Comic Book Review: Shadowpact #2

I thought that Shadowpact #1 was a pretty solid issue. Hopefully, Shadowpact #2 will build off a nice first issue and earn a place on the Revolution’s permanent pull list. While we are in between World Cup games, let’s crank out a quick review.

Creative Team
Writer: Bill Willingham
Penciler: Bill Willingham
Inker: Wayne Faucher

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: The issue starts with the Phantom Stranger saying that it has been a year since the Shadowpact entered the blood barrier and they still have no idea if they are alive or not.

We then cut to one year ago. Night Shade is brawling with Sister Shadow. We then shift to Strega telling Jack of Fire that there are intruders from outside the blood barrier. Strega says she has planted a compulsion inside the mind of their leader that the best strategic move is to scatter his team. Strega then tells Jack for him and the other members to hunt down the intruders one by one. Strega tells Jack that they cannot kill the intruders since that might ruin her complex spell.

We shift to Blue Devil telling Detective Chimp that Nightmaster had the right idea to split up the team. Detective Chimp disagrees. Blue Devil retorts that he would follow Nightmaster’s judgment and experience over Detective Chimp’s any day of the week. The two heroes then walk in separate directions.

We hop back to Night Shade and Sister Shadow brawling up in the sky. We then shift over to Ragman brawling with Bagman. Bagman ingests Ragman and tells him that he will suffocate long before Bagman digests him.

We then cut to Nightmaster having a sword fight with the White Rabbit.

We then shift to Blue Devil locking horns with Jack. Jack asks Blue Devil if he recognizes his big brother. Jack says that when Blue Devil made his infernal deal, that it applied to the rest of his family, too. That Blue Devil’s sister is also grotesque. That their parents were taken out of Heaven and are not burning in Hell. Blue Devil responds that he doesn’t have a brother. Jack continues to just beat the tar out of Blue Devil.

We then see Karnevil knocking out Detective Chimp.

We then cut to Sister Shadow finally taking out Night Shade.

We then shift over to the White Rabbit defeating Nightmaster.
We then cut to Jack carrying an unconscious Blue Devil over his shoulder and reprimanding Bagman for trying to digest Ragman since Strega told them no killing. Unhappily, Bagman regurgitates Ragman.

We then zip over to Strega battling it out with Enchantress. Strega makes short work of Enchantress and captures her. Strega then says that she should be ready tomorrow to begin making sacrifices in order to bring the Lord of Light into their realm.

We then cut to Strega meeting with the rest of the members of Pentacle. She creates a magical box that will keep Shadowpact powerless and secure for as long as they need. Strega then tells Jack and Sister Shadow to go collect the first sacrifice and bring her to the murder hole.

We see Jack and Sister Shadow at the house of the first sacrifice: Jessica Wallace. Jessica’s grandfather offers to go in her place. Sister Shadow says that it has to be Jessica. She continues that if the grandfather tries to stop them then they will send Karnevil over to kill the entire family and all of their friends and then collect Jessica for the sacrifice. The grandfather goes to get Jessica. Sister Shadow then asks Jack where Karnevil is. Jack says he must be looking for the final member of Shadowpact.

We then shift to Karnevil sitting next to Detective Chimp who is gagged and bound to a pole. Karnevil has a rusty claw hammer, a broken screwdriver, screws, nails and half of a hacksaw blade. Karnevil says that these were the best tools that he could gather without disturbing the locals. But, that they will still do. Karnevil then asks Detective Chimp if he is ready to start their fun. (Creepy little bastard.) End of issue.

The Good: This was another pretty solid issue. Shadowpact #2 was basically a bunch of mini-fight scenes resulting in the Shadowpact members getting captured and furthering Strega’s plan to bring back the Lord of Light. The fight scenes were rather quick and one sided. Normally, I’d have a problem with that, but not in this issue. Willingham is trying to set the table for this story arc quickly and needs to place Shadowpact in a hopeless situation in order to get going with the Pentacle’s evil plans and the heroic escape of the Shadowpact members.

I liked the scene between Blue Devil and Detective Chimp. It shows that not all the members of Shadowpact see eye to eye. Plus, any scene with Detective Chimp is going to involve some great dialogue.

The scene that shocked me the most was the fight between Jack of Fire and Blue Devil. Jack drops a huge bomb by telling Blue Devil that they are brothers. Then he drops another bomb by saying that Blue Devil’s infernal deal also applied to their sister and parents as well. This was very unexpected and quite interesting. Blue Devil claims he doesn’t even have a brother. I cannot wait to see where Willingham goes with this storyline.

I liked the final scene with the grandfather of the first sacrificial victim. This scene did a nice job showing how totally helpless these unfortunate locals are. That sometimes, there are things that are so beyond your control that there is nothing at all you can do about it. It creates a very frustrating feeling inside the reader.

I am enjoying the members of Pentacle. For the most part, they are all very interesting. The only member that doesn’t particularly interest me would be Sister Shadow. However, the rest of them are a bunch of unique and odd characters. Willingham is going to have fun with this odd bunch of villains. Willingham has already done a good job fleshing out Bagman, Karnevil, Strega and Jack of Fire. Hopefully, we will see more development in the White Rabbit and Sister Shadow. I like Jack and Karnevil the most. Jack has a great design and simply looks cool. Karnevil is just one seriously creepy little bastard. I like that the sickest and most warped member of Pentacle isn’t some bad-assed demon or something like that. Instead it is an evil boy scout. Perfect. Willingham needs to keep giving us plenty more of Karnevil!

Willingham is working with some of the most unique characters in the DC universe. That is also a big part of Shadowpact’s charm. Willingham is doing an excellent job developing each character and giving them their own unique voices. The only characters that haven’t gotten much development or distinctive personalities would be Night Shade, Enchantress, Ragman, Sister Shadow and White Rabbit.

Willingham is moving this story along at a decent pace. Willingham delivers some pretty funny dialogue at certain points. This is one reason why Shadowpact is such a fun read. The banter between the villains and the banter between the members of Shadowpact are entertaining. The humorous dialogue along with strong character development are the two strongest features of Willingham’s writing.

The artwork is good, not great. Willingham draws an excellent Jack of Fire. The art is strong enough and nice enough to make Shadowpact a good looking book.

The Bad: I think that Shadowpact went down way too fast and easy. I know Willingham had to get this story moving and that there was no other way to do it other than to have Shadowpact collapse quickly. However, it was still just a bit too much of a walk in the park for the bad guys.

Shadowpact #2 was simply missing something. I’m not too sure, but this issue lacked some “pop.” This issue was not as exciting at Shadowpact #1. I feel like I really want to love this title more than I do. I think the characters are neat and this title has so much potential that I want Shadowpact to impress me like I know it can. Unfortunately, this title hasn’t really done that.

My only complaint with the artwork is a lack of consistency. Some panels looks fantastic like when Jack is pounding on Blue Devil. Other panels look a little weak like the close up panel shot of Night Shade. If Willingham’s artwork was more even from panel to panel then I would enjoy his art a lot more.

Overall: Shadowpact #2 was a fun read. I like all of the odd characters and Willingham keeps the dialogue flowing to make this a quick read. Shadowpact #1 was a quick introduction to each character for new readers and some set up. Shadowpact #2 has been laying the foundation and set up for this story arc. I would expect that Shadowpact #3 and #4 are going to be a lot more interesting. I hope so, because Shadowpact #2 didn’t do anything to get me to bump this title on to the Revolution’s permanent pull list.

If you want a standard fight filled super hero comic book, then you probably won’t enjoy Shadowpact. However, if you like comic books that are a little off beat and full of odd characters then Shadowpact is definitely for you.