The build-up for this issue of The Shade has been going on for a while now. I remember last FanExpo as the announcement that James Robinson would be doing it in the first place, and at long last it's coming to a close.
In this issue we get the advertised origin of The Shade, and get a little bit of insight into what drives the man in black. I wasn't too sure about what I was getting into, as after an amazing start I found the series to be a bit lackluster. In the spirit of completion, I decided to pick up the last issue, just in case.
What I liked:
- The expressive art and the dull, dank colors do wonders to illustrate the time period of the story; the plot is kind of shady on its own, so adding that little bit of dingyness is a nice touch.
- While hard to follow sometimes, the panel layouts are non-standard and actually stick out to me quite a bit. The use of background colors and overlapping pieces make this book better than just a standard romp.
What I didn't:
- For all the hype behind this book's ending, I found it both underwhelming and a bit medicore. Shade's mysterious origin seemed a little bit standard for the hype that was built up around it, and any story that deals with black magic will run into something similar sooner or later. The ending just seemed to... happen... as well — flashbacks lose their luster when you just flash-forward the present, as if to say "well, that happened. Hope you enjoyed it!"
- I just mean to say that this issue seemed to serve little purpose other than to just talk at the reader and explain, as if Shade was sitting in a nice armchair while doing so. If this were the end of a story arc, instead of a mini-series, I would have less issue with it. Instead, I'm left sitting here, wondering what the consequence of the reader knowing all this is, or was.
The Shade #12 (of 12)
The Verdict: Neither inspiring nor particularly entertaining, I have to give this book a middle of the road three-out-of-five; fans of magic might like this series when it's collected, but slogging through twelve months of issues only to have it end like this was frustrating.