Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Shadow, Volume Three: The Light of The World

 In which our intrepid reviewer attempts to review the third volume in a series without having read the first two....

(I own the first, Garth Ennis-penned volume, but can't seem to find it amidst my 20 gigantic stacks of unread comics, one of which will someday fall on me and claim my life. I totally passed on the second, Victor Gischler-penned volume, because nothing he does interests me in the slightest. That said, nothing Chris Roberson, writer of the volume currently under discussion, has ever done has interested me in the slightest, or proven to be even slightly readable, so....I have no idea why I actually sat and read this book.)

 But....It's not a bad book. Roberson makes this a completely stand-alone volume. I have a perfunctory knowledge of The Shadow, mainly gleaned from reading various issues of his many comic-book incarnations, and I am one of the two or three people on the face of the Earth that not only enjoy, but adore, the Alec Baldwin film from 1994. I consider it to be a masterpiece. Go ahead and laugh...I can take it!

 While Roberson doesn't go out of his way to introduce The Shadow, or any of the supporting cast, he does make it easy enough to figure out who everyone is and what purpose they serve. The plot is a noir-ish retelling of SE7EN, with a mysterious woman killing people who overindulge in alcohol, prostitutes, food, etc. (The female in question, who calls herself "The Light of The World" is very reminiscent of Dark Horse's GHOST character, at least visually. I don't know enough about the character to comment on any resemblance beyond that.)

 The art, provided by Giovanni Timpano, is extremely well-done. His characters are clean and his storytelling ability is fluid. I especially liked the way he blocked out the climactic battle....there was never a moment where I didn't know exactly what was happening, which is becoming a rarity in most comics these days. Most artists can't lay out a fight scene to save their lives.

 As usual, Dynamite provides a huge gallery of all covers and variants, by the likes of Alex Ross, Tim Bradstreet, Paolo Rivera, Francesco Francavilla, and Jason Shawn Alexander.

 Dynamite provided a review copy.