Graphic Novels, September 21, 2018 | Xpress Reviews

Fans of occult fantasy, African juju, or well-told dark vs. light sagas will find this very satisfying; a great read for anyone interested in conspiracy theories, spiritualism, illusionists, or good old-fashioned pulp literature

Week ending September 21, 2018

Diggle, Andy (text) & Stephen Segovia & Adam Pollina (illus.). Shadowman. Vol. 1: Fear of the Dark. Valiant. Jul. 2018. 112p. ISBN 9781682152393. pap. $9.99. Rated: Teen+. FANTASY
Jack Boniface (Shadowman) is yanked through a Deadside portal by way of a Louisiana swamp in order to save the world from various voodoo-induced monsters. Shadowman’s “soul-walking” curse is precarious when traversing the thinly veiled existence between the real and spirit worlds—but he must accept the danger to hold evil at bay. Friend and abettor Alyssa Myles attempts to help Jack and others bring some kind of resolution to the warring factions threatening to tear apart the very existence of life. Launching a dangerous strategy of magic and incantations, the outgunned cadre struggle to stand against the onslaught of darkness. Collects single issues 1–3. This alluringly rendered volume from Diggle (The Losers; Green Arrow: Year One), Segovia ( Action Comics), and Pollina (X-Men: Rise of Apocalypse) presents a terrific blend of action and intrigue. The art is vibrant, and the subject matter enticing. A beautiful gallery is also included.
VERDICT Fans of occult fantasy, African juju, or well-told dark vs. light sagas will find this very satisfying.—Russell Miller, formerly with Prescott P.L., AZ

Von Buhler, Cynthia (text & illus.) & Simon Bowland (illus.). Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini. Hard Case Crime: Titan Comics. Aug. 2018. 128p. ISBN 9781785863974. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781785865749. Rated: Mature. MYS/CRIME FICTION
Minky Woodcock, the daughter of a private investigator, usurps her father’s position while he’s on vacation and takes an assignment from none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that leads to her involvement with debunking spiritualists, mediums, and card readers. During this investigative process, she befriends Harry Houdini, who is championing the cause of exposing the charlatans who prey on the grieving. Minky and Harry’s relationship develops into a saucy romance that rapidly compounds their lives. Worse yet, both become targets of the devious and lethal spiritualists they are diligently attempting to unmask. Fun pulp cover art, historical background, and a brief bio of the author round out the volume.
VERDICT Von Buhler (Speakeasy Dollhouse; Evelyn Evelyn) has created titillating historical fiction heightened by dark and brooding illustrations to reveal some strikingly odd facts surrounding Houdini’s death, making this a great read for anyone interested in conspiracy theories, spiritualism, illusionists, or good old-fashioned pulp literature.—Russell Miller, formerly with Prescott P.L., AZ

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