The essence of the reluctant hero who is motivated by that secondary voice inside him has been the motivation of many a superhero and villain. The texture of the upcoming “Venom” specifically adheres to that idea. With “Shadowman Vol. 2 – Dead & Gone” [Andy Diggle/Valient/112pgs], that aspect of consciousness is percolated beyond the grave in how that inherent soul or “loa” transfers back in time. Starting off within the gangster perception where (like “The Shadow” but better dressed), the Shadowman finds those moving against the law while himself staying outside the law. The jazz perception and his texture within that (in his civilian mode as a saxaphonist) works well despite being passive in an altruistic way. Once a mystical scythe opens him up to betrayal, his luck proceeds downhill fast until he himself is cornered by the very gangsters he fought who don’t know his real identity. The following loa intrusions in the Old West and loss of identity within defending slaves against brutal owners gives way to a prehistoric preamble involving an overlord who himself is possessed by a loa. Our protagonist exists in between the darkness but gets to witness and then become a part of the story being shown to him. The ideal presents that it is the dark will of man that can corrupt the immortal texture of a loa. The loa is trapped between two worlds (and like “Venom”) seems to slightly bend to the will of its host whilst still moving towards their ultimate goal, whatever that may be. There seem to also be ethereal forces at work whose will is different but seemingly is beyond the comprehension of man. The rust colored progressions from the dark blacks and blues of the early 20th century give the story an aspect of earthen connection which leads in distinctive parallel to the story’s epiologue and resolution which speaks more to a search for self than the defeat of evil.
By Tim Wassberg