How Blue-Devil Got His Groove Back


Only two issues to go before Shadowpact closes up shop, and there are a lot of open story lines that need wrapping. Fortunately Matthew Sturges answers one, and sets readers up for a smack down of godly proportions in The Burning Age, the first installment of a three part arc from DC Comics.

shadowpact.jpgFor many issues we have seen the members of the Shadowpact acting more or less on their own; Nightmaster trying to save his realm, a mopey arc where a few members try to save the life of Rook, and Blue Devil becoming a rhyming god of hell, and so on. So it is good to see we’re getting the team back for a time-spanning adventure.

Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

The issue kicks off with some good teamwork as the Shadowpact attempts to stop a rampaging imp. Say what you will about Sturges (he’s one of my favorite writers), but his ability to take foul language and spin it in a way that works for an “all ages” audience gets high praise from your humble narrator.

Don’t believe me? Take this quip from the imp, “Befoul one of your moist orifices in my various secretions!” and tell me you don’t find the humor in using a thesaurus to change a two word phrase into something I bet half of you start using in your regular vernacular.

You see, there is a thing that I like about demons, or deamons or daimons, if you lean that way; no matter how evil they may be, they do live by a code, rules, the law. And if you are someone quick of wit, you can exploit those limitations to get yourself out of a sticky situation. Don’t believe me, just ask Daniel Webster. Or, to keep this review moving, just ask Danny Cassidy, a.k.a. The Blue Devil.

When he became that rhyming deamon, he discovered it was actually his brother that sold the souls of Danny and his sister to the devil. Danny does want out of hell, and he does want his soul back, and he’s willing to sue the daimons of hell himself to do it. And just like Daniel Webster, our Daniel uses the letter of the law, and his power as a prince of the nether realm to accomplish it.

And it works.

Seeing a giant zipper appear and Danny taking off the costume that has been grafted to his body for so long has to be one of the best “Oh Various Secretions!” moments in the story.

Only one? What is the other “Oh Various Secretions!” moment?

Glad you asked, dear reader!

When recounting his adventures to hell and back, the Phantom Stranger appears in the Oblivion Bar (Rook turned the bar over to the Detective Chimp of all people) and tells everyone a great foe needs to be defeated by the team of Shadowpact United.

The great foe is the Sun King, who has been devouring souls as fast as Danny’s brother can deliver them. And the Shadowpact United team?

The Phantom Stranger thinks the current group of supernatural crime fighters can’t go up against the Sun King themselves, so he enlists the aid of Shadowpact teams from 1908 and 2108. Yes, Shadowpact fans, the comic series may be ending, but the teams live on!

The Good

  • Always read your contracts, you’ll be able to use it to your advantage later
  • That big ‘ol zipper
  • A mad Flippy
  • Creative ways of using colorful language
  • Time Traveling Shadowpact, Go!
  • I like it when writers are able to bring things full circle

The Bad

  • Sun King always seemed like a lame villain

While I haven’t been a big fan of the Sun King story line, it’s good to see it reach a conclusion the likes of which Buffy could only hope to have happened during her television run. Throw in Shadowpact teams from the past and future, great writing by Sturges, and you have a three issue arc that will make readers smile. If you are going to wrap up a series, it’s a good idea to do it in a way readers who have invested their time will appreciate, rather than a cheeky smack to the face. I think that is what is going to happen, which is why I’m going to give this issue a solid 4 Stars.


If you haven’t been privy to Shadowpact, or have only been reading it on and off, pick up issue #23. It’s a great read (especially the court scene with Danny and his lawyer), and I think you’ll like it a lot.


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. Thank God Shadowpact is ending. It was a TERRIBLE Series. I don’t see what everyone likes in Matt Sturges’ writing, Jack of Fables is utter garbage compared to Fables. Unfortunately, Shelley Bond has lost her mind and decided to give “House of Mystery” to Matt Sturges so that he can also run it into the ground. I wonder what the relationship between Bill Willingham and Matt Sturges is because this “taking him under his wing” crap isn’t working.

  2. Point 1: You’re certainly allowed your opinion, but it’s not universal. I enjoyed the heck out of Shadowpact, even under Sturges, and will be sorry to see it go.

    Point 2: Though they are public figures, your comments on Sturges and Willingham are both inappropriate and off-topic.

    Point 3: Jack of Fables is a fun series. Comparing it to Fables is as unfair as comparing it to the Punisher…

    Point 4: Slag off House of Mystery once you’ve read it, if you like, but since we’ve seen naught but a preview at this point, there’s no sense in wasting energy complaining now.

    I don’t usually play schoolteacher, but this was an incredibly negative, standard-issue-fan-entitlement-Internet-bitchfest of a statement and I really have a problem with that. Every opinion is welcome, but keep it civil, please.

  3. Is this better: What makes Fables work drove me away from Shadowpact months ago. Willingham struck gold with the idiosynchratic(sp?) pacing and the heavy use of dialog over action but it proved to be deathly boring with this mix of characters. Add that they got a regular artist unsuited to the fantastical and it was excrutiating for me personally to read. I can’t tell Sturges from Willingham on Jack of Fables so not even that switch out got me to sample an issue.

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