“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow Knows!” A line that struck fear into criminals and villains since The Shadow debut in September 1930, since then, there have been countless Pulp Novels, Comic Books, Comic Strips, Serials, Video Games, Feature Films. When he made his Radio Debut, The Shadow was voiced by Orson Welles; today’s newest review is Dynamite’s The Shadow: The Fire of Creation, written by Garth Ennis and Illustrated by Aaron Campbell.
“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows! It’s 1938 and The Shadow returns in a tale of blazing action and deadly intrigue, as a night of carnage on the New York waterfront plunges the mysterious vigilante into a conspiracy involving the fate of the world itself. As storm clouds gather across the globe, American Military Intelligence meets with a certain Lamont Cranston, determined to beat a host of spies and assassins to the greatest prize of all… but what that might be, only the Shadow knows.“
Set during World War II, Lemont Cranston finds himself leaving the Gritty Streets of New York to a Japanese Controlled China. The American Military Intelligence enlists Cranston to help obtain a radioactive element that can be used to create powerful weapons, but unbeknownst to Cranston and the AMI is to stay ahead of German Soldiers and Japanese Armies. Being part of the Second World War and being the year 1938, this leads me to believe that they also found themselves amid the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Garth Ennis does well in this type of story, combining elements of what he learned during the time he has written with other Military Comics he has written for and in the lines of Historical Fiction, staying in what The Shadow is known for and that is always being one step ahead of evil madmen such as Kondo. There is a noticeable combination of The Shadow from the Radio Serial and the 1994 Film take on the character, would also like to point out that this isn’t a criticism, just an observation. Let’s discuss the artwork for this first arc, Aaron Campbell was one of the great choices for a Pulp Series, his muted color palette and note for detail; Campbell’s pencil work helped get Ennis’s point across in certain parts of the book. This was a good story, worth looking into if you are a fan of Detective stories and Pulp Novels, it showed a darker side of Cranston (not the type you would find in today’s comic book series, like DC’s New 52 era,) that we weren’t used to seeing or reading about.
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