The Shadow

Grendel vs. The Shadow #1

by Alan Rapp on September 11, 2014

in Comics

Grendel vs. The Shadow #1Finding himself sent back in time to 1930s New York after his encounter with an ancient artifact, Hunter Rose makes the best of the situation by using his well-honed skills and knowledge of the future to go about carving out a new empire in the name of Grendel during the waning days of prohibition.

Written and drawn by Mark Wagner, the comic begins in the black-and-white style of a Grendel comic before transporting the deadly Grendel into the past. Although The Shadow becomes aware of a new figure murdering his way through the various criminal families, the paths of the two characters do not intersect until the final page of the issue.

A fan of both Hunter Rose and The Shadow, the first issue of the three-issue mini-series is a joy to read. The double-sized prestige format makes the comic a little pricey, but it delivers in both story and style pitting my favorite of Wagner’s creations against a hero nearly as mysterious and deadly as Grendel himself. Best of the Week.

[Dark Horse / Dynamite, $5.99]

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The Shadow #0

by Alan Rapp on July 22, 2014

in Comics

The Shadow #0Although the timing of the one-shot seems odd with Howard Chaykin‘s mini-series (and that crappy current-day comic) being Dynamite’s only current titles involving The Shadow, The Shadow #0 offers us an one-shot at the opposite end of the spectrum of Chaykin’s tale be giving us a peek at the vigilante’s earlier days and his ties to an escape artist named Harry Houdini.

Although we get a brief flashback with Lamont Cranston training with the magician, the main focus of writer Cullen Bunn’s story involves Houdini’s competitors targeting the man’s wife after the magician’s death. Knowing what evil lurks in the hearts of men, and with a substantial debt to pay, The Shadow steps in to make things right.

Although the final interaction between The Shadow and the widow is a bit clunky, the use of a secret cabal of magicians as bad guys with all kinds of tricks up their sleeves is an intriguing idea that is left open-ended when the villains manage to allude the vigilante’s usual swift justice. Worth a look.

[Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99]

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The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow #2

by Alan Rapp on July 13, 2014

in Comics

The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow #2While teasing us with the wanderings around London of the two enemy spies who will eventually come into conflict with The Shadow, The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow #2 is mainly concerned with Lamont Cranston finishing affairs in New York and preparing for his impending departure to England.

The second issue sees The Shadow start a gang war to weed out the ranks of two opposing families making it easier for the police to deal with the remnants of both organizations after he’s gone. Stoically the vigilante never considers the increased casualties caused by such extreme actions. We also see the dismantlement of The Shadow’s network of spies before he and Margo Lane board a ship and leave New York behind.

The first two issues represent one-third of Howard Chaykin’s tale, the point of which (other than Cranston leaving New York) is still murky at best. The idea of an older Shadow’s adventure in London is interesting, but two issues in Chaykin hasn’t sold me on that story that’s already cost me $8. That’s a problem. Hit-and-Miss.

[Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99]

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The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow #1

by Alan Rapp on June 7, 2014

in Comics

The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow #1New Year’s Eve 1950 brings a new mystery for The Shadow in the first issue of Dynamite’s new six-issue mini-series from writer/artist Howard Chaykin. Returning to the character for the first time since DC’s ill-advised 80s mini-series, Chaykin delivers a story of Lamont Cranston in the later days of The Shadow’s career.

I’m a bigger fan of Chaykin’s writing than art and had some issues with the style of the female characters depicted, especially Margo Lane. On story, The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow #1 offers a beleaguered and weary Lamont Cranston a mystery involving an old enemy who impossibly survived The Shadow’s trap and the shrinking of gold ingots through some as-of-yet undisclosed technology.

Presenting a future where The Shadow’s work in New York has done little to stop the flow of crime, and even force Cranston to consider retirement, the first issue is a bit depressing while weaving into the blackmail of a London scientist who I’d expect we’ll see tied to the shrink-ray in the next issue. For fans.

[Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99]

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The Shadow #25

by Alan Rapp on May 24, 2014

in Comics

The Shadow #25The end of the Chinatown zombie storyline, and the current run of The Shadow, comes to a close with The Shadow #25. After witnessing more and more of New York City being overrun by an unstoppable zombie horde, The Shadow puts sets his mind to finding a plausible scientific reason behind recent bizarre events which will lead him to call on the assistance of his entire network of spies at once and face down the Zombie Queen of Chinatown.

After discovering the dastardly truth behind the mad woman’s plot, our hero puts his soldiers to work administering antidote to the mind-controlled horde only appearing to have died before rising and beginning their assault on the city. Dispensing swift justice, The Shadow closes his latest case making way for Dynamite’s new ten-issue series set more than a decade later in Lamont Cranston’s crime-fighting career taking The Shadow and Margo Lane to Russia at the beginning of the Cold War. Although short, this bizarre final arc ends the series on a strong note. I’m sorry to see it end. Worth a look.

[Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99]

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