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Shadowland: Spilling Blood

Antony Johnston talks about his upcoming limited series SHADOWLAND: BLOOD ON THE STREETS

By Kevin Mahadeo

Blood will run this August when writer Antony Johnston and artist Wellinton Alves launch the four-issue limited series SHADOWLAND: BLOOD ON THE STREETS.

"BLOOD ON THE STREETS turns the spotlight on some of the lesser-known, street-level characters and how a series of murders during the events of Shadowland brings them together," explains Johnston. "We have The Shroud, Misty Knight, Silver Sable, Paladin and even Misty's old NYPD partner, Lt. Rafe Scarfe. [DAREDEVIL an SHADOWLAND writer] Andy Diggle and I worked together on [the Shadowland timeline], and that gives me a great perspective on how to work BLOOD ON THE STREETS around the events of [the main series]. You'll see characters and events cross over between the two a little, as a result. You can't have one without the other. But BLOOD ON THE STREETS also stands by itself; everything you need to know is covered inside its pages."

Shadowland spins out of current events in DAREDEVIL, which has seen Matt Murdock enforcing a state of Martial Law across Hell's Kitchen. The move

came in response to Norman Osborn's Dark Reign, however, even with Osborn dethroned, Daredevil refuses to back down or remove his Hand's tight grip on the streets of New York. When his super hero allies begin to show concern, things quickly spiral out of control.

"The characters [in the limited series] are flung together when it becomes apparent that the Hand is killing low-level mobsters who've escaped the clutches of the law," says Johnston. "Did Daredevil sanction this? Is there a rogue faction of ninja in the Hand? Why are they going after these two-bit wise guys? That's what our characters aim to find out, and it's going to take them to some pretty dark places. All four heroes, and the cops under Lt. Scarfe, are pretty firmly on the side of 'Daredevil needs to be stopped.' And trying to figure out the mystery of the murdered criminals pits them directly against the Hand."

As mentioned earlier, the title stars a number of street-level characters, many of whom haven't been seen around the Marvel Universe of late. Johnston admits that he's wanted to work with Silver Sable for a long time and that her international status gives the character a unique perspective on the world.

"I think Sable has great potential," he says. "In BLOOD ON THE STREETS, Sable is trying to clear her name with Interpol. They hired her to track a criminal who is killed by the Hand before she can get to him. Interpol suspects Sable may have dealt the blow herself, and she's compelled to prove her innocence. We'll also get a glimpse at how her status quo has been shaken up, but I can't say too much about that right now."

Former Thunderbolt Paladin also co-stars in the series. The writer says that Paladin's main drive as usual remains financially-motivated, as the Hand's meddling costs him a rather large payday. Johnston says he really enjoys the character's position as full-on mercenary with his own unique code of honor, which provides an interesting duality. BLOOD ON THE STREETS also reunites Paladin with Sable as the two have previously worked together on a number of occasions, but Johnston only describes

SHADOWLAND: BLOOD ON THE STREETS #1 preview art by Wellinton Alves
their current relationship as "cool," calling that "the best way I can describe it, for reasons that will become clear in the story."

One of the most interesting additions to the title: Misty Knight. Readers last saw the character hanging up her tights as an expectant mother in IMMORTAL IRON FIST.

"Fighting on the streets is definitely not the best place for Misty right now," concurs Johnston. "She'd really like to take things easy and concentrate on being a normal mom-to-be. But, as so often happens, life has a habit of getting in the way, and she won't let being pregnant stop her from doing the right thing. Misty's perhaps more concerned about her own welfare than in the past because now she also has to think about the baby, but she still has a job to do."

The events of Shadowland put Misty in direct opposition with Daredevil. The two share a long-standing friendship, while Misty's lover, Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist, stands as one of Daredevil's oldest allies. Johnston says that Misty and Danny want to believe Daredevil thinks he's doing the right thing, but both agree that his methods are misguided.

The final character set to appear will be The Shroud, whom Johnston says doesn't exactly work well on a team and has recently returned to life as a lone vigilante.

"If experience has taught him anything, it's that he's not suited to teamwork, and that's where we first find him: working alone, investigating the murders," reveals the writer. "But it's also Shroud who gets the ball rolling with some of the other characters. He doesn't want to be part of a team, but he's not stupid, and knows when to call on others for aid."

BLOOD ON THE STREETS re-teams Johnston with artist Alves. The two worked together previously on the short "Yuggoth Creatures" for Avatar Press five years ago.

"Even back then, I could tell he was a big talent [and] he's only improved with time," says Johnston of his artist. "The pages I've seen so far are

SHADOWLAND: BLOOD ON THE STREETS #1 preview art by Wellinton Alves
fantastic, with a combination of great action, storytelling and character acting, and he's got the noir feeling we're going for down pat. I couldn't be happier with his work."

As for what else readers should expect in the new limited series, Johnston says to look forward to tense situations, a few surprises and, of course, some blood on the streets:

"What readers can expect to see is four very different heroes thrown together under tense circumstances, and dealing with their own conflicting motivations. They can also expect plenty of action; with all these characters pitted against the Hand ninja, things were never going to be resolved by reasonable debate."


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Shroud is back, excellent. Misty Knight without Colleen Wing can be boring.


Misty Knight but no Colleen Wing?.


This sounds absolutely amazing. Although I've had one question. Where's Echo? This seems like the perfect place to bring her back into the loop.


A great cast of characters here. This should be epic!


know who should be in this, the super cop, toxin. he's been in like nothing sents vemon vs carnage.


Antony Johnston is a great writer. I'm loving his work (with Andy Diggle) on DD, and his Wasteland series at Oni Press is epic. Now Shadowland has me pretty excited. I guess I'm just going to have to stretch my wallet a bit more to get these tie-ins. :]