Review - Shadowland

Waking up with a hangover comes with its own challenges. Usually a splitting headache, intense thirst and an inability to full remember what happened the night before. For most in that situation, the night was simply one of reverie disguised as a haze. In the case of Detective Ian Gates in Shadowland, things are a little more devilish.

The title is written by Tobias Elmore and illustrated by Ken Bastard.

When Detective Ian Gates wakes up in the hospital he has a head wound and no memory of what's happened to him. Despite that he wakes up a hero, the admiration of a terrified city raining down on him for apparently ending the lives of a pair of dangerous killers in the process of saving a young woman's life. However, as the haze clears, bits and pieces of the night he landed in the hospital beginning to return, two things become frighteningly clear. He may not have been as much the rescuer as the one being rescued. And, whoever or whatever he was being rescued from was likely not human.

Elmore's story is something of a mix between that of Flight and a Stephen King work. Detective Gates is a man who's struggling with alcoholism, a pending divorce and an investigation that he just can quite resolve. It's a tried and true formula when it comes to detectives and Gates fits the description pretty well. The bulk of the book is something of a whodunnit with a supernatural twist at the end, providing a reason for why Gates may have trouble remembering the night. The twist at the end feels a little unnecessary, despite it's positioning as something grander that seems will dictate the direction of the narrative in future works.

Bastard's art is all black and white with an emphasis on the blacks. Some of the facial close-ups look very detailed, whereas others look a little murkier. The art handles the fight sequences well, making sure the reader can keep up with everything going on. The lettering is a little tough to decipher though, mostly because of the font chosen and how much dialogue is there. There's a lot of dialogue in the book crammed into the thought bubbles and there is some squinting necessary to make out what's going on.

Shadowland is a cop book with a man trying to piece together both his previous night and a case. He's sacrificed a lot for his trade and the results aren't quite what he was expecting. It's an interesting book that blends black and white illustrations with a ton of dialogue. There's a foundation for further exploring the universe and future issues would do well to reduce the dialogue to unclutter the pages of lettering.

Shadowland is available now.