Released at last weekend’s Bristol Comics Expo, David Broughton’s Shaman Kane feels like it could have been plucked from a classic edition of 2000 AD, which is no real surprise as he made his name on 2000 AD fanzines like Zarjaz and Dog Breath. But will his own comic about a space faring law man who deals with some very supernatural enemies be magical or will it be lost in space?
Publisher: David Broughton Comics
Writer: David Broughton
Artist: David Broughton
Price: £3.99 (per issue) from Comicsy
Our rating: [star rating=”3.5″]
Shaman Kane is not your typical hero. As a recruit and member of the Zen-like sect known as the shaman ruling council, Kane is a galaxy spanning avenger whose role and purpose in the galactic community is simple: to destroy all manner of supernatural evils which rear their ugly heads. So, with the help of his ghostly partner Sable, Kane finds himself battling against Werewolf Monks, possessed aliens and several hordes of Zombies, all in the name of keeping the universe safe. But are all of these events just coincidence, or is there some bigger threat connecting them?
Shaman Kane feels very much like a homage to 2000 AD in both its writing and its look. Each issue is broken down into multiple short stories which have don’t seem to have much of a connection – beyond the core characters and some of the villain classes (like the zombies which take pride of place). But come together to create an almost ‘anthology’ like vibe that makes each issue feel very easy to read and, therefore, perfect as a jumping on point for new readers.
As a downside though, this means that the plotting is a little uneven, with the stories feeling a bit start/stop in some places. However this is only an occasional flaw which is easily forgotten, not least when reaching the twists in the series, such as Annie’s fate and the possible connection through all the stories.
The major draw of Shaman Kane though is the characters. Despite having limited depth – Broughton favours getting on with the action rather than getting bogged down with exposition – are made really compelling thanks to a great use of humour. This is especially true of lead character Kane who, with a single tracked focus and a deadpan humour, feels like a supernatural Judge Dredd but with more gags and reminded us of both The Red Mask From Mars and Lou Scannon with it’s mix of humour and action.
Broughton’s art style continues the links to ‘the galaxy’s greatest comic’, with a style that feels quintessentially 2000AD. The villain designs are particularly cool and feel deeply rooted in British comic and horror tradition, but with some, such as the insectoid, looking refreshingly different. This mix of the familiar and the new definitely works in Shaman Kane’s favour as do the monochrome panels which suit the gory, over the top moments allowing them to be graphic but not taking away from the lightness of the humour. Not all of the issues are exclusively black and white though, with several pages being coloured throughout which again helps the eclectic nature of the stories.
Contrary to it’s rather gruesome content, Shaman Kane is a fun, light hearted series of comics which is easy to jump on board with and will resonate highly with the 2000AD fans. While it’s mostly horror themed stories may not be to everyone’s taste, David Broughton’s supernatural lawman is a book and a character with a strong sense of what it’s trying to be and would be a more than welcome addition to the pages of Tharg and co. if given a chance.