Tag Archives: The Shadow

Freeze Frame 6/3/2016

From Hellboy In Hell #10 by Mike Mignola & Dave Stewart
From Hellboy In Hell #10 by Mike Mignola & Dave Stewart

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Tuesday Top Ten: The Best Detectives in Comics

Celebrating those whose analytic minds never fail to astound with astute observations, who track down clues, and give their all against the criminal underworld…
The Shadow #25 Alex Ross
 10. The Shadow:
 “Howard Chaykin, Bill Sienkiewicz, Garth Ennis, Denny O’Neil, Kyle Baker, Matt Wagner; these are just a handful of names that have taken on evergreen crusader in modern comics. A fixture in the pulp magazines of the early 20th century and an influence of Batman, The Shadow has found a second life in ongoing comics within it’s modern age. Sometimes elegant, sometimes brutal and often both, comics creators continue to create new and intriguing mysteries for the Shadow to take on in exploring the depths of evil that lurks in the hearts of men.”

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A Black Hat Review Adventure (Part Three) – The Shadow One Shot 2014: Agents of the Shadow

Shadow 2014 One Shot

(NOTE: This is the third part of a review pulp novel.  You can read the first part here and the second part here.) 

BH3Chapter 7:  Winded

The impact of hitting the wall had knocked the breath out of the Black Hat.  He felt dizzy and struggled to get up from the hard pavement.  He was relieved to find his hat and pistols nearby, and quickly reclaimed them.

“Tonight the city will lose its champion,” screeched the Astrologer.  “I have seen it in the stars!”

With a snap of his fingers, the Astrologer directed his robot to dispatch the Black Hat.  The robot moved in for the kill.  The Black Hat fired his .45 pistols at the oncoming monster.

The Black Hat took deep breaths and made deadly shots.  He remembered his martial arts training in the lost Tibetan city of Mahananagar. He remembered lovely, innocent Joyce, and how happy he was before he lost her in the Great War.

And he remembered reading The Shadow One Shot 2014:  Agents of the Shadow.

Chapter 8:  Thinking about The Shadow One Shot 2014: Agents of the Shadow

The comic is written by Michael Moreci, with illustrations by the team of Anthony Marques, Moritat, and Dev MadanAndre Szymanowicz provides colors.  In the story, a new, unknown criminal leader has taken control of the city’s gangs.  The Shadow attempts to stop the villain, but is apparently killed in an explosion.  The Shadow’s agents, who have previously depended on their leader to deliver justice, are forced to work on their own to bring down the mysterious villain.

Readers unfamiliar with the Shadow’s pulp adventures might be slightly confused about the identities and roles of the various characters like Margo Lane and Shrevvy, but Moreci’s story educates new readers quickly and delivers an exciting adventure.

The art team is fantastic.  Marques, Moritat, Madan, and Szymanowicz render the pulp world of the Shadow in a slightly cartoonish style that nicely establishes the characters, period, and action of the story.  The art for The Shadow One Shot 2014:  Agents of the Shadow is beautiful to look at, and the story is highly entertaining.

Chapter 9: Coup de Grâce

The Black Hat’s shots had their effect.  Dark fluid poured forth from the robot, and the robot’s motions became awkward.  The robot soon stopped moving.

The Astrologer screamed in anger and ran toward his automaton, cursing as he pulled out wires and transistors from his creation.  The Black Hat moved closer to confront the villain, but a sudden explosion knocked him off his feet.

Getting up from the pavement, he could smell the burning metal of the robot and feel the intense heat from the fire in front of him.  At his feet was a singed hat that presumably belonged to the Astrologer, but there was no sign of his foe.  The Black Hat could see no body, and was unsure whether his enemy had been killed in the explosion, but for the sake of his city he hoped that the Astrologer was indeed dead.

The Black Hat heard the sound of approaching police sirens, and knew that he must head back to the mansion.  Azu would have healing herbs ready for him.  And a big stack of comics.

The End

Review of Grendel vs The Shadow #1

Grendel vs The Shadow 1
Matt Wagner

Grendel vs The Shadow #1 by Matt Wagner

This week, Matt Wagner merges the past and present of his career in one book. First he returns to his signature creation, Grendel. Since his debut in 1983, Grendel has assumed many identities, yet, the most recognizable remains the original: Hunter Rose. More recently, Wagner has been working on some of Dynamite’s pulp titles (his Zorro series in particular is worth reading). Last year, saw the launch of his Shadow: Year One title. Thus, Wagner comes to this book possessing a familiarity with both characters.

Wagner skips through the set up fairly quickly. Rose is a rich, successful author, who also pursues a secret life of crime. When we first meet him, he is hearing out two treasure hunters who have uncovered a rare mystical object. After the men have departed, Rose inadvertently unleashes the object’s powers, transporting him back in time to the early 1930s. After a brief moment of initial shock, Rose, adjusts fairly easily to his new circumstances. This change of eras does not frightened him; in fact it invigorates him. At the end of the day, the Grendel identity is not about gaining new wealth, but the thrill that comes with criminal activity—the sport of it, if you will. Soon, Grendel is leaping from rooftops embracing the challenge of conquering a whole new era.

This almost gleeful exuberance is a fitting contrast to the somber, single-minded nature of The Shadow. Lamont Cranston is a humorless shell of an individual, existing only as much as is necessary for furthering the anti-crime campaign of The Shadow. The Shadow is driven by a sense of duty, which trumps all other concerns. His primary method is the use of force to overpower the enemy. For his part, Grendel shares The Shadow’s brutality, yet at the same time, often displays a certain elegance. They are both ruthless individuals with very different outlooks on life.

