Review by: kingdomofevan

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Avg Rating: 4.0
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Story by Garth Ennis
Art by Aaron Campbell
Cover by Alex Ross, Howard Chaykin, John Cassaday, & Jae Lee

Size: 0 pages
Price: 3.99

I grew up loving, absolutely loving, Russell Mulcahy’s The Shadow in 1994. I hummed the opening-credits theme under my breath, memorized large chunks of the dialogue by heart and always knew the answer to the question: “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” But the movie itself never really answers that question. It’s light, campy fare with a cliched villain and no sense of Lamont Cranston’s propensity for violence.

Garth Ennis gives me what I’ve missed all my life. This is a dark Shadow. Whereas Alec Baldwin was content to terrify the bad guys, this one terrifies them and then shoots them in the head — giving us a lot of the requisite Garth Ennis blood spray, eyes popping out of heads and so forth. Ennis juxtaposes this with graphic scenes of wartime atrocities in China, and plays with the idea that Cranston sees himself as a butcher too, albeit a butcher in the service of a good cause. This is a world-weary Shadow who uses people, and knows that he uses people — including Margo Lane, whom he talks to more like a servant than a love interest.

The art does ample service to the book’s noir tone. Aaron Campbell’s style is tidier here than it was on Green Hornet: Year One — another Dynamite title set in the 1930s that featured Japanese war crimes in China, which is apparently Campbell’s wheelhouse now — but the layouts are a lot more ambitious, and the pacing superb. The colouring job does a real disservice to the art, though; lots of digital glow effects, and also a weird page (16) where a redheaded character in a green suit gets one panel where he’s coloured the same as Cranston, who has a blue suit and dark hair. It’s a glaring mistake, but I’m not going to let one panel ruin the issue for me.

Story: 3 - Good
Art: 5 - Excellent


  1. Dang; that should be a 5 for story and a 3 for art. Mea maxima culpa.

  2. Really good review. Color mistake WAS glaring. Also agree that colors made the art murky. I thought the story was very classic – which is good and bad. I’m in for the next issue, but I think story and art need to more to keep me inboard long term.

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