Shadow Service Issues 1 & 2: Comic Book Review

Shadow Service Issues 1 & 2: Comic Book Review

Writer: Cavan Scott
Artist: Corin M Howell
Colours: Triona Farrell
Letters: Andworld Design
Edits: Rebecca Taylor
Designer: Tim Daniel
Publishers: Vault Comics

At your Shadow Service

Already guaranteed for 10 issues, Shadow Service is a bloody belter from the crew at Vault. Gina Meyers is a private investigator in London, though her methods are far from conventional. Gina is a witch, and she knows how to use her powers to her advantage…sometimes. However, not everything in Gina’s life goes according to plan – especially now…

And it’s Called Black Magic

There is a lot to love about Shadow Service. These first two issues pulse with a Gothic heartbeat from deep under the floorboards; and the little rat familiar is just the cherry on the cake. Reds, purples, greens, and the gorgeous rain-slicked streets conjure up the grimy underbelly of a very dark and profoundly British world. Thankfully, this vibe doesn’t let up for a single detail. Lilac narrative boxes and magical, alchemical green fumes seep through every panel, leaving us in no doubt about just how mystical and mysterious Shadow Service promises to be.

In the Shadows 

Throughout these first two issues, we are treated to some beautifully designed and dynamic lettering. Full of movement and purpose, the lettering in Shadow Service is an art all its own. Together with the art and colours, the lettering in Shadow Service really hammers home the horror – and I love it.

Notably, it isn’t just the design of the letters and words that is magical; it’s their meanings, too. Gina’s incantations may seem enchanting enough, on the surface, but you best believe the creative team did their research, too. No half-measures here, folks. In fact, each magical utterance has its roots in Old English; from “asellan” to “betæcan” each word’s etymology has a magic all its own.

Cool Britannia

That’s not the only interesting linguistic part of Shadow Service. I blame my indoctrination by the way of mass media, but I kept forgetting the Shadow Service was set in England, only to get reminded on every page. Each time, however, those reminders made me smile. We are all quite used to the majority of comics and media, in general, being set in, or at least having protagonists from an Undisclosed Location (read: somewhere based of a decade-specific America or, y’know, outer space). Briticisms about throughout, peppering the dialogue like sherbet lemons (it was a good British sweet analogy in my head, okay). There is even a sly Harry Potter reference…

Me and My Shadow

Shadow Service does body horror in a way that would make David Cronenberg proud. From characters to action, the more sinister scenes are executed delectably darkly. These first two issues provide us with some great looking fun and a world we can happily get dangerously lost in.

Vault has made an agreement to guarantee longer runs of certain comics, and I can’t tell you how glad I am that Shadow Service made that cut. Of course, given their track record, this home run is no surprise. For fans of all things Gothic, The Umbrella Academy, and procedural cop shows, Shadow Service takes the best bits of all of them and rolls them into a Hammer-worthy horror. You won’t want to miss out on this one.

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