As is to be expected, Wagner’s art is stellar throughout. His page layouts are stylish, while his action sequences are dynamic. Taken as a whole, this series is off to an exciting start.

Cheers.

Review of Justice, Inc. #1

Justice Inc 1

Dynamite Comics’ Justice, Inc. miniseries brings together three pulp icons for the first time – The Shadow, a merciless vigilante with a chilling laugh and a network of agents; Doc Savage, a genius scientist, physical paragon, and champion of the oppressed; and The Avenger, whose malleable facial features make him a master of disguise and a scourge of criminals!  Or at least, the comic promises that these pulp heroes will be brought together; in the first issue, millionaire businessman Richard Benson has not yet suffered the family tragedy that will turn him into The Avenger.

But let’s back up for a second – Justice, Inc. is also a time travel adventure.  In the present, an older Doc Savage conducts a time travel experiment that opens a worm hole to the year 1939.  Unfortunately, a modern-day passenger jet is transported to that time period, and Doc Savage has to rescue the passengers.  In 1939, a younger Doc Savage is discussing the dangers of atomic weapons with Albert Einstein and H.G. Wells; The Shadow is curious about the future aircraft that has landed in New York City; Richard Benson’s family is about to suffer a tragic event; the older Doc Savage is working with Howard Hughes to help get the jet passengers back to the future; and some supervillains have their sights on the mysterious aircraft.

Writer Michael Uslan and artist Giovanni Timpano (with assistance from colorist Marco Lesko) have produced an intriguing first issue that is accessible to both new readers and veteran pulp fans.  The most intense scenes in the comic involve Richard Benson (the future Avenger), as Uslan’s script and Timpano’s art make Benson and his family immediately likeable; the first issue foreshadows Benson’s looming tragedy.

The only offbeat note in the comic concerns Doc Savage.  Uslan’s dialogue and plot make Doc seem arrogant and reckless as he ignores the advice of his staff and proceeds with his time travel experiment.  However, once human lives are in danger, Doc springs into action and is a much more familiar and likeable character.  Other than that brief, out-of-character narrative defect, the first issue is very entertaining.

Review of The Shadow Over Innsmouth

feb141204Dynamite Entertainment’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth puts Lamont Cranston (AKA the pulp avenger The Shadow) and his companion Margo Lane in the strange community of Innsmouth, which should be a familiar locale to fans of horror writer H. P. Lovecraft.  Cranston and Lane are stranded in the town due to a thick fog, and it’s not long before The Shadow is confronted by some strange creatures that may have been spawned by dark, ancient gods.

Writer Ron Marz crafts an eerie, entertaining adventure story that allows The Shadow to take on the horrible creatures of Cthulu fantasy.  Artist Ivan Rodriguez conjures the action, the supernatural monstrosities, and the human moments that the story demands.  The comic has some great “Easter egg” surprises for Lovecraft fans, although it is accessible to both new and veteran readers, so put away your copy of the Necronomicon and check this comic out.

 

Review of The Shadow #0

Shadow 0 Gabriel Hardman

Dynamite Entertainment’s The Shadow #0 takes a look at the titular character’s past; the comic’s story spans two decades as Lamont Cranston trains in the 1920s with renowned magician and escape artist Harry Houdini, while in the 1930s Cranston – in his identity as the fearsome avenger The Shadow – attempts to rescue the now-deceased Houdini’s widow from a group of criminal magicians who want to learn whether Houdini’s spirit has escaped the afterlife to reveal a secret to the living.

Writer Cullen Bunn’s script deftly exploits the Houdini mystique to create a riveting tale of mystery, mysticism, and the preciousness – as well as danger – of secrets.  Artist Colton Worley – with a rich, dark palette provided by colorist Marc Rueda – captures all the action the story demands, as a younger Cranston is rigorously trained in the dangerous art of escape by Houdini, and The Shadow fights an evil gang of skilled magicians.  Also, there are a few “Easter eggs” throughout the comic that should be amusing to pulp and comic strip fans.

The Shadow #0 is an accessible, action-packed comic that gives readers a look at The Shadow’s past, and should be entertaining to new and veteran readers.

Review of The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow #1

Shadow MidnightIn 1986, Howard Chaykin’s The Shadow (originally published by DC Comics, and reprinted by Dynamite Entertainment in a nice trade paperback) brought classic pulp hero The Shadow into the modern world, exploring the hero’s origins, updating his methods, and proving that The Shadow remained an interesting character for modern audiences.  Chaykin returns to the character this week with Dynamite’s The Shadow:  Midnight in Moscow.

In the 1980s, Chaykin’s The Shadow was an exploration of a long-absent hero returning to a modern world that was just as dangerous (if not more so) as it was in the past; in Midnight in Moscow, Chaykin looks at The Shadow in his original pulp time period, beginning the story in the last days of 1949, on the eve of a new decade.  The Shadow and his agents are tired after decades of fighting evil, and The Shadow is considering retiring.  But Chaykin isn’t letting him off the hook that easy; there is one more mystery to be solved, a mystery that seems to be international in scope and threat.

Chaykin’s is a master artist, and he excels at capturing the details of a bygone time and rendering beautiful women.  Colorist Jesus Aburto uses a palate of stark colors that are eye-catching and appropriate for the riveting story.  The first issue promises an exciting, intriguing series that will test a tired hero who wants to disappear and give up on his adventures, and the series will undoubtedly provide much entertainment for its readers.