Flying underneath a cover that would make most 1980s metal bands green with envy, Adam Beechen gives us another story in the “Untold Tales of Shadowpact.” I’m not sure why DC is feeling the need to push out these one-shots right now, but I’m not complaining. This issue, like the Ragman issue from a month back, is continuity-free and free-standing. There isn’t anything Earth-shattering, universe-merging, or internet-breaking in this issue, but that doesn’t mean that the story is any less enjoyable.
Beechen is having a bit of a resurgence at DC of late (or at least it seems to be of late, but that may simply be the fault of fluid scheduling) with the success of “Batman Beyond,” so it seemed to be a simple matter of time before Beechen turned in another story or two. His script here is less a story of Jim Rook – Nightmaster – and more a story of trippy groupie Eddie Persky who happens to run into Rook. Persky gives us the inside dish on Rook’s non-superheroic past while Rook himself counters with a description of what has transpired since his initial encounter with Persky. It’s a different take on the standard origin story, but it works for this character.
This issue doesn’t focus on the legacy of Nightmaster like the Ragman issue did, but it does provide a nice springboard to the character and through him to “Shadowpact.” The other members of Shadowpact are little more than props in this issue, but Dwyer makes them visually interesting props. Dwyer brings some fun to this story that is fraught with the supernatural. His art is clean, crisp, and fresh, allowing the colorist known as Ego (are all the good colorist names taken, too?) to punch the visuals up to an impressively effervescent level.
I’m not completely clear on the purpose of these Shadowpact one-shots, but by my count, there’s room for at least four more. Beechen and Dwyer make a strong case to be the creative team on the lead for further investigation of these characters. Beechen’s scripting of Nightmaster and his interaction with Eddie Persky (while managing to do battle against the forces of Lord Meh) leave me hoping that Blue Devil finds his way to Beechen’s list of upcoming assignments. I say Blue Devil because this issue has the same fun-loving, high-adventure, otherworldly zaniness that the classic “Blue Devil” series provided in each issue.