Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spoiler-Free Comic Book Review: The Shadow 1

The Shadow #1 (2012)
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Garth Ennis
Penciller: Aaron Campbell
Reviewed by: Steven Leitman of Reading with a Flight Ring

I will be completely honest I wasn’t expecting to pick this up.  Yes it is another revival from Dynamite and yes Garth Ennis is writing this, for now at least.  I wondered what could they do to make this book relevant to today’s readers and just well “grab you by the balls and not let go.”  Instead they didn’t even try to update this book instead it is still set in a pre World War Two America.  This I absolutely LOVE people finally it is just Garth saying hey I love this character I’m not gonna make some rubbish move to change it, update it or mess with I’m just going to do my darndest by it. 

If issue one is any indication then for as long as doing the book this way I’m totally on board. 

Lamont Cranston is a self assured, confident, charismatic, self centered and aloof son of a bitch and it suits him to a T.  His knowledge is his alone and how comes to it is his business no one else’s and if they decide to act upon his words or advice is their choice and he is not going to be pressed about it.  There is fine line when arrogance turns a man into a bastard and you see that Ennis has him flirting with this line but he doesn’t go over it.  Just inches ever so closer and possibly leans over but doesn’t really cross that line.  Truly an impressive first outing here with such a highly established character.

The fact that much of his knowledge he claims comes from a misspent youth is a delightful way to divert telling the truth of his flashes of prophetic visions.  His friends and business associates, of the sort that they are, don’t know his dual identity but his lover and closest allies do.  He is non-apologetically violent when necessary but gives the men in his way a chance to redeem themselves first.  So there is compassion before the violence whether they choose to take it is up to them and I also like this about him.

No gadgets other than his mind and what it can do to go along with his guns separate him from his contemporaries making something of the first vigilante super-hero out there.  It is nice to see that he is remembered and respected and this time around his revival seems to be in the most capable hands there are. 

The interior illustrations by Aaron Campbell with colours by Carlos Lopez really do the old school feel justice while keeping the look nice, sharp and stylish.  The result of the violent scenes aren’t turned into a gore fest though there is plenty of blood it is just a tad more tasteful. 

One issue down who knows how many more to go but I’ll say this Dynamite has done it again and I’m in for this creative teams run!

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