Book of Shadows #4 Review

Writer: Cullen Bunn

Artist: Vicente Cifuentes

Colorist: Nick Filardi

Letterer: Dave Sharpe

Cover Artists: Rafael Albuquerque, Vicente Cifuentes, Travis Escarfullery, and Kelley Jones with José Villarrubia

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

Price: 3.99

Release Date: February 22, 2023

Reviewer: David Dunham

Deadside spirits possess Shadowman and Punk Mambo. More attack Gilad Anni-Padda—the Eternal Warrior—and Dr. Mirage. Can Persephone—newly birthed from a sentient Deadside—defeat Exarch Fane and the Book Of Shadows? Let’s crack open Book Of Shadows #4 and find out!

If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Book of Shadows #4 Review.


This issue opens with Persephone fleeing Exarch Fane’s supernatural forces. Shadowman and Punk Mambo pursue her, reduced to flesh-eating zombies. Words—thoughts—accompany her flight: thoughts revolve around fear. Readers may find the opening narration confusing, but it’s Shadowman talking, not Persephone. That becomes clear when his shadow loa casts the unwanted spirits away. Now Persephone isn’t alone anymore. Shadowman stands with her. That’s a good thing, as Exarch Fane sees her inexperience as a weakness he’d willingly exploit.

While Book Of Shadows #4 continues Shadowman’s story, it’s also a team book. I can’t analyze individual hero performances without giving away essential plot details. Some characters inevitably come off better than others. As the Book of Shadows made Exarch Fane its thrall, it’s hard to rate his performance. Bunn wound the stakes so high and packed this four-issue series with so many characters that it’s hard to assess the outcome. While I have no significant qualms with the story, I wish everything hadn’t passed in a breathless rush.


Vicente Cifuentes conjures smoke and ground fog with penciling, stippling, and crosshatching, creating a mood and atmosphere that rivals a Ridley Scott film. Skeletal spirits swim through rivers of hellfire. “Keep your eyes closed, Marion! Don’t look!” Direction lines accompany every sweep of Shadowman’s scythe and the spirits of the dead burst from bodies like tendrils of darkness. “We’re dead, dude.” Sadly, a few character portrayals suffer, but a large cast gives an artist less time to master everyone’s likeness. Still, characters are expressive and treated consistently.

Light streams across zombie-filled streets. Demons burst from Shadowman’s chest in a maelstrom of magenta and lavender. Punk Mambo’s pink hair brightens every panel in which she appears. An orange glow from nearby fires tinges the sky with yellow and green. Eternal Warrior’s green cape reflects radiance from the swarming white-hot skeletal spirits. Every page pops with vibrant color that elevates but never overwhelms, thanks to Nick Filardi.

Sound effects. Colored letters in white dialogue balloons. Shaky text. Bold lettering for volume and inflection. Veteran letterer Dave Sharpe uses every tool in his tool chest to communicate emotion, possession, and the rising stakes without unduly shrinking words or adopting a stylized font. After all, it is his black narrative boxes with white lettering that helps us realize we are reading Shadowman’s thoughts and not Persephone’s as this issue begins.

Final Thoughts

Seeing Eternal Warrior’s earlier battles with Exarch Fane—instead of hearing about them second-hand—would have strengthened his role. Readers could have empathized better with Persephone had Valiant given her more time to grow and mature. This series certainly could have benefitted from more standalone stories and a longer run. Yet this epic story with outstanding art has brought together more heroes—and given each a chance to shine—than any other series Valiant has produced post-pandemic. If Book Of Shadows #4 proves the last chapter of Cullen Bunn’s Shadowman saga, I’d say he ended on a high, wouldn’t you?


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