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The Shadow: Year One #1

by JohnP on February 19, 2013

Matt Wagner never fails. Seriously, I've never read anything by him that isn't great. With The Shadow: Year One he adds another pulp origin story to his portfolio. Now, some longtime Shadow fans may quibble hear and there over details, but no one can deny that Wagner turns in an amazing script. His characterization and voicing of all the characters here is spot on and the plot he lays out is as complicated as it is straight forward. This issue focuses on The Shadow returning to America and first meeting Margo Lane, the most well known of his agents. Wagner weaves this tale in a way that guarantees to draw you straight into the series, yet manages to also reference many aspects of the Shadow's varied past. He alludes to the fact that Lamont is actually Kent Allard, without saying it, as well as giving a call back to Chaykin's Blood & Judgement mini-series from the 80's among other things.

The art by Wilfredo Torres is great, but can be just a bit uneven at times. There was one panel where Margo suddenly had drastically different facial features and a couple where I believe Lamont's nose was much different (the nose being, of course, one of the Shadow's most distinguishing features makes this important). I also think the background of the panels lacks detail - sometimes there will be background characters with no facial features, ok, I get that, but sometimes there will be a face with eyes and eyebrows but no nose or mouth. His style is a bit more "cartoony" than my favorite Shadow artists of the past - Kaluta and Barreto - yet he still captures the right attitude overall.

This series has been one that pulp fans have been very much anticipating and it more than delivers. It's too early to tell where this ranks in respect to Wagner's other Year One comics, but it is a very strong start. Definitely something all fans of pulp heroes or good comics in general should be checking out.

Our Score:

8/10

A Look Inside