Valiant's team-up of the year has arrived in Book of Shadows, a crossover between the indie publisher's horror characters. As seen in the company's latest Shadowman series, Shadowman has had a rough go of it, struggling to keep the Deadside from spilling out into the Earth and the subsequent chaos it has caused. That's all picked up here with Shadowman and Persephone happening upon a town that's been brutalized by interdimensional wolf beasts.
Book of Shadows #1 wastes no time at all getting right into the thick of it, with an action-filled set piece appearing on the comic's first page. The first thing that stands out about this horror title is that it is quick to trade suspense and tension for blood and cameos, resulting in a script that clips along just a little too fast. You only have so many pages in a comic book and here, many are used for quick, albeit gorgeous, splashes and featured panels.
That said, Cullen Bunn manages to give each character their own distinct voice, which helps the brisk pace. While we're only one page in and development isn't expected, those voices do help carry the debut issue of this book forward from one page to the next.
Even though the Valiant Universe is far from its infancy, Bunn still manages to begin a fresh story fans of the publisher have yet to see. Furthermore, he uses those voices to craft his own little niche at the label, and the quick mastery of the characters can tell you he does well with the craft.
With a comic packed full with monsters, Valiant landed on the right artist in Vicente Cifuentes, whose monster designs and wispy spells are some of the best parts of the book. Did I mention the interdimensional wolf beasts?! Paired with Nick Filardi, the duo gives readers a comic that balances tone exceptionally well. While it's a horror book, not everything is grim and gritty. There's a sense of lightness throughout that is as pleasing as it is necessary.
Book of Shadows #1 is a solid set-up for an intriguing premise, giving Valiant their own shot at hosting a summer comic book event. Paired with stellar line art, Bunn manages to set up a promising beginning with as much action as one could possibly muster.
Published by Valiant Comics
On July 27, 2022
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Vicente Cifuentes
Colors by Nick Filardi
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Cover by Rafael Albuquerque