|Jonathan Bishop has a problem. Several in fact. A self-styled vigilante, Bishop relies on his faith and his one friend to keep his life on balance. But when a techno-cult successfully binds an angel and the man who ‘made’ Bishop comes knocking, his quiet(ish) life falls apart.
Writer Cy Dethan has tremendous fun here, playing in Barry Nugent’s Unseen Shadows universe. Bishop, along with close and only friend Sara Conisbee, opens the book in action. He’s rapid, brutal, unforgiving. He’s also mortal, and for all his studied lack of concern and Solomon Kane-esque focus, Bishop is clearly closer to the Hawkeyes of this world than the Supermen, however much he may have been conditioned to think differently.
Bishop’s gradual confrontation of his humanity is placed in what seems to be stark contrast with Adam Grass. Grass is a trained, built assassin. He’s the next model along from Bishop, and when he discovers Bishop is alive, he decides now would be the best time for them to see who’s the best of the best.
But there is the small matter of what it means to be human. And, of course, the tethered angel…
It would have been so easy for the book to be nothing more than action and strutting. Instead. Dethan builds numerous smart little character beats in. There’s some whip smart, jet black humor as well as moments of exhausted compassion. Oh and crashing helicopters and all out war and Sara grumbling…
Conor Boyle‘s art is muscular but fluid and handles scale changes especially well. There’s a couple of pull backs here which are especially lovely (including an especially good one leading to the crash Sara’s complaining about above). Similarly, Conor’s character models never feel repetitive and always have a pleasant, lived,in, familiar feel.
Rounded out by excellent lettering from Nic Wilkinson and great layouts from Antony Mcgarry-Thickitt, this is simultaneously a great advert for the series and a great action standalone in its own right. Phenomenally good, nasty, smart fun and available now. It’s a chunky 100-plus page read, is well worth your time and can be pre-ordered here for £14.99.