• Twilight Zone The Shadow #3

    Twilight Zone The Shadow #3
    Released by: Dynamite Entertainment
    Released on: June 15th, 2016.
    Written by: David Avallone
    Illustrated by: Dave Acosta
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    “After a raid on an American Nazi Camp, Margo Lane took The Shadow to task for his lack of mercy and restraint. Their argument was interrupted by an explosion and a mysterious chemical weapons attack, and the next thing Kent Allard knew he was waking up in the body of his alter ego, Lamont Cranston. After seeing the world through Lamont’s eyes, another jolt sent The Shadow to another face, another time… and suddenly he was Preston Springs, wunderkind actor and radio voice of the Shadow. A man playing a fictional character in a world where costumed avengers are mere fantasy. Yet another jolt… and now The Shadow finds himself behind a typewriter, ever further from home, on the next leg of his journey through… The Twilight Zone.”

    Picking up where the first two issues left off, this chapter begins when a man who we learn writes pulp stories for The Shadow under the name Maxwell Grant gets a phone call. He’s addressed as Art and when he tells the man on the other end, who is inquiring about the status of his latest story, the guy just laughs it off. He tells him he knows he’s the right man for the job, the right man to bring The Shadow to life. The public loves the character and they want more – it’s up to ‘Art’ to flesh him out and figure out just who The Shadow really is.

    The phone is hung up – Grant realizes he’s about eight years in the past somehow. The Shadow talks to him, tries to give him some hints as to how he’s wound up in a world where The Shadow is “a fiction that has yet to be written!” How does he go about creating himself on paper? He can’t write his way out of this, he knows, or at least The Shadow knows, that he’s going to have to use the power of his mind. And as he concentrates to do just that we see him, in a sense at least, leave the body of ‘Art’ – the ink ribbon of the typewriter taking on an almost serpentine form and forming a symbiotic relationship with him? Is that possible or is this all a twisted illusion? As he winds up back in his own body, he sees Justice, blindfolded with her sword at his neck in an attempt to draw out The Shadow. It works, and she asks the man we now see as Kent Allred why he ran away and we flashback to see how a plane crash and a run in with a tribe of Xinca Indians led to his ability to master his surroundings and to ‘see into men’s hearts.’ And yet, he’s still ‘in’ the typewriter…

    Avallone’s story turns in on itself with this third issue and it’s pretty crazy stuff. It definitely keeps us guessing as to what’s really going on here. Of course, as it takes place in The Twilight Zone, anything can happen and there’s no need to ground things in ‘the real world.’ And he runs with it here, really taking things to almost surreal extremes but, by the time we get to the last page, hooking us back into the narrative that started in the first chapter. It’s very clever writing and it really makes you need and want to pay attention here. It also does a great job of playing to the history of The Shadow in the different media outlets that have exploited the property over the years –radio, magazines, and of course, comic books. Acosta’s artwork is good. Some of the backgrounds look a little sparse but he draws the typewriter sequences really nicely and when The Shadow does appear in the panels of the book, he’s given the sort of weight and presence that the character needs to work. And once again we get an awesome cover piece from Francesco Francavilla.