The Shadow #1
Written by Garth Ennis
Art by Aaron Campbell
Colors by Carlos Lopez
Letters by Rob Steen
Covers by Alex Ross, Howard Chaykin, John Cassidy & Jae Lee
Release Date: April 18, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99
When reading The Shadow #1 you’re going to have a lot of different opinions. It’s not a comic book you read once, bag and board, then file in a short box never to be read again. No, you’re definitely going to want to leave this one out.
Artist Aaron Campbell is great, but maybe not here. And I don’t mean that his art isn’t great in this book, I mean that his art isn’t great FOR this book. The Shadow is a character of mystery. GREAT mystery (and that’s putting it mildly). But, anyone who’s followed Campbell knows that he’s a very detailed artist. And while that’s great on the pages and panels that The Shadow doesn’t appear on, when he shows up, he’s a little TOO detailed. So detailed that it takes away the air of mystery that The Shadow NEEDS. He makes great use of inks to hide some detail on The Shadow’s face, but the parts that ARE exposed are very detailed.
Also, when The Shadow is fighting, there’s a real lack of kinetic energy in the pages. There’s some very stiff shots drawn when there should be very fluid motion, and that’s too bad, because I’m normally a fan of Aaron Campbell’s. I was expecting him to change up his style for this book, but unfortunately, he didn’t. While it doesn’t really take anything AWAY from the book, it’s just that it would be all that much better with a different artist.
Then, writer Garth Ennis shows up to save the day! The Shadow is one of those characters that everyone knows, but when pressed for details, the average person won’t be able to name one thing about him. This issue is a treat for both fans of The Shadow and people who haven’t been exposed to the character before at all. Setting the book in the 1930s was perfect for two reasons, 1) That’s the era that this book belongs in and 2) Who wants to see The Shadow use an iPad 2? There’s a great air of mystery and suspense to this book that will easily get anyone who grabs the first issue to stick with the series. All the elements are there, but Ennis has some of them hidden, leaving them left for unwrapping in later issues. At its core, it’s just a great story. It’s not really an origin story at all, or a “Year One” or even a “first adventure”; it’s just the latest adventure with the audience joining along for the first time.
I have a strange feeling that this is going to be a fast sell-out for Dynamite, so you might want to grab this one pretty quickly. I’m sure they’ll do second and even third prints if warranted, but this is a comic that you should read sooner rather than later, if only because it’s that much fun. Yes, I griped about the art, but again, it’s nothing that’s going to take any enjoyment away from the book by any means, I was just expecting something different. This is a great comic, and you’re going to love it. Ennis is introducing The Shadow for a whole new generation of fans who didn’t know what they missed the first time around. Pick it up……… or HE’LL KNOW!!