In Review: The Shadow: Year One #3
The covers: There are a multitude of Variants, but I’ll focus onthe primary four. The A cover is by Matt Wagner showing a breathtaking Margo Lane. She looks as if she could break your heart with just a glance. The B is by Alex Ross with Margo’s profile interupting the Shadow’s full on deadly stare. I’m scared! The C is by Chris Samnee with a stylized gun toting dark wraith atop some beams, looking down on his prey. Okay. The D is by Howard Chaykin. Saving the girl and blasting vengeance. Spectacular. I love the coloring, too! Overall grades: A A, B A, C B, and D A+
The story: Wow! You ain’t seen nothing yet in the previous two issues! The first thirteen pages are an amazing introduction to a crime lord and his goons who’ve taken someone they want to recruit. The reason for joining is made clear by the example of what happens to those that disappoint. Enter our hero in the most thrilling opening sequence I’ve seen for this character! There are so many quotable lines in these pages, fandom will go nuts! One of the best is, “Find that joker and chill his soup!” The recitation from the meek protagonist as the Shadow delivers justice is classic, as is the Shadow’s final three pages of dialogue on Page 13. The book then gives the origin of Margo, with fantastic give and take with Lamont. I love that Margo has no idea whom she’s messing with! The final three pages finally show us the true face of our villain, and he’s incredible…and we’d be better off if we hadn’t seen his face. Matt Wagner is the Shadow scribe! Overall grade: A+
The art: I am also immensely pleased with Wilfredo Torres’ work on this book. His settings are gorgeous, be they the lower East Side or the estate of Lamont Cranston. And his characters–Wow! I completely felt every agonizing moment that Fellows went through–the top of Page 7 being the most intense! Page 12 had me wondering if he was saved or damned–that’s an entrance! I also loved Lamont’s droll/knowing look on Page 15, which made Page 19 even more dramatic. And that last page–Ewwww! It’s cool, but Ewwww! Overall grade: A+
The colors: Brennan Wagner increased the terror in every panel! That butcher’s warehouse set the stage for red, and the top of Page 7 increased it! But when the darker red appears, in sinster laughter, it was terrifying! I also liked how calm and cool the colors were at Cranston’s place, until Page 19, and the “real” persona appeared. Overall grade: A+
The letters: I believed every blasting gunshot, every menacing laugh, and every bit of dialogue that Simon Bowland produced. Overall grade: A+
The final line: This book is the tether to which your enjoyment of comics is bound! Remember this bond! Get this book! Overall grade: A+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comics Buyers Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years, and only recently has been teaching 9th graders English. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.