Monday, September 8, 2014


I bought this one at Half Price Books on Saturday and read it in one sitting later that afternoon. Gotta admit, I've got mixed feelings about THE SHADOW VOLUME 2: REVOLUTION.

Let's start with the good stuff. Cover art by Alex Ross is always a plus. How many covers has he done for Dynamite over the last few years? Glad to see they're keeping him busy as he is, in my opinion, the best comic book cover artist currently working.

The folks at Dynamite are smart enough to recognize that The Shadow works best when the material is kept as a period piece. The Shadow belongs to the '30s & '40s, not the 21st century. So, kudos there for the '30s setting.

Now comes the not so good. For some reason, it's been decided that the "power to cloud men's minds" that The Shadow employed on the radio program of the same name is an actual, bonafide super power of some sort. It's also a power that The Shadow is capable of losing. I don't like this. Clouding men's minds worked well on the radio, a medium in which the listener's imagination had to fill in the gaps and make the stories come fully alive. Here, The Shadow is like Obi Wan-Kenobi whispering "these aren't the droids you're looking for."

I'm beginning to think that it's an editorial mandate at Dynamite that the interior art in all of their comics be inferior to the cover art. In addition to the work of Alex Ross, this volume has a cover gallery of alternative and variant covers of the six issues reprinted within and the artwork on all of them is uniformly superior to the actual story art.

And we get a mixed bag of stories to boot. The title arc, "Revolution" is a four-parter in which The Shadow finds himself in the middle of the Spanish Civil War where he teams up with no less a historic personage than George Orwell to do battle against the insane El Rey and his vicious, female second-in-command, The Black Sparrow. The script is by Victor Gischler, with art by Aaron Campbell. The story is so-so and the art is serviceable if unspectacular and rather generic.

"Revolution" is book-ended by two done-in-one, stand alone stories, each of which are better than the longer main feature. The first story is again scripted by Victor Gischler with much better art by Jack Herbert. It's the best looking story in the whole package. The final story is another Gischler script with passable art by Giovanni Timpano.

I give this one a B. I love The Shadow and I'm always happy to read new material featuring the character. I love the fact that it retains the '30s milieu of the pulp classics. The covers are all nice but the stuff behind those covers could have been better.

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