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Shadowland: Bullseye #1

Posted: Friday, August 6, 2010
By: Robert Tacopina

John Layman
Sean Chen, Sandu Florea (i), Guru EFX (c), Joe Caramagna (l)
Marvel Comics
ďDead On a RivalĒ

OK, I thoroughly enjoyed the first issue of Shadowland quite a bit. There were some developments that were somewhat unique and it felt refreshing to see a character who often straddles the gray line, such as Daredevil, take a decisive turn. However, picking up and reading this tie-in issue featuring Bullseye reminded me why crossovers get such a bad reputation within the comic community and typically serve to upset a good portion of us because a majority of the time these tie-ins are irrelevant and come across as a cheap ploy for the publisher to make more money from the reader.

Now I am not going to say this was inherently bad but rather significantly flawed to an extent that you really couldnít care less about what was occurring in the story. As a story that is told from the perspective of Front Line editor-in-chief Ben Urich Shadowland: Bullseye stumbles incessantly towards a final destination that is rather lackluster and ambiguous to interpretation.

Over the course of the issue Urich discovers, by way of a cockamamie abduction, that a biker gang has taken a fascination with the late Bullseye and wants to reward their savior by offering him a proper burial and remembrance. In order to do so the gang has to resort to hijacking mourners and a man of the cloth while also robbing a floral shop so they can have floral arrangements for the service. While this has all transpired, Urich is introduced to another unfortunate soul unluckily placed into a situation much like his own, a fellow named Denny Deaver, who seems to be slightly off kilter.

In the end Urich conveniently gets a notebook to Daredevil who in turn assembles White Tiger and Black Tarantula and with the Hand at his side rescues Urich and interrupts the service for Bullseye. That leaves Deaver with the task of trying to make things right in the end--which is all Iíll say so I donít spoil it for anyone remotely interested.

My big gripe with this book is that what purpose does it serve? I seriously canít find one to justify shelling out $4. This would have been a fine backup story to be contained in the main Shadowland book and certainly worth adding a buck on top of the price of admission for the read. But as a self serving stand alone story it fails for the mere reason that it is inconsequential to the overall event, at least as far as I can tell from this point in time. As I stated above, added on it would have been great and similar to what DC has done with Green Lantern by incorporating vignettes into the back of that title.

Now I want to make clear that this certainly has nothing to so with the art team, led by Sean Chen, who churns out a nicely illustrated book. Even writer John Layman, to a fault, can earn a slight pass since the writing isnít outright bad. It just doesnít serve a purpose. But, if I am wrong and this does end up being a relevant matter than it was simply poorly executed by the writer and editorial. I am extremely wary for the further one-shots that are going to be flying the Shadowland banner because if this is any indication of the comics we can expect I will be sure to save a bunch of scratch and stick with the main title only.



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