I’m such a huge fan of hornhead that I made a pledge to buy every single Shadowland and tie-in (except for Thunderbolts, which I’ll probably get in trade). I’ve never done that before, ever, but since they promised to include so many of my favorite hard-to-find characters (Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, Shang Chi, Black Tarantula, White Tiger, Iron Fist, Ghost Rider, etc.), I decided to go all in for the first time. I’ve been surprised, and not always in a good way. Some of the ones I thought I’d love, I’m not digging, and the one I thought would be the worst (a new Power Man???) is looking like it has massive potential. Here’s my take on all of it, now that we’re halfway through, ranked from worst to first:
- Shadowland: Blood on the Streets (Antony Johnston/Wellington Alves). Paladin is, and always has been, stupid. Silver Sable isn’t much better. And the art is awful. Skip this one, people, seriously. Grade: F
- Shadowland: Bullseye (John Layman/Sean Chen). A funereal tribute to Bullseye? Really? It was a poor decision to make this the first one-shot for Shadowland. Laaaaame. D-.
- Shadowland: Ghost Rider (Rob Williams/Clayton Crain). Seems a little hard to believe that Ghost Rider aligns himself with Snakeroot, but the GR character is so confusing in general that I was willing to buy it. If for no other reason than he’s a burning skeleton who rides a motorcycle and fights using chains. Yeah, I’m that shallow. C+.
- Shadowland: Daughters of the Shadow (Jason Henderson/Ivan Rodriguez). I was looking forward to this one the most, but I was underwhelmed. The art is mediocre, and I don’t get the whole feud between Misty Knight and Colleen Wing. I know Zeb Wells made it happen in the old Heroes for Hire book, but they’ve been friends for decades—aren’t they over it by now? And Colleen really wants to be an assassin in the Hand? Just to satisfy her mommy issues? This is a reach, and they’ve got to grasp hard in the next issue to get their grade up. B-
- Shadowland: Elektra (Zeb Wells/Emma Rios). A completely unnecessary book, but I love the Wells/Rios take on this character. B.
- Shadowland: Moon Knight (Gregg Hurwitz/Bong Dazo). I’m not a huge fan of Hurwitz on Moon Knight—he’s all right, but I prefer Doug Moench and Charlie Huston—but I’m loving Bong Dazo’s art. The story so far is serviceable, but there’s potential. The first issue seemed like a lot of set up. A solid B.
- Shadowland: Power Man (Fred Van Lente/Mahmud Asrar). Although the first issue was pretty trite and stereotypical, issue #2 begins to show promise. I’m still not buying how easy it is to beat up Iron Fist, but other than that, this new Power Man could be an interesting character. Cheers to Van Lente for taking on the nearly impossible task of creating a new Marvel hero. B+
- Shadowland (Diggle/Billy Tan). This limited series is, to quote Shakespeare, good, but not greatly good. DD is turning into a caricature—a Sam Arkoff movie villain—and we don’t see enough of any one storyline to really connect with anyone in particular. It’s too bad—I get the sense that if they’d taken more time with this, it could have been much more interesting. But as events go, it’s got lots of fighting, good splash pages, and enough explosions to keep me entertained. Liking it, not loving it. B+
- Daredevil (Andy Diggle/Roberto De la Torre). It’s a little frustrating to see what’s being done to the character de-development (or perhaps devolution is a better word) that was so painstakingly crafted by Frank Miller, who brought Matt to his knees and allowed him to rise again with scars but dignity; Brian Michael Bendis, who threw Matt in jail for being too self-righteous; and then Ed Brubaker, who showed that prison does indeed make a man a better criminal. Andy Diggle, after a promising Dark Reign one-shot and a few initial issues on the main title, seems to be turning Murdock into (literally) a man possessed. This screams cop-out. I’m still hooked on the book, but it’s more because of its past than its present. Cheers, though, to Diggle’s focus on Foggy and Dakota North, two of the best side-characters in the business. A-