Johnny Bullet
DC Comics
Shadowpact # 21
By Koppy McFad

January 23, 2008 - 03:18

Publisher(s): DC Comics
Writer(s): Matt Sturges
Penciller(s): Tom Derenick, Wayne Faucer
Cover Artist(s): Tom Derenick, Wayne Faucer


The other-dimensional kingdom of Myrra has been overrun by a cult that has transformed the population into rabid lunatics. Can Nightmaster and the rest of the Shadowpact rescue the kingdom?

This is part of a wider story involving the origins of the Nightmaster, one of DC's earliest sword-and-sorcery characters. There is a lot of backstory to get through but at least this time the creative team actually give us a few flashbacks that explain things better.

The story isn't all that original. Sometimes, it looks to be a typical Lord-of-the-Rings type adventure mixed with some zombie-like maniacs right out of "Dawn of the Dead." But at least the narrative never drags, except in the brief scenes in the Oblivion Bar where a few members of the Pact, who aren't in Myrra, make obligatory appearances.

The tone of both the story and art just don't seem very mystical, despite all the efforts to convey a sense of otherworldly mystery to the tale. It does seem like a solid superhero adventure and the scenes of Nightmaster routing the bad guys have an excitement that old-time superhero scenes used to have, until the heroes turned all grim and gritty.

Despite the good art and writing, there is something lacking in this book that keeps it stuck to the margins of the DC lineup. Maybe the team is too eclectic with some members, like Detective Chimp or Nightshade, being out of place, forcing the writers to come up with a way to keep them out of the action. Maybe the whole 'magical super-team' premise hasn't been properly explored so what we are getting are basically standard superhero tales, except that the alien invaders come from Hell instead of Mars. Or maybe they should have just added Batman to the team and called it "the Outsiders."

Still, this issue gets a decent three stars out of five.


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