The Shadow #9

by JohnP on February 07, 2013

Part 2 of the Revolutionaries arc opens with Lamont hobnobbing with none other than George Orwell as he continues to track a gunrunning operation. The plot thickens when he finds the buyer for the illegal shipment is Black Sparrow, a cammanding and alluring woman in tightly clad leather who knows how to work a bullwhip and has no aversion to killing. Turns out this isn't the first time the Shadow has crossed her path.

Victor Gischler turns in another great Shadow script this month. He truly seems to have a keen grasp of how to write the character in the spirit of a true pulp comic. The daring adventure and especially the action in the airplanes calls to mind the invokes the feeling of the great Rocketeer comics, yet the darkness underlying maintains the fact that this is definitely the Shadow. Gischler has a natural gift for dialogue and inserts a great humorous moment when one of the Shadow's agents basically tries to pull a "these aren't the droids you're looking for" and finds that he does not share his bosses ability to cloud men's minds. The pacing moves fluidly and builds to an ending which holds a bit of a surprise which builds anticipation for the next issue without needing to use a cliffhanger. Gischler knows what he's doing and I like it.

The art is very good, but there are a few things that bug me. I can't quite get over the way Aaron Campbell chooses to draw Lamont Cranston. He is supposed to have more of a craggy face, debonair and Bogart-ish, yes, but not quite handsome like he is drawn here. And the nose. Where's the rest of his nose? Alex Ross and Dennis Calero nailed his gigantic schnozz that the Shadow is famous for in Masks, but it doesn't show up here. Maybe this was an editorial decision that needs to be changed, but it just seems wrong without it. The other slight critique I have is that the storytelling panel to panel is a bit stale, but this usually isn't a problem that I've noticed - could be just an off issue for Campbell, or just my opinion.

Overall, another very solid chapter in Gischler and Campbell's run. It's unfortunate that it will be ending after this arc - it was announced a couple weeks ago that Chris Roberson (writer of Masks) will be taking over the series as of issue #13. It's hard to say that this is a bad thing since Roberson is doing a great job on Masks, but I wasn't in any hurry to get rid of Gischler. Anyone who can come on board after Garth Ennis and actually make me like a series MORE is doing a damn fine job.

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