Friday, May 18, 2012

Undercover Review: The Shadow

Review by Nick Ahlhelm

Even with new abilities, Dynamite’s Shadow stays true to his origins

From the beginning of the first issue, the creative team of Garth Ennis and Aaron Campbell make it well-known that their new take on The Shadow isn’t for everyone. This Shadow seems to have a clearer cut enemy than just the common criminal. His enemy is Imperial Japan, though how exactly that ties in to Lamont Cranston’s history has yet to be revealed.

Still, the most troubling change for old school readers is almost certainly the Dynamite Shadow’s new power. Every fan is award that the Shadow “knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men”, but this Shadow literally knows. Lamont Cranston can see people’s futures, a power he regularly uses in his quest to stop his enemies.
The book opens with a gunfight between the Shadow and a group of armed men. With twin guns blazing, he makes short work of them and gives the reader a few ideas what they can expect from this take.

The remaining pages are spent on setting up the plot of the ongoing story, meeting Margo Lane and explaining the Shadow’s new ability. It gets a little wordy but Ennis uses the mystery of the new power to drive the tale forward and set up the big happenings that come in to play with issue two.

I guarantee a lot of people will hate this book. I can’t say that I am one of them. While Ennis makes changes to the character, he seems to understand the Shadow’s core: a dark man drawn to do darker things to those who would do evil. The enemies may be more focused, the method may be a little more super-powered, but every word out of Lamont’s mouth could easily be spoken by Orson Welles on the classic radio-play.

The Shadow #1 will see a second printing hit comic shops very soon. In the mean time, Comixology offers the issue at half the cover price, only $1.99.

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