Unless you’re in Canada, you will probably have had to wait until today for Shadowland #5 and Daredevil #512 due to Thanksgiving in the U.S. last week. I, too, will most likely get my comics today so in order to clear the way for this evening’s reviews, here is a look at another Shadowland-related comic from last week: the final issue of Shadowland: Power Man.
Shadowland: Power Man really deviates quite a bit from the other Shadowland tie-ins we’ve seen in that it’s markedly different in tone (much lighter), and is clearly aimed at launching the new Power Man for his upcoming team-up title that will co-star Iron Fist, one of the most prominent characters in this story as well. While the new Power Man, teenager Victor Alvarez, has a tragic origin which is tied directly to one of the events which unscrewed some of what remained of Matt Murdock’s screws (i.e. the demolition of the building seen in Dark Reign – The List: Daredevil), Victor’s story is thematically similar to a young Peter Parker’s. He’s unpopular with the “cool kids,” is surrounded by various protective family members and struggles with maintaining his secret identity.
Victor also shows the same kind of arrogance and immaturity regarding his powers as Peter did in the brief time before learning that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Some things set him apart however, and it feels like young Spider-Man archetype has been updated to suit the Internet age as well as a more urban setting.
The basic goal of this book, to launch a character that might turn into someone readers can relate to and care about, is one that writer Fred van Lente is admirably reaches in style. Victor comes across as likeable – but imperfect – and, considering he only has four issues under his belt, is already a multi-layered character. Where van Lente misses the target a little bit for me is in the dialogue that seems a little forced in places, and there’s just a hint of camp running through this story.
However, this final issue comes to a satisfying conclusing and doesn’t suffer from the confusion of last issue (introduced by the larger than necessary cast of characters) and the art by Mahmud Asrar is fun and dynamic and a perfect fit for the genre. As far as the art goes, I’ve also seen the occasional complaint directed at the fact that the Alvarez family is of hispanic origin, but are drawn to look African-American. For anyone who might be wondering about this, I’d issue the reminder that there are plenty of black people in the U.S. who are of hispanic ethnic heritage. Just to let you know. Unless it really is an art goof of some kind. 😉
Shadowland: Power Man may not be the kind of book that I would normally read were it not for its connection to Shadowland, and it occupies a sub-genre that’s not exactly my cup of tea, but it’s still an enjoyable read and Victor Alvarez has the potential of becoming an interesting character in his own right.