Shadowman Issue 4 Review: Family Tides

There’s a television show from the eighties called ‘Quantum Leap’ where the main character leaps into the consciousness of others in his search for a way home to his own body, in his own time. He doesn’t leave the person until the issue has been resolved and at the beginning of each episode when he looks into a mirror, he’s either an old black man or a woman and experiences everything that happens to them. The science-fiction elements in the show helped the audience gain a sense of empathy. You see through the eyes of Sam Beckett and as he sets history right, he learns about life along the way. That said Jack Boniface has a time of it in issue four of ‘Shadowman.’

On the cover of this comic-book, there are several versions of Jack’s loa. In the previous issue, Jack is thrust into what he believed to be the Deadside. Instead, he’s propelled into the body of the Shadowman in 1940’s New York. Both he and the loa are in the body of the current man holding the mantle and he’s battling the real evil of Nazis. The Abettors are there too. Apparently, they work as guardians or protectors of those who have the loa. They don’t know how the loa works either, still at least they’re helpful. We find out that Maxim Boniface, Jack’s great-grandfather is able to keep his loa calm with jazz music. The rhythm and tone of Maxim’s saxophone eventually puts the loa to sleep. One wonders if that is one of the reasons in which Jack can’t control the bloodlust when he becomes Shadowman. He has no clear outlet as to how to release the anger and violent frustration that is this loa. What’s more Jack still doesn’t know the origin. Maybe being in the body of one of his ancestors will give him some insight in how to work together with this spirit, rather than constantly fighting for control.

Science-fiction underlies the other half of this story as Maxim’s shadow loa has to protect a white senator from Nazis in a jazz club in Harlem. But Jack does gain some valuable insight. His fall through the rabbit hole may help him defeat Baron Samedi. More importantly, what has been so long in coming for fans of this comic is that finally the history of this loa is being known. For Jack, it will be helpful in the battles to come. For readers, there will be the answer as to how the Boniface family got this loa, why it’s inherited from father to son and if that is even accurate. Overall, Jack Boniface is going to understand his family history and hopefully his past will inform his present.

About Donna-Lyn Washington 607 Articles
Donna-lyn Washington has a M.A. in English from Brooklyn College. She is currently teaching at Kingsborough Community College where her love of comics and pop culture play key parts in helping her students move forward in their academic careers. As a senior writer for ReviewFix she has been able to explore a variety of worlds through comics, film and television and has met some interesting writers and artists along the way. Donna-lyn does a weekly podcast reviewing indie comics and has also contributed entries to the 'Encyclopedia of Black Comics,’ the academic anthology ‘Critical Insights: Frank Yerby’ and is the editor for the upcoming book, ‘Conversations With: John Jennings.’

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