Since discovering The Shadow through cassette tapes back in the ’70’s, I’ve considered myself a moderate Shadow fan. I bought some of the old pulps to read more, and really enjoyed that dark, but positive atmosphere of this do-gooder. The art in this graphic novel captures the tone of those old Shadow stories quite well.
This book is mostly set in the 1930s, during the Spanish Civil War. Lamont Cranston (aka The Shadow) poses as a potential funder of arms to the various powers-that-be, but The Shadow has plans to infiltrate and dispose justice.
It’s an interesting story, and author Victor Gischler does a nice job of keeping some mystery about this man. But not enough…! I recognize that there is sometimes a need or desire to, shall we say, ‘humanize,’ or at least keep human, a figure with special powers (The Shadow has mystic powers that allows him to cloud men’s mind, and to see in to their hearts). But when every masked, hooded, or in some way cloaked figure gets ‘outed’ so easily by a dame, it cheapens, more than humanizes, the hero.
I also happen to have a personal dislike for a particular modern colloquialism … but when I read a story, set in the ’30’s, and a character, after accidently bumping in to another character says, “My bad,” I cringe, shake my head, and am completely removed from the setting and mood that was established. There’s just no reason for this.
But these are relatively minor points to what is otherwise and engaging, solid set of stories in this book, mostly faithful to the mood of the early pulps and radio stories.
The art by Aaron Campbell, Jr. and Jackson Herbert is solid and fitting to the era and the story.
I really enjoyed this, surprising myself a little by liking it as much as I did (though I don’t know why I should have been surprised), and will likely pick up another issue at some point.
Looking for a good book? This graphic novel of a pulp-era hero is right on target and will bring back memories for those already familiar with The Shadow.
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The Shadow Volume 2: Revolution
author: Victor Gischler
artists: Aaron Campbell, Jr. and Jackson Herbert
publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
paperback, 156 pages