Review by Peter Duncan
David Broughton’s Shaman Kane reaches Book 5 – and takes a cosmic twist.
Over four, carefully crafted issues, writer-artist David has been building the story of his, ‘Licensed Occult Operative’, Shaman Kane, a story set within an interstellar civilisation still reeling after a Zombie War that almost wiped it out.
This is a series that owes much to the classic years of 2000AD, from the Mick McMahon/ Kevin O’Neill influenced art to the Shaman costume designs that suggest Strontium Dog, Johnny Alpha, David’s attachment to the Galaxy’s Greatest comic is obvious.
With the new comic, “Evil in the Dark Matter Dimension”, other influences take centre stage, especially the creation of a Jack Kirby style mythology, signalled by a stepping up of the “scale” of the artwork.
Double page spreads and pages with just one or two panels turn the book into something with an epic, almost cinematic look, that contrasts with some of the previous outings and their more claustrophobic atmosphere.
The scale of the story matches the art. We learn more about the secret origin of the Shaman, their ultimate purpose and are reunited with many of the characters from previous adventures. Plotlines and incidents from the preceding issues are linked, as the series appears to approach a climax.
As the exposition fades and we move into the action, we travel to the “Dark Matter Dimension’, in a sequence that has echoes of the Stan Lee/ Steve Ditko, Doctor Strange adventures with archenemy, Dormammu. (Stories located, perhaps not coincidently, in a place referred to as, “The Dark Dimension”).
This sequence features some of David’s best artwork in the whole series and adds another little nod to a 2000AD character. Book 5 ends on a cliff-hanger, and it’s a good one that will draw readers back next time.
It would be easy to read this review and think you were looking at an overly derivative, fan-piece. But that would simply be wrong. David takes from the best and adds a joyful exuberance and a very personal and individual style. His art is distinctive and, while carrying the mark of other great artists, is all his own.
Shaman Kane has been an entertaining, fast-moving, and fun comic from the beginning. With Book 5, the series takes a step forward, perhaps a bit slicker, more confident, and certainly more accomplished.
Shaman Kane Book 5 was a delight to read, part of the appeal spotting the homages and references to other great comics, but mostly it was reading an exciting, well-told tale that promises much for the future.
• Shaman Kane Book Five is available directly from David Broughton. 24 pages, full colour US Format £5.50p via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org. This includes second class postage to the UK only. Outside of the UK, please contact David on the same address for a quote
• Books One to Four are available for £12, including second class postage within the UK. Overseas customers again need to contact David on email@example.com for a delivery price quotation