Review: The Shadow #4

Healing, it seems is done in different ways.  For some, it’s a warm bed, comic books and cookies; for others it’s a soak in the bath whilst drinking a hot toddy.  For very few is it hanging out on a rooftop, looking over the inspiration that you have given to the world.

Yet it’s in the latter of locales do we find a scarfed, scarred, fedora wearing man and his nurse as they witness a crime to common.  Yet before the man “who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men” can react, there is another who would look to weed the garden of bitter fruit.  Still in all the confusion, it’s not long until the original is on the scene, guns blazing.  Retribution and blame lay squarely at the feet of the almost himself Shadow as we lean that even social injustice doesn’t escape his icy stare, even if his normal actions do not seem to help.

It feels that writers Si Spurrier and Dan Watters are taking baby steps when it comes to the pacing of this book.  Four issues in and it doesn’t feel like we have achieved that much.  At this stage, the story could go any number of ways; will The Shadow return to his all-seeing best? Will his nurse become the new Margo Lane or is another person destined to posses a laugh that is both eerie and haunting in its lilt.  Spurrier and Watters are certainly playing their cards close to their chest, whilst kind of making the point that this character may not be able to survive in the modern world.  What started out as an interesting aside has somehow degenerated into cycle of apply, rinse and repeat.  Another thing to consider; with the frequency that some books are hitting the racks, it gives the impression  that the regular monthly books stories lac a certain pace.  That of course is no fault of the writers, but it is something to consider when thinking how long it takes to tell an arc of on a book.

The art by Ricardo Jaime is a mixed bag of strong action pieces and staid almost flat set up panels.  First the good stuff; Jaime’s Shadow in the opening pages looks the part, as he does when he finally springs into action.  The first panel with the titular character is so good, that it actually make the poor image of his companion even worse comparison.  That may seem harsh, but you don’t want the first panel out of the gate to include an out of perspective character in a pose that seems poorly conceived.  Take a look at positioning of the hips and their relationship with the characters legs, for example – the liens don’t flow quite right.  Unfortunately, this is a bit of problem any time that a  character not in a hat and coat turn up.  Better camera angles may help to alleviate this, especially with the amount of dialogue on show.  The colors are provided by Natalia Marques and is probably the best thing about the book.  Actually, it’s the second best thing, with the cover by Lee Weeks which shows who great an artist he is.  Remember, this is the same Lee Weeks who drew Batman vs Elmer Fudd a little while ago!

Dynamite’s retooling of some of their licenced characters has had some high points, Red Sonja for example, and some low points, Vampirella.  This fits firmly in the middle of the batch.  That, for me is kinda disappointing when I am such a Shadow fan.

Writing – 3 Stars
Art – 3 Stars
Colors – 3.5 Stars
Cover (Lee Weeks) – 5 Stars

Written by; Si Spurrier & Dan Watters
Art by; Ricardo Jaime
Colors by; Natalia Marques
Covers by; Lee Weeks, Kelley Jones and Tom Mandrake
Published by; Dynamite Entertainment

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