The Shadow Year One is the conclusion of The Shadow’s fledgling journey into crime fighting and the beginning of his crusade for justice. After being introduced to The Shadow in Grendel vs. The Shadow #1, being able to review this final conclusion was too hard to resist. So let’s get down to it, is it good?
The Shadow: Year One #10 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Creative team Matt Wagner and Wilfredo Torres put the reader on the edge of their seat from page one. The Shadow is surrounded by hungry cobras, which are just waiting for him to make a sudden move so they can sink their deadly venom into him. Wagner uses the artwork of Torres and the snake pit to reveal The Shadow’s history and training under the mystics of Tulkus. The Shadow has mastered his aggression and knows when to fight and more importantly when to use his brain over brawn, but Wagner also makes him human. He is exposed to a psychic control which lurks in all men’s hearts.
The Shadow must overcome this weakness, both physically and spiritually. He must hunt down the man who is using this psychic control, Dr. Zorn. Zorn exposes The Shadow’s past military career as The Dark Eagle as well as the brutal murders of his concubine and unborn child. The psychic battle between Dr. Zorn and The Shadow is almost a Jedi vs. Sith Force battle seeing whose willpower will break first.
The action is nonstop even during the psychic battle. The Shadow must escape a burning building and then evade a drive-by shooting. The pace is torrid, moving the reader quickly through the book. Due to the quick pace, some of the panels do not flow as well as they should. After the drive-by shooting, The Shadow begins pursuing the vehicle with the help of Margo Lane. Somehow Margo ends up playing chicken with the other car despite chasing them in the previous panels. This also happens in the final fight with Dr. Zorn; the two are exchanging blows when all of a sudden you turn the page and the fight is over in dramatic fashion. The reader ends up flipping back to the previous page to figure out how the fight ended the way it did.
Wilfredo Torres’ art work has a very different feel from Matt Wagner’s Grendel vs. The Shadow #1. The detail in the background is forsaken and usually blurred or hidden with shadows. However, there are some scenes that make Dr. Zorn seem truly terrifying as he looks on, pistol in hand, with a full moon behind him. Yet, for the most part, the artwork lacks detail in both architecture and facial expressions. It is rather plain.
Is It Good?
The story is exciting and action-packed giving a detailed look into The Shadow’s past as he confronts both a physical and mental foe in Dr. Zorn. However, the artwork is plain and certain sequences do not readily follow each other. The reader has to flip back multiple times and even then still doesn’t know how certain sequences end the way they do.