Comics

Constants – The Shadow Now

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A man out of time.  That particular theme has been used many times over in the comic book world to various degrees of success, one obviously being Captain America and more recently, Captain Midnight.  It has been used so many times in so many comics that it has almost become its own genre.  So, why not take one of history’s most famous pulp characters and do the same thing?  Why not take The Shadow out of the time he is most comfortable in, namely the 1930’s and transplant him into today’s society with all of its modern technology and see how he fares.  So it is that Dynamite enlisted David Liss and Colton Worley, two creators who are no strangers to pulp characters having worked together on The Spider previously.  Together they would chronicle this modern adventure of The Shadow and his ongoing battle with Shiwan Khan, a battle that has lasted for decades.

ShadowNow01_page3-xlgUsually when a character is brought forward in time, they find themselves trying to play catch-up.  With years and sometimes lifetimes missed for whatever reason, whoever the particular man out of time happens to be, always feels a need to bring himself, or herself, in line with the year they find themselves in.  What is refreshing to see in this title is that Liss has Lamont Cranston not actually caring about all the newfangled technology that surrounds him, or at least not concerning himself with what it does or how it might affect him.  All that Cranston and The Shadow cares about is the evil in men’s hearts which even with so many years having passed, remains as prominent, if not more so than when he went away.  Crime is rampant, evil is on the rise and for a man like The Shadow, it is literally his whole reason for being.  It not only gives him purpose, it gives him life and Cranston never feels more alive than when his alter-ego is set free to do what he does best.

It is a good thing for The Shadow that this book is packed full of villains for him to face.  Not only has his old foe Shiwan Khan returned, but he has brought along his niece Batu, who is just as ruthless and remorseless as he is as well as all the gangs of New York.  Shiwan, a direct descendant of Ghengis, has fairly simple motivations that have possessed his being all of his life.  He wants to rule, feeling as if it is his right and having been born to it.  There is also the matter of The Shadow, who locked him up all those many years ago and now Shiwan wants those years that were stolen from him back.  So it is that he puts his master plan in motion to reverse the aging process, and to solidify himself as the ruler of the criminal underground in the city.  If there was one villain that stands out amongst all of the people he has faced over the years, Shiwan Khan is it.  He is ruthless, determined, cunning and The Shadow’s opposite in many things, yet his equal in more.

The book is a beautiful one with Colton Worley delivering some of the best digital paintings that he has ever produced.  His work on The Spider was phenomenal but his work here is even better.  The Shadow is fearsome under his hand and with that maniacal laughter The Shadow always uses, the portrait that Worley and Liss create is a perfect one.  If there was one character that could exist in any time or any place, it would be The Shadow and it is for one simple reason that he himself proclaims.  Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?  An easy question and as long as there is that evil, there will always be a place for The Shadow in this world, a hundred years ago or a hundred years from now.

4 out of 5
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