Review: “The Shadow Vol 1: The Fire of Creation” by Garth Ennis

This review is dedicated to one my greatest friends Asia Sumrall, who has love for the Shadow, and she has inspire me to look for work base on him sense the end of the radio show, and quote from her: A radio show is window into another era.

So ladies and gentleman let us step into another era.

This particular volume collects issue 1-6

STORY: Powerful men dine together while speaks of the recent news of the brutal slaughter of smugglers in the waterfront, and a possibly Japanese spy among them. Among those men is Kent Allard, a man who seems to know everything. When the USA government, specifically DC boys come looking for his help, they soon get rude awakening, Allard already knows and he agrees to help them with there little problem. Traveling to Japanese control China, Allard and his companion Margo Lane are attack by everything from Nazi spies, to Chinese thug and Japanese soldiers. It quickly made clear that the Japanese slaughter before was not only a spy, but past contact of Allard, who knows he is the infamous Shadow. It soon turns into a deadly race with the Japanese seeking something only the Shadow knows, and him chasing after them.

The Shadow 1.png

This is excellent introduction to the man who knows

The shadow 3.png

The Shadow gunning down Nazis in a plane, that just incredibly fun read

ART: The visuals are amazing, the adventures the Shadow finds himself are combination of the James Bond, WWII and pulp stories. High airplane gun fights, waterfront corruptions, gambling casinos and much more. And then there is the Shadow vanishing from one angle to another, untouched by the hail of bullets, all while delivering his justice. They were few art changes here and there but the story good enough to prevent you from missing it.

The shadow 4.png

Obviously the comic is filled with large affect of shadows to increase the dramatic effect

DIALOGUE: This IS were the story really shines. The Shadow has such amazingly lines, with his quasi-mystic knowledge of the future and everything around him, characters are left to wonder if he manipulated them into it his web, or if the players in this game have any control. His nemesis in this story General Taro Kondo, has quite the character that again told through excellent dialogue.

the shadow 2.png

The Shadow manipulated the game even before he was vigilante

Continues in: The Shadow Vol 2: The Revolution

CONCLUSION: I believe everyone knows The Shadow, and no introductions are needed. But much like the Spirit, Doc Savage and Dick Tracy he was lost to antiquity, several revivals were attempted but none quite succeeded until Dynamite purchased the character rights.

With all honesty I was dying to see what they would do to the character and what places they would take him, and they got Garth Ennis behind the project and all that sounded quite amazing.

Ah, I must apologies as this perhaps was not exactly what you call a fair review, as I am sucker for history and Garth Ennis chose one of my favorite setting the Second Sino-Japanese War, an incredibly brutal and inhuman time and Garth doesn’t sugar coat it. Yes, there is multiple times when he mentions the brutality of the slaughter; the rape of the Chinese women, and entire villages killed. This is a backdrop to the story, so it shouldn’t affect much readers, but gives a reason as to why this evil must be stop and the Shadow’s mission all the more real.

This story works in many different ways to improve and update the pulp hero stories of yesterday into more mature and series tale. And not scare to say, this the first time I taught of Kent Allard, as sexy billionaire in part with Bruce Wayne, the way he was portrait was very inline with the jerk with heart of gold.

Garth Ennis is a master at his craft, through the entire story the Shadow plows into situations that incredibly deadly and not once is he injury, outsmarted or even caught off guard. Yet he remains far away from Mary Sue! So how do you take character who rich, handsome and powerful and make him interesting? Well, here is the recipe, Garth makes the Shadow into a marionette who can see the strings. And there bit touch of the Shadow own continuity as he is called Kent Allard and Lamont Cranston, and even the characters don’t know which one is the alias.

I’ll be honest, I read about five different collections of the Shadow before chose one that wanted to review, and from the feeling I say chosen the right one.

three-stars

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