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Review: The Shadow #1
Matt Demers  |  April 18, 2012

When I heard some time ago that Dynamite would be reviving pulp hero The Shadow, I couldn't help but be a little biit skeptical; pulp heroes seem to be very hit-or-miss in the current mass comic market, with new ongoings coming and going in a revolving door.

To a niche audience, however, these books continue rich histories of characters they've grown to love, which I suppose is the hope of any fandom.

Reading the first issue, I was impressed by Garth Ennis' writing, as the master of Punisher MAX, The Boys and Preacher kept things relatively tame. The story of The Shadow has been refreshed for a new generation, and while that doesn't mean they're modernized him, they seem to have eliminated some of the, well, stuffiness surrounding the character. The man is black still knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men, and he isn't afraid to show it with his twin pistols. But will that be enough for fans?

The first issue of the series is always a bit of a problem for establishing a story, as you either need to hook readers in with an effective cliffhanger (and rush the character development) or spend time establishing key concepts that the reader needs to know (often at the expense of getting them onboard for the next month). Ennis manages to weave both sides of the argument together, but at the expense of the story actually meaning anything; there's no sense this is more important than any other day on the job for The Shadow: will the promise of more keep prospective readers interested?

The Shadow #1
Dynamite Comics

The Verdict: Three and a half red scarves out of five, as there was a pretty obvious coloring error in the middle of the book which switched two characters in a pivotol scene. It took some untangling to figure out who went where, especially with similar suits and facial structures. The mystical elements of this issue didn't blow me away, but revival is worth any pulp fan's money.

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