Shadowpact: Cursed

Shadowpact: Cursed

By Bill Willingham & various (DC Comics)
ISBN13: 978-1-84576-738-9

Bill Willingham shows his facility with the fight ‘n’ tights comicbook mainstream in this second collection of DC’s Supernatural Superteam reprinting tales from issues #4 and 9-13 of the monthly magazine. It all starts with ‘Blue Devil: A Night in the Life’, illustrated by Steve Scott and Wayne Faucher which focuses on the private life of the team’s demonic strongman. The action portion is provided by a couple of demons who have been dispatched to bring the hero to an audience in Hell. This tale was originally published as the fourth issue, so any ominous foreshadowing it provided is somewhat lessened, but it certainly makes more narrative sense as a prelude to the next tale.

‘The Demon Triptych’ (issues #9-11, and pencilled by Tom Derenick) finds guest host the Phantom Stranger presiding over a tale as the team goes public and begins to notice some odd behaviour from Blue Devil. In case you’re wondering, as movie stuntman Dan Cassidy he was mystically bonded into an animatronic suit he was wearing. The magic turned him into an actual devil; or so he always believed… He also “sold his soul for fame”…

Wayward Etrigan, however, is the real McCoy, and frankly the ranks of Hell are fed up with him. When they see a chance to replace him with Cassidy they take it, forcing his team-mates to invade the Infernal Realm to get him back. In the course of the mission tactical leader Nightmaster is impaled with his own magic blade, and the next tale ‘Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword’ (# 12, with art by Derenick and Faucher) is a highly enjoyable deathbed review of his origin and career.

The book concludes with ‘Bad Tidings & Evil Deeds’, illustrated by Scott Hampton, wherein ex-Justice Leaguer and actual Angel Zauriel is ordered by his celestial superiors to destroy Cassidy, but that confrontation is left for the next volume in this stylish appetite-whetter, which is just a nicer way of saying this volume ends on a bit of a cliffhanger…

Enjoyable, light-hearted and highly addictive, just like its predecessor (Shadowpact: The Pentacle Plot – ISBN: 1-84576-533-8) this is a very accessible book for newcomers and the balance of humour, drama and action is superb. Great as a gift and one you’ll be tempted to keep for yourself.

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