The Shadow is transported across time where he will face an all-new evil that does not lurk in the hearts of men. Is it good?
Altered States: The Shadow One-Shot (Dynamite Entertainment)
Altered States: The Shadow #1 offers an interesting premise. It delves into The Shadow’s ability to meditate which allows him to refocus his energy by mentally preparing him for his next battle while also recuperating after his most recent encounter. Through his meditation he is transported to a mysterious arena where the action kicks off. He has little time to plan, only to react, as he faces a formidable alien foe. It is a quick start which draws you into the action and piques your curiosity to find out more about this new location. The quick pace continues throughout the comic and even speeds up at some points. The Shadow faces increasingly more formidable foes and has no time to even question the entity testing him.
David Avallone’s plot is highly intriguing in the beginning and keeps your attention until about three quarters of the way through. Around this point it becomes a little clichéd, offering a big bad who can only be defeated by The Shadow. It would have been interesting to remove this plot sequence, and instead continue the story as an endless training exercise where The Shadow would challenge himself, pushing his abilities both mental and physical to the limits. The only way for the exercise to end would be for The Shadow to focus his mental abilities to return to his body and his own time stronger than ever to face the evil that lurks in the hearts of men.
Despite the clichéd plot techniques introduced towards the end of the book, Avallone’s dialogue is very to the point. He doesn’t use any extra words and the ones he does use convey the story. It keeps you curious and intrigued. You want to find out who this EDEN character is and why they have decided to test The Shadow.
Ivan Rodriguez’s artwork captures the futuristic and galactic nature of the world The Shadow finds himself inhabiting. He does overdue the arc lightning a little much, which draws your attention away from the actual fight between The Shadow and the alien invaders. Instead of concentrating on The Shadow delivering a crippling blow to one of his foes, your eyes are drawn to the electric blue of multiple energy arcs. His panel layout to quicken the pace uses a tried and true technique of creating slanted quadrilateral panels. It gives the feeling of the combat sequences taking place one right after the other. I also enjoyed the way he used panel insets to complement Avallone’s dialogue. At one point, The Shadow states, “This place feels wrong.” Rodriguez uses three insets overtop of a splash image to really convey the wrongness of this future location.
Is It Good?
Altered States: The Shadow #1 is a fun read detailing The Shadow’s adventures in the future as he discovers a whole new type of evil outside the hearts of men. You want to find out how The Shadow will fare against this alien invasion as he takes on the role of a general foregoing his front-line fighter duties. Rodriguez’s artwork captures the galactic feel although he does overdo it with the energy blasts. If you have a few extra bucks hanging around, this is a fun, exciting read allowing you to escape reality for just a few moments.