Review: The Shadow #100

Shadow100-Cov-A-WagnerFor 100 Dynamite issues, The Shadow has known what evil lurks in the hearts of men. To commemorate, Dynamite Entertainment brings together master storytellers to celebrate the purveyor of justice who proves that crime does not pay. Some of the best writers out there, and classic Shadow alumni, are paired with top artists, to show the weed of crime bears only bitter fruit!

”Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The shadow knows!!!”

This infamous line has been tied to this character as long as the character has been around, which has been a while. As the character has journeyed from pulp novels to radio plays to an ill-fated movie to its most recent reincarnation in comics, which has proven to be the best medium for this character. The series at Dynamite since its inception has brought some of the character’s most interesting story arcs as well as team-ups like Masks which, is basically the Noir version of the Avengers. It is only fitting that for the 100th issue, that the character gets the royal treatment from some of the industry’s best.

In the first story, “The Laughing Corpse”, expertly crafted by the great Francesco Francavilla (Afterlife with Archie) a murder of a well-known scientist has occurred, found in an interesting disposition, dead with a smile on his face. Of course, the Shadow is on the case and is miles ahead of the police on this one. Francavilla‘s art and storytelling feels at home with the character, as he brings the pulp noir elements to the forefront, not only in his art but also his storytelling.

The second story, written by Victor Gischler and art by Stephen B Scott, is about a string of violent robberies, which the Shadow puts an end to. This story is pretty standard but very much is in the vein of what is true to the character.

The third story,”Black and White and Red all Over”, written and drawn by Howard Chaykin, tells the story of a mob hit on police detective, which the Shadow foils. This is an expertly written story by Chaykin, as this is the character and the writer/artist by at their best.

The fourth story, written by the great Michael Uslan and drawn by Giovanni Timpano, recreates the infamous Batman origin with a twist, having the Shadow intervene, while he also handles mind washing Orson Welles type of character. This to me was the standout story, not just because of the nostalgia it conjures, but how menacing he can be.

The final story , written and drawn by Matt Wagner, is primarily told form a petty criminal’s point of view, where accounts for the many times the Shadow, was always in the right place at the wrong time. He ultimately begins a partnership with the Shadow. This story seems right out of a movie, excellent character development on this one. Wagner even throws in a pulp noir story, which is the perfect homage to the Shadow’s beginnings.

Overall, a great collection of stories to commemorate a storied comic book character, who deserves more credit than he gets.

Story: Francesco Francovilla, Victor Gischler, Howard Chaykin, Michael Uslan and Matt Wagner Art: Francesco Francovilla, Stephen B. Scott, Howard Chaykin, Giovanni Timpano, and Matt Wagner
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Dynamite Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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