The second book of this five issue run, sees the title come to fruition. Or at least appears too. As you would expect from a Shadow story, we only see what we want to see. In fact, we only see what Matt Wagner wants us to see.
This issue is a tightly woven comic, covering a relatively short space of time. The Shadow on the trail of the Red Empress, finds himself trapped in a cell, surrounded by enough dynamite to start Chinese New Year. Still, this is The Shadow and despite the lack of Tulka tricks, an escape is at hand despite Margo’s best intentions.
Matt Wagner writes an engaging book. First of all, there is the pacing of the book which is a taut and tense helping to drive the feeling that something is going to go wrong. Then there is the dialogue. Villains and bad guys who are too chatty are a bit of comic book cliché, however Wagner peppers their monologue with a lot of Shadow knowledge to please the long time fan. Finally, there is the part-time voice of the book, belonging to Margo herself which shows some of the reasons for her commitment to Lamont and his cloaked alter ego.
Wagner also provides the art work which as you would expect is stellar throughout. Wagner catches the pulpy style of The Shadow extremely well. True, there is a cartoony element to some of the secondary character which give said characters an element of caricature. Ironically, this works well enough, especially with the self congratulating hoodlums in the first act of this story. Whilst Wagner is good, Brennan Wagner is better. Brennan applies a certain hue to the pages which gives the book a 1930’s vibe which adds to whole affair.
The book’s title pretty much gives the game away to some extent. Story wise, there are enough hints that all is not what is seems to give even the newest comic book reader a sense that there may be a switcheroo in the very near future. Still, when the book reads this well and looks this good, you just sit back and enjoy taxi ride.
Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars