Review - The Shadow Now #1

"This is not something usual, this laughing."

The Shadow is a rather historic character. He's got an aura about him that makes him easily recognizable to readers, but also makes him a terror to evil. That won't stop evil from continuing to advance its agenda though and Dynamite Entertainment has a look at that ongoing saga in The Shadow Now #1.

The issue is written by David Liss, illustrated by Colton Worley and lettered by Rob Steen.

Despite taking some personal time to improve himself, The Shadow quickly finds that things don't really change all that much. In fact, when Lamont Cranston III returns to New York and resume his old life, he finds that things aren't that easy, as new criminals have moved in and established themselves as explosive when it comes to crime. All that and the return of one of his most dangerous enemies prove that The Shadow will have to be on his game if he wants to fight off the evil. And survive.

Fans of the character of The Shadow know what they're getting, but others may not be so aware. Liss does a great job integrating Cranston's past with the present story, offering readers an engaging tale that successfully doubles as an origin story of sorts. That's not to say this is taking The Shadow back to the beginning; rather, it gives all readers the chance to understand the mythos of the character. Liss also allows the story to unfold naturally without forcing anything along, including the presentation of the new enemy and foreshadowing of his arrival early on in the book.

Worley's art is full of pulp and very dark at some points. He illustrates some organic illustrations that make full use of The Shadow's appearance, presenting the character's trademark looks as a means of conveying the panels on the page. There are some pages though where the dark tones of the book really make it difficult to fully grasp what's going on. With a character like The Shadow, darkness is an ally, but when it's so dark that readers have trouble deciphering panels it might be a good idea to lighten things up a bit.

The Shadow Now #1 is a great first issue. It offers a quick refresher on the character, while simultaneously plotting a course for him in the series. A character like The Shadow typically engenders an association akin to invulnerability and it's nice to see a story that makes him seem mortal. How he handles New York seemingly crumbling around him upon his return remains to be seen, yet should make for a quality tale to read. Liss and Worley do a great job though offering a complete package in what's looking to be a promising series.

The Shadow Now #1 is in stores October 2.