Writer/Artist: Bill Willingham
Publisher: DC Comics
Two monkeys for the price of one? Hot damn!
Despite not getting very far in terms of plot, the first issue of Shadowpact does a lot of work with reintroducing the cast, introducing the enemies, and laying out some of the ground rules for the magical corner of the DCU. Oh, and thereís a good guy monkey and a bad guy monkey and a talking dog. Iím jazzed.
I donít think Iíve read a book illustrated by Willingham before and Iím surprised at how similarly the layouts resemble those in Fables. Since Shadowpact is banking on the strength of Willinghamís reputation from Fables as its main selling point (Infinite what?), any immediate similarities will make the readersí introduction to the characters and themes of this book that much smoother.
What surprised me is how the cast seems more developed in this single issue than it did throughout all of Day of Vengeance. More than that, I already have a feel for the antagonists and the curious stakes for which theyíre playing. The One Year Later gap is well covered and used as a clever means of suspense, and the involvement of the rest of the DCU is also given adequate mention.
If thereís one thing Iím still confused about, itís that the rules of magic are never really spelled out. The Spectreís rampage is mentioned and a new age of magic is about to dawn, but what does that really mean? The Spectre sought to wipe out all magic and killed the wizard Shazam, but in this issue magic still exists to some degree. I suppose this situation wonít really bother new readers, but as a continuation from Day of Vengeance, I canít help but wonder what the implications and repercussions were supposed to be.
No offense to Walt Simonson, but Iím glad heís off the covers. Not that this first issue sports an impressive cover (come on Bill Will, those James Jean Fables covers have to have rubbed off on you at least a little), but itís a start. And whatís with Chimpís new threads? Come on, if it ainít broke . . .
In terms of content, this is how a first issue should be played. As long as Willingham keeps it to DCU Magic 101 for us newbies, heíll have successfully freed the magic genre from Vertigoís stranglehold.
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