Comic Book Review: The Shadow (Vol. 3) #1
If there’s one book I can always recommend someone read from Dynamite, I would always say The Shadow. When Dynamite was reinventing these characters and what not, I would say it was The Shadow that got me to first notice them and what else they had to offer. A pulp hero who practically had a hand in influencing the creation of popular heroes like Batman. I may not be the biggest Batman reader, but this guy has always been the best alternative.
What I like most about current Shadow stories is that they are taking more risk to set him outside of his time period. A hero like The Shadow thrives in those times, but modern times is like stepping into a new world. I’m pretty sure that by now any and all possible stories have been done with him unless you were bold enough to try to retell them. But then you might lose older readers who appreciated the value of what came before. So setting The Shadow in modern Manhattan felt like the smart move to make for a fresh story. Especially when taking this story from the perspective of those who have been saved by The Shadow in the past. They could have chosen anyone, but from the very start I felt drawn in to Mary Jerez. She looks like someone who made something of her life which means she has a story to tell about why that is.
Mary’s story said to say was brutal to follow. If you’ve read The Shadow before, then you pretty much know what you are in store for. Not the typical kind of situations where someone is mugged or committing a petty crime. He’s not the kind of hero to answer that call, and certainly not the guy who will give you a slap on the wrist. Ask yourself what Batman would do, and that is the opposite of what you would get with The Shadow. And he doesn’t care, why would he? The message from his actions was justice and there being no grey area. In terms of the structure to the story, the approach to how she told it was cool. The way they transitioned between what happened then, and then going back to what she is currently doing while telling the story. If you are a new reader, I do think you got the idea of who The Shadow is. An experience like Mary’s is all you might need to understand what separates a hero like him from many others. Like Mary said herself, it is only really what he does that you need to know. The details of his true identity and what not can come with time.
What happens in the present also left you anxious for answers. You could see that she was treating someone badly hurt, but the real question was what happened to this person to end up where he is. It could have been an unfortunate incident, or it could have been a run-in with The Shadow himself as punishment for whatever he did. As they tease about this issue, the guy could just as well be The Shadow which would be a shocker. The truth is unclear and that may have been the best way to leave us for this first issue. That is how you get people interested in what the following issues have in store for us.
Daniel HDR and Natalia Marques make for a fitting art team. I’ve seen a lot of style for Shadow books, and each one manages to stand out for being distinctive. There is a house style of artwork that a fair number of pulp stories share. This one has a pulp style, but only really when addressing Mary’s encounter with The Shadow. The colors definitely did the trick there with the pale overshadow and focusing of blacks and reds. The effect of The Shadow in general created that atmosphere as well. You want to set the mood that sends chills to his enemies and that is exactly what they did. As for Mary, I like the way she carries herself as someone who survived that experience. Having that look of a tough exterior, while still holding some sort of grudge that someone would actually put her in a situation to need saving. She could say anything and we could hang on her words, but it was her body language that sold you on the story she was telling. Every change of expression made a difference, even when handling this person she’s treating. The colors for that part were normal, and that was the best indicator that we are in modern times. It would have sent the wrong message if they made this too dark or lacking of color.
It should also be mentioned that the last page was perfect for the hidden tease that this man may be The Shadow, the message was quite literal.
It feels good to have another Shadow book in my pull-list again. The Shadow (Vol. 3) #1 was a great start full of intrigue and mystery. Mary Jerez is a solid main character who we get to know pretty organically and it does wonders having someone who knows him in present day. Moving a character to modern times means all-new, but familiar, even just to The Shadow is preferred.