Shadow Service #3 Review: A Bit Exposition-Heavy For a Third Issue

Shadow Service by writer Cavan Scott, artist Corin Howell, colorist Triona Farrell, and letterer AndWorld Design started off with an enjoyable debut issue. It then took off with a bang with the second. By diving into the characters and allowing the reader to learn about the mythology as if they were taking a ridealong with a witch and paranormal private investigator, Gina Meyers. As a fan of urban fantasy novels myself, it's a familiar but attractive set-up that is popular in prose but hasn't gotten enough love in comics, so it's intriguing to see it being done and done well in Shadow Service. Can the creative team keep this title as compelling as their game-changing first issue, though?

Shadow Service #3 cover. Credit: Vault Comics
Shadow Service #3 cover. Credit: Vault Comics

Shadow Service #3 isn't going to let readers down, but it does have a problem with structure and consistency. The issue is front-loaded with exposition, which doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing, but it falters a bit with Gina's reaction to what she's seeing. There's really nothing revealed here that is more unbelievable than the monstrous and demonic activity she experienced in the first two issues… and yet, here, she's stunned. She doesn't believe what she's seeing. This is addressed in the narrative itself and boiled down to "She doesn't trust the people she's dealing with." However, after putting Gina through some very odd circumstances, it's still odd that the book shows her struggling to believe what she's seeing like a human character a third of the way through a Stephen King novel. Once all of that is out of the way, and Gina is on a mission with a wraith-corpse-eating man (who seems to have his own tale to tell), then the issue really takes off. It's not a huge letdown from the awesome #2, but it does level off the extreme upward swing started by that issue.

The art here from Howell and Farrell is nice and creepy, handing Shadow Service's blend of horror and action with style. The creature design continues to be the best aspect of this series' artwork, with the final scene offering some unexpected body horror that ends the issue on an exciting note.

Overall, Shadow Service #3 doesn't do for the series what the second issue did but was still an enjoyable installment of one of Vault's best-written comics.

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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