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Posted by: Ken Porter

Review: The Shadow #1

Writer: 
Garth Ennis
Art: 
Aaron Campbell
Colors: 
Carlos Lopez
Letterer: 
Rob Steen
Cover: 
Alex Ross, Howard Chaykin, John Cassaday, Jae Lee
Publisher: 
Dynamite Entertainment
Price: 
$3.99
Release Date: 
April 18th, 2012

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Arguably one of the greatest pulp characters in popular culture, The Shadow makes his return to comics with Dynamite Entertainment’s new issue of The Shadow #1. In this first part of the “Fire of Creation” arc, we get a glimpse of The Shadow’s nightlife, social life, and relationship with Margo Lane, his current love interest. There’s action, crime, suspense, and plenty of intrigue in this new take by writer Garth Ennis.

Ennis writes this issue in a style that both celebrates and modernizes the pulp genre. All of the pulp crime story elements are present in the book, but it never tries to mock or bring attention to them. If anything it celebrates the genre and utilizes it on the comic book page as an exciting way to tell a story. After only one issue I completely understand the character of Lamont Cranston and the unique abilities he holds as The Shadow. There’s a confidence in Cranston’s speech and posture that says he’s comfortable in the role he’s taken, but knows that it’s also a huge burden to bear.

Aaron Campbell’s art lends itself well to the story, time period (1940’s), and genre. There’s a nice mix of modern and classic comic book style that makes it feel like a dime store novel come to life. The panel layouts are well paced, and not once did I find myself wandering or wishing the story would hurry up. There’s a considerable amount of talking in this issue and it still comes off as compelling. That’s a huge accomplishment for any artist and it should be celebrated in this example of sequential storytelling.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the old pulp heroes. If this book is any indication of what Dynamite is going to be bringing to the table in terms of The Spider, then I’m completely on board for both titles. Ennis and Campbell are a great team and this book is worth its weight amongst the new releases this week. Fans of The Shadow rejoice, this book is a solid 4.5/5.

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