Writer: Gary Phillips
Penciler: Marcel Salaza
Colors: Lynn Kranz & Chris Canibano
Publisher: Emerald Star Comics
“Who knows the evil the that lurks in the heart’s of men?”
If you said The Shadow, you are only half right. There is a new pistol packing, red scarf wearing spirit of vengeance in the shapely form of Lady Satan in town.
As you expect, issue one is an origins piece, slid into her current task. With Lady Satan on the trail of her creators, we get to see the how’s and the why’s that connect from past to present, with a couple of hints to the future thrown in for good measure. Trying to leave her stripper job with her boyfriend Tony, Lady S gets caught up in her boyfriend’s skimming from the boss. It’s at this point, I have to admit to thinking of the Copacabana (yes the Barry Manilow song). I mean, think about it. There is a dancer and a Tony but at least this time we are fully aware of who shot who!
Gary Phillips, creator and writer of this revived version of the Golden Age heroine is an author of a number of mystery stories, with a pulp element. As such, that style really works well in this type of story. Not having read the original works, I can only base my views on this version. The Shadow reference rings true, even if the powers used a tad different. Regarding the writing, the language tries hard to be the kind of language you’d expect from the mob, but the creation of their own swear words kind of dilutes the image, although this is countered by its murderous intent.
Art is supplied by Marcelo Salazar and for the most part works well, suiting the look and feel the book. For the story to work, Lady S both in her previous and reincarnated life, has to look the part. She is a stripper, so there is a lot of flesh on show. There is an odd habit throughout. Lady S and her friends, facially, are drawn pretty much straight. What I mean is that the style is what you would probably expect from a mainstream book. The bad guys however tend to look more cartoony. This may be on purpose to build on the pulp feel, or looking at Salazar’s other work, it could just be his style. In my mind, I think it’s a little bit of both. Either way, it is distracting.
The book is gratuitous in both violence, flesh and the intention. As such it is a difficult book to review. If I say I like it, I run the risk of sounding like a misogynist who thinks of women as potential sex objects, especially with the current women in comic discussions. If I say I don’t like I could be seen as bowing to pressure from fellow industry commentators which would detract from Comic Crusaders mission to give truthful reviews and opinions.
I am of an age that doesn’t allow my views of women, I am a big believer in equality, to be negatively impacted by a comic book. I liked the book, whether it is The Shadow vibe, the pulp feel or even the, probably not intended, Barry Manilow element, it works. There is enough going on, with the right amount of style to warrant looking up future issues.