Shadowlaw is an 88 page original graphic novel, created and written by Brandon Easton. It is a sci-fi/horror/political/action story, that takes place in a future America that, AT first glance, doesn’t seem all that far-fetched, based on current political and demographic changes. It’s the 24th century, and we learn that between now and then, there have been many changes in the way the world is run. In the latter half of the 21st century, the borders between the US and Mexico were eliminated, due to the unchecked growth of illegal immigration. In response to race riots and terrorist attacks by Mexican radicals, the US ceded several Western states back to the Mexican government, while the Catholic Church, led by a charismatic Cuban-born Pope gained more power and influence among the now-dominant Hispanic population. As natural resources became more scarce, the Church allied itself with several multinational corporations and eventually the New Earth Alliance was formed, creating a One World Theological Government, that protects the Rich and keeps everyone else in line, all the while promoting a more benign image to the population.
The story opens in 2353, and our protagonist is Rictor Caesaro, a young soldier in the NEA military. Up until this point, Rictor was a dedicated, religiously devout, believer in the government and the Church, having been personally adopted by the Supreme Chancellor. On a routine mission to stop a riot, where poor people are protesting for better food distribution, Rictor witnesses his commanding officer beating a woman and then shooting her young daughter and, in a rage, Rictor kills him. We later see in flashbacks that Rictor’s own mother was killed in a similar manner when he was a child, which explains his reaction. Because of the Chancellor’s influence, instead of the normal sentence of death, Rictor is given life imprisonment and sent to a maximum-security prison camp, which is set up in the middle of some abandoned swamplands. And that’s when things get freaky, as Rictor learns from the warden, and a mysterious female prisoner, the truth behind those who run the NEA, and encounters a dangerous new enemy: a race of VAMPIRES!
From then on, the stakes are raised even higher. It’s the NEA vs. The Vampires, high-tech battle-suits and futuristic weapons vs. a supernatural army that can’t easily killed. But which side should Rictor fight against? THAT is an interesting question, which makes this story so compelling. Easton does an excellent job of keeping the story moving forward, right up until the end. Unfortunately, the artwork is the weak spot in this book. The opening chapter of the book is drawn and colored by Scott Kester, and his work his very good. However, the remaining three chapters are drawn by Ryo Kawakami (with colors by Dawson Chen), who isn’t quite up to the same standard. Kawakami’s work is mostly adequate, but there are several parts where the artwork looks rushed, and the contrast between his and Kester’s styles is noticeable, which slightly distracts from the story. The Lettering in the whole book is by Shawn Depasquale, no complaints there. Consistent art would have made the book even better, but it’s still good enough, based on the strength of the writing, for me to recommend.