Shadowman / Rae Sremmurd #1 (Valiant)
Okay. This is just… weird. I mean, what?
There’s a fine old tradition of celebrities crossing over with comic books: William Shatner was in some old science fiction books as himself, Eminem guest starred in some Punisher comics, like, the precedent is there and it sometimes works but is most often forgettable. This might be different.
Rae Sremmurd is the hip-hop working name of two brothers that go by Slim Jxmmi and Swag Lee. They’ve been working at this for a while now, starting their own label out of their basement and hitting it big a couple years ago with the album StremmLife and following that up last year with StremmLife2. Their hook is haunting vocals and subtle instrumentals that work towards a high-impact sound that stays with you and keeps with you.
Here, take a listen for yourself:
Oh, yes, and like the very best hip-hop acts, they are deadly political.
It’s interesting that the two brothers and their label have such a spiritual bent and thus can weave themselves into Shadowman without effort. Shatner’s presence was jarring and Eminem’s appearance was trite because they had only a passing association with the comics they were guest starring in – given the heavy questions that Rae Sremmurd asks and the deep introspection that Shadowman is capable of, this has the potential to be much more engaging.
The plan here, story-wise, is for Rae Sremmurd to hop over to New Orleans for a show and slip on close to the Deadside borderlands, that twilight world that Shadowman is the keeper of. Rae Sremmurd often feels like a quest for meaning and origin, both concepts that Shadowman is tied to, and the history of both should intermingle nicely in the strange places where the latter dwells.
I expect Shadowman to change more from this than Rae Sremmurd will, but we’ll see how this goes. Writer Eliot Rahal is the one responsible for tying these powers together, and he’s done some great work for Valiant and Dark Horse that should lend itself well to the story here. Presumably, Slim Jxmmi and Swag Lee will also be adding their input, which should make their presence much stronger. Renato Guedes is on art, and he’s worked with Eliot at Valiant before and flirted throughout the Super-books over at DC with strong line work and dark shading.
This is going to be very pretty and might end up stronger than the sum of its parts. Check it out for that reason alone.