The Shadow #1
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Si Spurrier & Dan Waters
Artist: Daniel HDR
Colors: Natalia Marques
Letters: Simon Bowland
Review by PeteR
A young woman, one month away from being a licensed doctor, is working in the burn ward at a hospital. Her patient is completely scorched, covered head to toe by blistered and charred skin. The doctor proceeds to regale her patient with an experience she had ten years ago. The Shadow saved her from a couple of kids shooting up her school in a Columbine, mass murder spree. He dispatches the two, while providing them with a very credible yet brutal psychological explanation of why they are so morally lost.
The doctor explains to her patient that this was the last known time the Shadow was seen publically. The burned patient has no memory of who he is or how he arrived at the hospital. What has prompted the doctor to distract her patient with this particular memory? Who is the flambéed man in the bead and where has the Shadow been for the last ten years?
The writers of Dynamites new The Shadow series, British author, Si Spurruer (Crossed, X-Force, Six Gun Gorilla) and Batman Returns screenwriter, Dan Waters leave the reader with a number of mysteries to unravel. The writing in The Shadow #1 pulls off an interesting literary trick. Most of the comic is a woman telling the story from a hospital room, but the writers are able to intersperse the talking heads aspects of the story with more than enough action to propel it forward and leave a beguiling cliffhanger while injecting a proficient amount of mayhem.
Brazilian artist, Daniel HDR of Cyborg, Lady Death and Smallville fame, is an interesting choice for The Shadow #1. I, personally am not a fan of Lady Death and I loathed Crossed. Much as I am a huge fan of the Shadow, I was not enthused when I saw who they chose for the artwork. I am pleased to state that my concerns were unfounded. Daniel HDR’s art has jumped to a new level of professionalism. Since a great deal of the story is seen through the eyes of the burn patient, there are not a lot of opportunities for creative angles in the panels, but hopefully that will change as the perspective forming the events alters.
Natalia Marques’s coloring of The Shadow #1 is subtle. I was impressed by her use of smoke effects on the page. The reader can smell both, the burned cordite from the Shadow’s weapons as well as the stench of toasted skin wafting off the hospital patient. Ms. Marques is also the artist for Dynamite’s latest Justice Inc. The Avenger series, so she is two for two in my “win” category.
The lettering for The Shadow #1 is provided by Simon Bowland. Bowland has worked for Marvel, 2000 AD and Dynamite. He is credited with doing the calligraphy for over 1,800 different comics.
Why you should buy this book? The Shadow has been around for eighty years. Having The Shadow #1 being told from the point of view of a twenty something Latina doctor bring a different perspective to the character. I have not been a fan of Dynamite’s efforts to modernize the Street & Smith pulp characters. That said, I am curious to see where this story is going and how it will be resolved. The Shadow #1 comes has five variant covers including one by Neal Adams.
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