Shadow Doctor has been an amazing series in its five-issue run. The history it dove into. The story it told. Both are so rich and the series provided a new perspective into our world and history. Shadow Doctor #5 wraps up this story of Nathaniel Calloway, the grandfather of the comic writer Peter Calloway. Nathaniel was a doctor in the 1930s who when he couldn’t get a loan to start a practice turned to his “friend” Al Capone to start one. In return, Capone would send his men to Calloway for injuries and to be treated. It’s a riveting true-life story that paints Capone in a new and interesting way and delivers a tense piece of history in its narrative.
Shadow Doctor #5 wraps up what is a gangster story from a different perspective. Beyond the expected bullets and blood, the series delivers a story about a man who is forced to do bad in order to do good. Nathan knows by healing Capone’s men he extends the war they are having with a rival gang. That results in more individuals getting hurt and dying. Nathan also knows if he doesn’t, Capone will not be happy and who knows what he’ll do. The series presents a man full of regrets but struggling with a moral quandary. Though he is doing bad, it has allowed him to open a clinic to help his neighborhood, one that is underserved.
Shadow Doctor #5 ups the tension even further as Nathan is approached with a demand from a rival gang. The issue cements that there’s few good choices left for him forcing his hand as to what to do next.
And, that might be the worst part of the issue! It abruptly ends leaving readers wanting more (not a bad thing). We know Nathan lives since he’s telling the story but it’s the next step that could become even more tension-filled. Here’s hoping we get another volume that tells more of the story.
The art by George Jeanty continues to impress. There’s a solid look to the series that screams its time period. With color by Juancho! and lettering by Charles Pritchett, the series feels like the time period it takes place in its design and details as well as the artwork style. There’s also a solid use of letting the reader really imagine the damage from Capone’s war and the bloody messes left on Nathan’s table. It’d easy for the art to use shock but instead it plays things in a conservative way.
Shadow Doctor #5 is a fantastic finale that leaves the reader wanting more. It’s a great use of the comic medium that highlights an interesting part of American history. It does it all in a gripping and engaging way. One of the best comic releases this year.
Story: Peter Calloway Art: Georges Jeanty
Color: Juancho! Letterer: Charles Pritchett
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy
AfterShock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review