Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Shadow, Year One

"Crime is a toxic weed...its bitter fruit yields only sorrow and death."

So, Dynamite Comics has a reputation for putting out some very nice comic titles. It's well earned and they're proving that again with the The Shadow Year One. I have to be honest, I stared at the cover for the first issue with a certain amount of trepidation. I mean, come one, people, we're talking the Shadow here. Lamont Cranston, one of the coolest of the pulp era heroes. I was a little doubtful. My mistake.
First it's Matt Wagner writing You might remember him best as the gentleman who created the comic book character Grendel. He has a place in my heart as the gentleman who did one of the most unusual and disturbing takes on Jack Kirby's creation for DC Comics, The Demon. But that's neither here nor there, The thing is, the man knows how to write. I had allowed myself to forget that fact. Shame on me.   Wagner nails it, in my mumble opinion. He gets the era right, the mood right and the characters right. I am truly enjoying his take on the Shadow. The artwork by Wilfredo Torres perfectly suits the mood for the story, not surprising as the man is just plain talented.

Here's the thing that really had me leery: This is a Year One project and for me those sometimes work beautifully and sometimes fall flat on their faces. Batman: Year One was a thing of beauty, but there have been other attempts that didn't work quite as well for me (no names shall be mentioned, to protect the innocent). Instead of disappointing, I have been delighted. Only two issues into the eight issue run and Wagner and Torres have hooked me. At least half the time I read a first issue and Like it and then read a second issue and start getting skeptical. That has not been the case this time around. Issue one reads as a lovely introduction to the world of The Shadow.  The pacing is perfect, the slow build of suspense and the equally slow reveal of the story all fits perfectly with the Shadow's style. There is a delicious sense of mystery to the story, even for someone who knows all the secrets of the Shadow. That's a lovely thing in my eyes.

Just a quick note of appreciation from a fan. It's nice to see someone doing justice to one of the pulp heroes. As is often the case, several artists work on different covers. I have to say, I have yet to see a cover I didn't appreciate.

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