Haunting. From the beginning of this story through its end, Divinity III: Shadowman & The Battle for New Stalingrad #1 is absolutely haunting, and I love it. The concept behind this issue is brilliant, and after reading through the book and seeing some of what Shadowman can do…I NEED more.

Here’s the plot from the publisher: “To save the devastated and oppressed island of New York, Jack Boniface might just have to annihilate it first – by leading an army of Deadside-spawned monstrosities onto the streets to fight the Soviets’ super-powered shock troops wherever they stand. But freedom fighters like the one they call Shadowman seldom get the happy ending they deserve…”

Wait, New York is devastated and oppressed? No, but Divinity III: Shadowman & The Battle for New Stalingrad #1 is set in an alternate reality where the Soviets have successfully laid waste to New York and have thus claimed it as their own. In Issue #1, we witness the last stand for New York as Jack Boniface (Shadowman) and what remains of the American resistance fights the Soviets for control of New York.

This brawl is absolutely epic, and is wonderfully brutal. There’s blood and guts, and at one point, Shadowman rides into battle on a resurrected Triceratops, surrounded by a legion of the ‘undead’ to aid in the fight.

The layout work – especially during the battle scenes – is flawless. Artist Robert Gill deserves to be applauded for his high-intensity work here, as it added so much emotion to the story that Scott Bryan Wilson has written.

My only complaint is this: The ending of this issue includes a short story about the origin of Baba Yaga, and despite being an awesome little tale, it felt out of place. I very much enjoyed reading this well-written and well-illustrated origin story, but after the epic battle for New York, the momentum was lost and the change of pace felt forced and unnatural. It’s either that, or I just really wanted more Baba Yaga and felt let-down when I reached the end of the book…

Regardless of this minor setback, Divinity III: Shadowman & The Battle for New Stalingrad #1 is amazing. Give it a read, you won’t be sorry you did.

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