Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Shadow/Green Hornet: Dark Nights

 I said in an earlier review that I had yet to read a good GREEN HORNET story.

 The streak continues.

 I enjoyed writer Michael Uslan's autobiography THE BOY WHO LOVED BATMAN, as well as his ARCHIE MARRIES.... collection, so I was really looking forward to seeing him tackle THE SHADOW, who he mentions in his book as being an old favorite. I'm going to be hard on this book, but it's difficult to place too much of the blame on Uslan...I've always said that I'd rather read a well-written comic with bad art than a beautiful book with a terrible story. The art on THE SHADOW/GREEN HORNET: DARK NIGHTS, by Keith Burns, is so terrible that it ruined what might have otherwise been an entertaining read.

 Uslan's plot and dialogue are nothing to write home about, to be sure: The Shadow and The Green Hornet are drawn together in their civilian guises by F.D.R., to help him raise money to fight Polio. The two soon become embroiled in a plot by Shiwan Khan to destroy the burgeoning military/industrial complex, which will make it impossible for the United States to enter the war against Germany and Japan. Uslan peppers the story with interesting name-drops and historical tidbits (It's clear that Uslan is a history buff.), but the art....wow. Honestly, I'm thinking about submitting samples to Dynamite, because I'm almost certain that they'd hire me, and I can't draw worth a damn. Every character looks the same, the figures are stunted and ugly, the action is unintelligible, and the book is just plain sloppy. Dynamite already has a reputation for bad art, but this book takes the cake. Maybe if they didn't spend so much on those Alex Ross covers, they could afford to have an attractive interior artist.

 I was also somewhat puzzled by the thinly-veiled lesbian affair between Casey and Margo, female accomplices of The Green Hornet and The Shadow, respectively. What purpose, exactly, did that serve...? It was a weird choice for a subplot, and it never went anywhere. Maybe my lack of Hornet/Shadow minutiae led me to miss something, but I just didn't see the point.

 There's little here to recommend, unfortunately.....Uslan contributes historical footnotes at the end of the book, which were interesting, and there's some nice cover art included, by Alex Ross, John Cassady, and Chris Eliopolis, but otherwise, this was a real chore to read.

 Dynamite Comics provided a review copy.