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Thirteen Is a Lucky Number for Valiant's 'Shadowman'

Valiant's supernatural horror series gains a new writer -- Peter Milligan -- and new direction with December's 13th issue.

Shadowman Art - P 2013
Roberto de la Torre/Valiant Entertainment

As everyone knows already, 13 is a number that's particularly charged when it comes to the subjects of luck and the supernatural. For Valiant's Shadowman -- the publisher's sole supernatural title, alongside the science fiction of X-O Manowar, superheroics of Harbinger and the action movie hijinks of Bloodshot -- the number has an even greater significance, as the 13th issue of the series sees new writer Peter Milligan set out to redefine the nature of magic in the fictional universe.

"I'm not throwing everything out with the bathwater," Milligan told USA Today when explaining his plans for the series. "I'm just making the bathwater a bit more grimy and, hopefully, unpleasant." Under his pen, the writer -- who made his name in British anthology 2000AD alongside such creators as Grant Morrison and Alan Moore in the 1980s, before writing series, including Shade the Changing Man, Enigma and X-Statix for both Marvel and DC in more recent years -- plans to mix "the high-drama aspects of a darker mainstream book with the post-punk weird and psychologically edgy qualities of [DC mature readers imprint] Vertigo," he promised.

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Milligan said that he sees Jack Boniface, the title character of the Valiant series, as too well-adjusted for an orphan who has since discovered the ability to pass into the afterlife and back at will. "He didn't quite seem to add up," he said. "Going to the Deadside shouldn't be like popping out to the grocery store to buy a pint of milk. This is a scary and difficult place, and it imposes a terrible price … It seems to me that there are probably more monsters and demons inside Jack's head than there are in the Deadside."

It's not just Shadowman himself for whom Milligan's arrival on Shadowman will be important; the writer's first issue on the series is also Valiant Entertainment's first "Must Read Valiant" issue, a new branding that will denote which issues have been specifically created for new readers to try out a particular series for the first time. Following Shadowman's "Must Read" issue, other series in the critically acclaimed line -- including Eternal Warrior, which launches this month -- will receive their own "jumping-on point" special issues.

Milligan's run on the series begins in December's Shadowman #13, illustrated by former Iron Man and Daredevil artist Roberto de la Torre.