Shadowman: Rae Sremmurd #1
Writer: Eliot Rahal
Artist: Renato Guedes
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Covers: Renato Guedes, Leif Jones, Juan Jose Ryp with Andrew Dalhouse, Mico Suayan with Brian Reber
Editor: Charlotte Greenbaum
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
When it comes to comic books, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of content available from the big two publishers of Marvel and DC Comics. I was feeling fatigued recently until I discovered Valiant Entertainment and the shared superhero universe they bring to readers, which made me excited about reading superhero comics again. In reading the amazing books that Valiant puts out week after week, I got interested in one character in particular: Shadowman.
The first few pages of Shadowman: Rae Sremmurd #1 open with a struggling musician finding a demon at a crossroads and selling his soul to the Devil in order to become a great musician. Flash forward one hundred years where we meet two brothers named Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee who work at a mattress factory in Tupelo, Mississippi. Slim and Swae are looking for something big, a way out of their current life, when they decide to go to their local bar that is located right next to (you guessed it) a crossroad. At the bar they meet a familiar looking bartender from earlier in the story who says he is willing to help them make it big, but they only have five years to do it, and afterwards he will collect on the debt they owe. Five years later (present day) Slim and Swae have made it big as the hip-hop duo of Rae Sremmurd. They meet with their agent, worried that they have, in fact, sold their souls to the Devil and he could collect at anytime. The crossroads demon shows up and takes their souls and drags them to hell for a “special concert”.
As a reader who is new to Shadowman and his mythology, I have to say that the writing from Eliot Rahal is top notch. Not only does he write a fun story but he makes it a spooky and suspenseful one as well. The bond that the brothers have is heartfelt and strong and makes the reader sympathize with and root for them. Shadowman is just as mysterious as ever and does an amazing job of navigating the Deadside. I would have to say that there are two characters that I am not all that impressed with in Doctor Mirage and the Crossroads Demon. Both seem very weak and I think that Doctor Mirage should not be in the story in order to build up the Crossroads Demon as a bigger character. As for Slim and Swae, I feel that they are written very well and are used in a unique way.
The art by Renato Guedes is absolutely fantastic. Every panel has so much detail that it allows the reader to get further lost in the story. Guedes also really does well with showing us Shadowman in all of his glory and the tone of the art goes really well with the tone of the story. The colors on every page are perfect and nothing seems too light or too dark in the panels. Every character and scene is portrayed in the perfect light. The action scenes are frantic and fast paced and drawn and colored so well that you can’t help but catch your breath when you are done reading it.
I can’t say enough good things about this book and it makes me want to read more Shadowman and in that case more from Valiant. Valiant has made me an even bigger fan than I already was.
4.5 Shadowmen out of 5