’ve read, but one of the best Valiant issues I’ve read. I can’t wait to hear you tell me I’m overstating it like crazy. What did you think?
Brandon: I will do no such thing. This issue was awesomely creepy and incredibly entertaining! I would agree that this is in fact probably the best Valiant issue i’ve read to date as well. I was really blown away by the quality of the whole issue. The Dave Johnson cover was fantastic, the interior art was perfect and the story was incredibly engaging. I really enjoy gushing over this book to be honest.
It’s funny too because my biggest complaint is the lack of Shadowman development in this title and this issue didn’t even have him but I loved it more than any other issue. So my loving it flies in the face of all of my complaints but when an issue is this fucking good who the hell cares?!
David: Yeah, no kidding. The thing is, Shadowman was completely absent, so his presence was never felt to take away from this book. Instead, it was just the insanely creepy origin story of Master Darque, and man, how awesome was that? Justin Jordan played all the beats right – the dad seemingly being on the side of good and then turning against his kids, the weirdo incestuous relationship between the Darque kids, the EXPLODING RABBIT – he crushed it all. Did you have a favorite moment in here?
Brandon: I really don’t want to sound like i’m taking the easy way out here but truthfully this issue was my favorite moment. I finished the issue and had to take a moment to reflect on the awesomeness of what I had just read. It really blew me away. I was not expecting the experience of this book when I opened it. This issue really for me was a seamless transition from favorite moment to favorite moment. The exploding rabbit and the way his sister reacted to it was pretty damn solid though.
What did you think of the art here?
David: You know, honestly when I looked at the bevy of artists on the book, I was concerned. Shadowman also suffers from too many artists working on it. Yet, in a weird way, the mass of artists worked. They all fit pretty well together, stylistically, and given the horrific subject matter the switching actually kind of amplified the awesome. It’s perplexing, but it drove the insanity a bit.
Plus, let’s face it, Roberto de la Torre was the lead here, and he fit perfectly into the story. What did you think of the art?
Brandon: I too was worried about the artists lineup looking more like a depth chart but it really did work here. At no point did I get pulled out of the story due to the art. This I am sure is because the art was solid but it was also bolstered by a script that was pretty hard to fuck up. This was an awesome issue.
Do you have anything else to add about the issue?
David: I just want to emphasize how great this book was from top to bottom. Writing, art, everything. This was a total package book and a thrilling read for me. Yeah. This kind of makes me wish this book was Master Darque, not Shadowman, that we were reading. Anything else for you, or just get to the grade?Continued below
Brandon: Yeah, I am with you 100% I wish this was a Master Darque book. Would it be in poor taste to petition for a title refocus? I mean Shadowman really isn’t that big of a part of this title other than being in the title anyway.
David: If Jordan can write this character this well, he can handle Shadowman. This gives me a ton of hope for the book going forward, and I’m going to give it a 9.5. This book was killer. What about you?
Brandon Shadowman #0 was the definition of solid character work. I’d have to give this issue a 9.5 as well.
Brandon: I really enjoyed this issue. I actually enjoyed it even more than the first issue. I thought the story progressed while still developing the newer characters. I also loved everything between Bloodshot and Harada. That was pretty damn awesome. The art was also spot on in this issue. Again going back to the Bloodshot and Harada stuff, Bloodshot’s face splitting was cool as hell looking.
What about you?
David: Oh man, Valiant was 2 for 2 this week. I thought this book was the cats pajamas. If Shadowman #0 was a premium horror flick, then this was like my 80’s action movie love coming to be real in comic form. I was all about it man. Bloodshot getting his face ripped off basically, the kids using shadow projection powers to make it seem like terrorists were attacking, the hilarious intensity and casual nature of the HARD Corps guy getting recruited…man, this was some kick ass stuff.
I actually was wondering…did this make you more interested in the HARD Corps stuff at all?
Brandon: To be honest I don’t know shit about Hard Corps. so the little bit I got here made me more excited only because now I know something. It did seem pretty cool in this issue. So are they like a Suicide Squad type deal or what?
David: I honestly don’t remember much about them, but I think the little we get here explains it: they hunt the Harbinger folk, the psiots. They are like Bloodshot if he was pure human. So who knows, maybe they will be the key to figuring out who he really is.
Did any moments stand out in this issue to you?
Brandon: Outside of the reference to Gamma?
David: Yes. God yes. Please do not share any physiological reactions you may have had either.
Brandon: Ok, fine I’ll leave the Gammabuster boner out of things this go around. Outside of the Gamma reference I really enjoyed Harada vs Bloodshot. That battle was badical to the max! I really thought that whole fight was done incredibly well.
Runner up, would have to be Harada getting wrist deep up in that chick’s….chest. That was a cool moment where he passed on his burden. It was a really cutthroat character moment for him. This really was a great month for the Valiant Villains.
David: Yeah that moment where Harada pays his nanite death vomit stuff forward to her was straight up epic. Before then, Harada was bad, but extra special murdering your already injured minion? Ouch. Cutthroat was definitely the word to use my friend.
I have to say, I was glad this was almost all Clayton Henry’s art. When the book opened with his work and that weirdo but fitting “let’s get ready to rummmmbllleeee” part, I went from somewhat excited to mega stoked. This was just an awesomely badass and fun read. I went from on the fence this book to all about it, and a little of Henry’s art tends to get me pumped.
Anything to add about art on your end, or anything else in particular?
Brandon: Needs. More. Gamma.
David: She will always be there for you in your dreams, Brandon. Only in dreams.
Oh, real quick: it seems they are really emphasizing the twins with the psychic powers. Havema guess as to why?Continued below
Brandon: They do seem to be doing that. I have no clue why though. Hopefully it will be to fight Master Darque and his sister!
Do you have a theory?
David: haha that would be an epic turn, but not really. Let’s wrap this bad boy up. What would you give this issue?
Brandon: I’d give this issue an 8.6! How about yourself?
David: You know, I was going to say 8.5 but you’re right, 8.6 feels right for the badassery this book brought to my life. Harbinger Wars is an absolute blast that brings the best of both Harbinger and Bloodshot to the table. What’s not to like?