Max Brooks’ Shadow Walk comic review

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When I first heard that Max Brooks was writing another graphic novel called Shadow Walk, I was immediately filled with glee. Well, he didn’t write this exactly but consulted on it.

Shadow Walk is described as:

“As I Walk Through The Valley Of The Shadow of Death… Is the Shadow of Death a metaphor or could it actually be a real place? Three separate paranormal incidents over the last century, in a valley near modern day Iraq, seem to give credence to these claims. But when satellite photos taken over the area hint at a dangerous new energy source, the U.S. decides to send in a Special-Ops team to locate and extract it before it can fall into enemy hands.”

Shadow Walk is written by Mark Waid (Daredevil, Kingdom Come) and illustrated by Shane Davis (Superman: Earth One). It’s based on the story by Waid, Max Brooks (World War Z) and Legendary producer Thomas Tull.

The team that put this together is freaking phenomenal, and they have been a part of some of my favorite comic book arcs of all time, so where did it go wrong?

The story and concept are actually well thought out and original. The art is beautiful. They put a lot of time in coming up with how the geopolitical climate would play out with the United States’ current foreign relationships and created this hell on Earth in the Iraqi desert. The demonic entities were beautifully designed and seemed to follow what we would image they would look like if that apocalypse did happen. So what killed it for me?

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The length (that’s what she said). This graphic novel felt so short and rushed that there was very little character development. I guess I got spoiled off long standing graphic novels and shows like Arrow when it comes to the characters. This graphic novel played off more like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (not a compliment). Although entertaining, the fundamentals of the story are lacking. To me it felt more like someone wanted a preview of a movie by putting storyboards together to see how the audience would react, before investing 100 million dollars in it.

Well, didn’t I hit that hammer on the head. One of our other Nerd Reactor family members were able to interview Max Brooks about it, and he said exactly as I thought. Legendary pictures CEO Thomas Tull, who loves this kind of stuff, went over the concept with Max Brooks and now we are here.

Writer Mark Waid spoke with Comic Book Resources and answered if he would want to revisit a sequel or turn it into a movie/media property:

“I would love to. It certainly was designed to be read as one piece — it’s a story with a beginning, middle and end. But having got in there and having seen all the rich potential for storytelling, I would not be at all averse to revisiting this world. Talk to me again when the sales figures come in and if people like it, if the reaction is good, then I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t go back and delve into the valley again.”

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The main character in Shadow Walk was actually pretty difficult to figure out at first, because he seemed to disappear or not play a major part throughout the story. In the end you realize it is him, but I would have LOVED to see more about his back story, or why he was willing or not willing to do this mission to the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

Overall I feel that if there was a director’s cut of Shadow Walk that had another 20 to 30 pages, I would love it and tell everyone to read it. I am still going to tell everyone to read it because the story is awesome for the most part, but I just really wished there was more character story. Next time they need to learn from Peter Jackson and make it as long as possible with extended editions for each one.

Shadow Walk arrives December 17, 2013 and is available at Amazon.

Grade: B

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About author

Robert Galvan
Robert Galvan 392 posts

For as long as he can remember, Robert asked the questions that others wouldn't about love, life, and death which brought about his interest in the human psyche and moral compass, resulting in an infatuation with comics, zombies, and movies leading to a long standing relationship with his imagination.