Current Reviews


Shadowhawk #14 / 1-shot

Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2006
By: Ariel Carmona Jr.

Issue #14

Writer: Jim Valentino
Artists: Jim Valentino (p), Clayton Brown (i) Jason Embury (colors)

Publisher: Image Comics

Great cover. Eddie’s in his slick new black Shadowhawk costume overlooking the city while an ominous looking Gargoyle sits in the foreground and skyscrapers loom large in the background. Props to Valentino, Embury and Fisher for crafting such a great cover visual.

The comic is book-ended by another terrific cover previewing issue #15 in which Rebound and Eddie look like they are about to kiss. I hate to throw the “d” word around, but this comic seems awfully decompressed for its hefty $3.50 cover price. If it weren’t for this, it might have rated another half bullet, but as it is, the story which begins a two issue arc showcasing fan favorite Rebound is a bit thin on plot. Basically all that happens is Rebound tries to steal a car and Eddie tries to prevent her from doing so and when he catches up to her, she reveals a troubling incident from her past, which might explain her contempt for the law. There are other snapshots sprinkled throughout including an intriguing interlude with Nocturn, a character which may be either friend or foe to Eddie and who I suspect we’ll be seeing more of in the future.

Meanwhile, Valentino continues to imbue the youthful and inexperienced crime fighter with some familiar attributes, while concurrently paying homage to his influences, most notably a certain arachnid-like superhero from New York. Even the way Eddie’s new duds flow over his body. “Like having oil poured over me,” he says, is familiar, and doesn’t that conjure up visions of another Eddie? I love the scene where Eddie, standing on a rooftop says, “I can’t believe it, that guy is breaking into a car that is parked directly under a streetlamp!” because it reminded me of the old Spider-Man cartoons, and I think that this scene is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s creation.

I also love Valentino’s fluid artwork throughout this comic. He’s one of the rare talents like Erik Larsen who are proficient at both drawing and writing a compelling story.

ShadowHawk 1-Shot

Writer: Jim Valentino
Artists: Jim Valentino (p), Chance Wolf (i), Brett Evans (colors)

With this one shot, Valentino appears to be aiming for new readers, not those already familiar with Eddie Collins or his legacy as Shadowhawk. The common link between Eddie and the other Shadowhawks from the past is retold, and his relationship with his father, who worries about his son’s safety as a nascent superhero is also revisited.

It’s kind of weird how this book retreads dialogue and scenes from previous comics, while still retaining the spirit of the originals. For example, Eddie’s discussion about the helmet’s powers in this comic is almost identical to a conversation depicted in Shadowhawk #1 printed by Image last May. In that comic, Eddie is asked out on a date by a blonde cheerleader named Coleen who asks him if he is from Minnesota, when he replies, “Nebraska” she says, “same thing.” Here, almost the same dialogue is repeated, except the cheerleader is now a red head named Chloe, and Collins is now from Missouri. Most of the conflict stems from a showdown between the novice superhero and a bruiser named Slam. Valentino’s artwork is superb and is nicely enhanced by Chance Wolf’s inking. I like the way his facial expressions add an extra dimension of depth to the characters, especially when he draws Eddie and his dad. His action sequences are also presented with the skill of a seasoned pro. If Eddie’s influences are not apparent by the book’s title, then you haven’t been paying attention. If this one-shot had fresh material to present, I think I would have rated it a bullet higher.

Final word: Both the Shadowhawk one-shot and the latest issue in the ongoing series are worth picking up, if only because the characters are throwbacks to the types of comics of yore which we all love to read. Valentino and crew know how to put together satisfying superhero yarns. If only Image would drop the hefty cover price, I think this comic would be more accessible to a greater number of readers.

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