In Review: The Shadow #16
The covers: You’re caught between a rock and a hard place in trying to decide which of these covers to purchase. Alex Ross has the Shadow caught in the spotlight, surrounded by over a dozen police officers. Great drama! Tim Bradstreet has a stunner of a black, red and white Shadow leveling a gun against a white circular background. The composition is great, and look at the awesome skull overlay! I’ll say it again–Awesome! Jason Shawn Alexander has a deceptively simple head shot of our hero, but look at the back of his head and the figure at the bottom that completes his scarf. Really cool; it reminds me of a 1960′s paperback book cover. And in a surprise, Francesco Francavilla has Margo wearing a black mask and long gloves, with a strategically placed red scarf wrapped around her nude body. The two pistols she holds are smoking. The outline of the Shadow is behind her, bullet holes evident in its ebony. I’ve never seen Francavilla vamp a cover and I like it! Overall grades: Ross A+, Bradstreet A+, Alexander A, and Francavilla A
The story: The issue opens with a three page flashback giving a partial origin of the Light, who’s been plaguing the Shadow for the last few issues. This is not Zorro: Father Lucien fences with his young protégée, who he admits is a world-class fencer. The young woman expresses concerns of the outside world, that it has moved beyond “good” and “evil.” The holy man states that her strength she can recognize virture and vice. Transition is made to the present where Margo Lane gets a call that interrupts her shower. It’s the Shadow and he needs her to gather information on an individual. This is interesting, but things take a surprising turn that places Margo in peril and the Shadow in great need. Chris Roberson has written an exceptional story that anyone can jump into and fully enjoy. The first three pages provide good justification for this woman’s motivation, I like the conversation between Margo and the Shadow, showing she’s not just a pretty face, and the entrance on Page 8 is great! The dialogue that starts on 11 is super! This is a question I had, and I’m so glad Roberson addresses readers’ questions that should be answered. I’m also glad that the victim of this sequence was resourceful and smart, as acknowledged on Page 13. The splash on Page 16 had me laugh out loud: perfect, awesome and the dialogue great! I loved the venue from which the attack comes on Page 17 and, once again, the dialogue justification on 19 perfection! Roberson is crafting a classic conflict of opposites. Overall grade: A+
The art: Have you heard of Giovanni Timpano? No? Well, then you better get to know him because he’s going to brought up, a lot, so you better check out his work now! The man has got some serious skills. Look at the opening pages. It’s like looking at a classic black and white serial. When we’re in the “present” there’s some serious cheesecake going on, plus Margo’s face gives the perfect in emotion in panel four and the fifth panel is an even closer push in on her wonderful eyes. The Shadow is drawn with the perfect mix of darkness and details that can be seen. The entrance on 8 is great, as is the chase, and the street scene on 14 is perfect. But, hands down, Pages 16 and 17 are the images that have made the Shadow continue into the 21st century. It’s beautiful and awesome. Overall grade: A+
The colors: A good match for Timpano is Fabricio Guerra. He makes the flashback appropriately dated, he puts the moisture on Margo’s chest, and gives the perfect shine to the Light. Page 7 shows an excellent use of colors between the settings. Guerra is also awesome. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Some super sound effects that start on Page 7 and run through the rest of the book, plus solid dialogue from Rob Steen. Overall grade: A
The final line: This is a gift from every creator on this book. It’s fun, smart, thrilling, and gorgeous. Come into the light or stay in the shadows, it’s doesn’t matter–Just get a copy of this book! Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s 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.