"Dark Shaman #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Zenescope Entertainment
Written by Erica J. Heflin
Illustrated by Sean Hill
2014, 26 Pages
Comic released on October 22nd, 2014
There are all kinds of evil beings within the Grimm Universe. Prepare to meet a new one in Dark Shaman. This time around, we're dealing with an ancient Indian burial ground or rather an evil Native American shaman that feeds on innocent blood for some unknown reason. The four-issue mini-series has Grimm Fairy Tales matriarch Sela Mathers shoehorned at the beginning as she goes shopping and is told of the story behind a strange tapestry.
The comic then jumps to the story featuring a group of co-eds going on the worst beach vacation ever. Things get a little confusing as one of the girls bears a striking resemblance to Sela. Is she in the story? Is this just something else? Anyway, this Dark Shaman shows up and basically wants to kill people. That's really what's going on. The book is set up like a generic slasher movie with a group of stereotypical twenty-somethings that are meant to be cannon fodder for the villain.
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One of the kids has a tie to the tribe that the Dark Shaman comes from, but it's unclear exactly how they're connected. There's no real reason that this guy is killing people to begin with. I'm sure that innocent blood tastes great, but there are plenty of other options when it comes to a decent meal. Have you tried the Doritos Loco Taco? It's friggin' delicious.
I wish there was more I could say about this Native American murderer, but there's really not much else to go on. He rises from the depths because of some idiots that got too close to a haunted tree. (This marks the third haunted tree I've seen in comics in the past two weeks, by the way. See also Wytches and Sabrina.)
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Sean Hill's artwork is very hit or miss throughout Dark Shaman. There are some incredibly well done scenes, especially those done in single or double-page spreads. There's one very impressive shot where the title character rips a bird in half. He stands triumphant, arms outstretched with blood pouring down from his clenched fists. Several smaller panels frame him, giving the impression of a wingspan. These pages are balanced with many that put the characters in very awkward positions, like their anatomy is screwed up. An arm will be too short here or someone will be standing in a completely unnatural position there.
Dark Shaman plays like your everyday horror movie with a bunch of co-eds heading out to a secluded cabin before becoming the target of a supernatural madman. There's little to no emotional attachment to the characters, so there's no real concern when the blood starts flying. This is the kind of story where you root for the bad guy because you don't care about the people.