• Shadow, The Volume 3 #4

    Shadow, The Volume 3 #4
    Released by: Dynamite Entertainment
    Released on: November 22nd, 2017.
    Written by: Si Spurrier, Dan Watters
    Illustrated by: Daniel Hdr
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    Mary is standing on a rooftop with The Shadow. She knows he’s got third degree burns all over his body, he shouldn’t be able to wear that cloak, but there he is. He quiets her, there’s a crime happening just below them. A man named Daryl that Mary recognizes from the gym is beating up his girlfriend. Before she can ask The Shadow if he’s going to do something, he’s gone.

    Down on the street, a cloaked figure with a red scarf jumps in – but it’s not The Shadow, it’s one of those who have been inspired by him, a female copycat. She and Daryl fight, he gets the better of her and when her scarf comes off and her face is exposed, Mary recognizes her as her sister, Luisa. She jumps in and hits him but Daryl’s a big guy, he grabs her but she claws at her ear, manages to grab Luisa’s gun and points it at him – but before she can pull the trigger an ominous HAHAHAHA rings out and twin .45’s blaze through the darkness. The Shadow took care of Daryl before Mary had to.

    With the immediate threat neutralized, Mary tells The Shadow that this is his fault, what happened to Luisa is because of him. He acknowledges this, he didn’t mean for this to happen, it wasn’t supposed to happen. But tools can be remade, he tells her – and then she looks into his eyes…

    Flashback! It’s the summer of 1969 and in New York City a black man just back from Tet complains to the white landlord that won’t rent to him about the situation. A group of the black man’s friends show up and step in. The landlord complains, they’re not even his buildings, they belong to Alastair Wyatt, or maybe his father Fred. Fair Housing Act be damned, the Wyatt’s don’t want to rent to anyone that isn’t white. The situation goes from bad to worse when some ‘freelance enforcers’ show up, led by Worthy Delaney. He takes care of the situation, or at least he thinks he does – then The Shadow shows up for a second go round with Worthy. But then the black people that were hoping to solve this step in – ‘You think a dead white man is gonna help us any?’

    They don’t want his help. And that gives him a glimmer of hope.

    Si Spurrier and Dan Watters are doing a great job of bringing The Shadow into the modern age without breaking him. This story plays to the character’s strength and treats his decades long history with plenty of respect – and that’s important with a character as iconic as this one. At the same time, they bring the current political landscape into play (there’s a reason Wyatt’s father is named Fred, you can bet on that!). They also work social media and meme culture, now wholly engrained in the social conscience, into the storyline. It makes for interesting, thought provoking reading, and at the same time it also turns out to be a damn good story. Mary’s character remains central to all of this, of course, but in this issue we witness The Shadow himself pondering the very meaning of his existence. It’s uncharted territory in a way, but it’s done completely in keeping with how the character has always acted, that strange, otherworldly air of mystery manifesting in not just his actions, but his dialogue as well.

    Artwork from Daniel HDR suits the story well. His work is detailed and he draws The Shadow in the classic style, with the long nose and the cloak that seems to envelope anything around it, the long red scarf flowing behind him like a bloody streamer or a tail of some sort. Natalia Marques colors the book nicely.

    All in all, this latest run from Dynamite has been firing on all cylinders since the first issue – here’s hoping the creative team can keep up the momentum and deliver a story this good for some time to come!