Mind Capsules – The Shadow #4 and The Uncanny Avengers #2

The Shadow #4
The Shadow #4

Writer – Cullen Bunn
Artist – Giovanni Timpano
Colours – Marco Lesko

With the latest issue of The Shadow, Cullen Bunn ties in H.P. Lovecraft to Houdini and the mystery of the Last Illusion, that little bit of magic that everyone and their dog seems hell-bent on obtaining. As long as The Shadow is in the mix though, nobody will gain that whisper of a spell and Houdini will keep his secrets in the grave. Attending a magic show in Los Angeles, The Shadow is there to prevent a war between the two magician factions that are looking to gain the Last Illusion. It is of course, easier said than done and before the end of the night; The Shadow will find himself in a bit of a bind. With Giovanni Timpano on pencils, he and Bunn deliver an action-packed tale filled with magic and mystery, not to mention a good dose of noir for a little added punch. While it might seem an odd fit, pairing our down-to-earth, street level hero with the magical realm, it works perfectly and the book has been utterly captivating from issue to issue. The Shadow himself is able to confuse and cloud men’s minds, a sort of magic in itself, making this tale all the more fitting. The Sandman makes his return, the magician’s assassin, and he and The Shadow end up in battle like the last time they met, though this time, the tide has turned and they now find themselves at risk of losing their lives. The book is dark and moody and Timpano fills the book with shadow and menace, making it seem as if anything can happen at any moment. What remains to be seen is just how The Shadow will be able to stop either faction of magicians. The easiest thing to do would be to somehow broker an amicable peace treaty, though at the moment that seems far-fetched indeed. More than likely, his guns will measure out what is needed to bring this conflict to an end. It is good to see that Dynamite remains committed to publishing The Shadow with this book cementing any of their fears in doing so. Bunn is an excellent storyteller and this latest title to bear the name of The Shadow has been nothing short of excellent.

4 out of 5

The Uncanny Avengers #2
The Uncanny Avengers #2

Writer – Gerry Duggan
Artist – Ryan Stegman
Colours – Richard Isanove

The Shredded Man, a new villain introduced last issue, has been making life hard for this team of Avengers and for the city of Boston as everything has been covered in plant-life and its population being transformed into more of the same. Rogue is having a hard time controlling her team as everyone just seems to be doing what they please and with a lack of teamwork, they are failing at doing what they usually do best. Thankfully, as Gerry Duggan leaves the book on a cliff-hanger, he brings in a character he is more than a little familiar with to clean things up. While this particular volume of Uncanny Avengers has been a little slow out of the gate, things look to be picking up, especially if this guest character joins the team. Synapse, the new Inhuman character who has recently been made a member remains quite intriguing as we know very little about her. She seems to want to do a good job and Rogue is not making it very easy on her, though to be fair, with the M-Pox disease ravaging mutantkind, it has not been a very good time to be a mutant as of late. Though the story is decent and the artwork by Stegman quite solid, if different than what we are normally used to seeing from him, the book is still not as good as the other Avengers books, though better than the All New, All Different Avengers – for the moment. The great thing about Avengers books in this millennium is that you can be sure things will turn around and Duggan is a very good writer so there is no doubt that the story will pick up sooner rather than later. There are some great characters present and the team dynamic has yet to work itself out, at least aside from the chaos that has currently made itself known, but once it does, the Unity team should be able to face any threat that comes their way. It may be enjoyable and entertaining but it has a long way to go to be really great.

3.5 out of 5

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