Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Matt Wagner
Art: Matt Wagner
Release Date: 1st June 2016
What do you expect from The Shadow stories? Retro 30s detective work? The power to cloud men’s minds? The Shadow becoming almost invisible? Yep, this book has all of these hallmarks and more.
Next question: what do you expect from Matt Wagner stories? Would you expect them to be tightly scripted? Should they be true to the source material? How about enjoyable? Intelligent? Well, this book has all of these hallmarks too.
The Shadow made his first appearance in print back in the 1930s, the heady heyday of pulp, hard-boiled detective novels and beginning of noire (Check out 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932) and Private Detective 62 (1933) if you think noire started in the 40s). The Shadow can also claim to have laid the foundations for the superhero archetype. The name, the stylised imagery, super-villains, sidekicks, and secret identities. So there is a lot of history and baggage to cart about when bring this particular hero to our attention. Fortunately, Wagner does it with simple panache.
He has written this first issue with a deft feel for the source material, but in a way that doesn’t alienate a modern audience, which could have proven quite difficult to pull off. It’s not a story that will tax your grey cells, but it’s not really meant to. What it will do, however, is leave you wanting the next issue.
Wagner’s art is just right and has a strong 30s aesthetic. A perfect fit for the story, it’s truly dynamic with a lovely sense of style.
If you like fast-paced nostalgic stories with an eye for authentic detail, this is all but guaranteed hit the mark. If you are a fan of the Shadow this won’t let you down and if you’re a fan of Matt Wagner, this is yet another solid entry on his résumé.
The writer of this piece was: John Wallace
John Tweets from @jmwdaredevil