Thursday, January 9, 2014

Weed of Crime


The Shadow Volume 3: The Light of the World: written by Chris Roberson; illustrated by Giovanni Timpano and others (2013): Dynamite's regular Shadow series, set in the 1930's and 1940's, continues to be an enjoyable pulp adventure in comic-book form, with a lot more psychology and character development than the old radio and pulp-magazine Shadow.

The major difference between the comic book and the original pulp novels lies in the focus on the Shadow himself, who was often a supporting character in a book that focussed on his various lieutenants as they investigated whatever case the Shadow was pursuing. This left the Shadow as a mystery man. Dynamite's comic books have put him front and centre, to generally good effect.

Giovanni Timpano's art on this latest arc is fairly strong, especially when he gets to do sweeping long-shots of the Shadow on rooftops and bridges and what-have-you. Chris Roberson comes up with an interesting new villain who, like this revised Shadow, appears to be working for some mysterious organization aimed at punishing criminals.

However, the Light is fine with killing people before they commit crimes: she's pretty much going with the Biblical concept that thinking something sinful is the same as doing it. Oh-oh. Enter the Shadow: he may kill a lot, but he only kills killers.

The series (like the radio program moreso than the novels) continues to be very Shadow/Margo Lane-centric, for good and ill. I wouldn't mind seeing the Shadow step back into the, ahem, shadows for an arc or two, so that we can spend more time with lieutenants such as Harry Vincent, whose recruitment by the Shadow features in the first scene of the first Shadow pulp novel. Still, a very enjoyable series. Between this and the new Doc Savage series, Roberson is having quite a pulp-tastic year writing comic books. Recommended.

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