Four Letter Nerd

4LN Comic Review – The Shadow #1

Series: The Shadow
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Giovanni Timpano
Publisher: Dynamite

Summary from Comixology:

A ruthless cabal of magicians is searching for the secret to the Last Illusion, and they’ll stop at nothing to achieve their goals. But the person who knew the most about the mysterious rite is dead, and he shared his secret with one man — the Shadow! Now, the Shadow faces some of his strangest foes as he engages in a deadly game where he might be the hunter… or the hunted.



I am by no means an expert on the Shadow.  Most of my knowledge comes from the woefully underrated movie featuring a young Alec Baldwin as the titular hero, and I am sure that is a somewhat inaccurate representation.  I do, however, have a bit of a soft spot for the character due to my fond memories of seeing the movie as a kid.  And I’m not the only one – my fellow 4LN writer, and good friend, Stephen Andrew also has fond memories of the film.  In fact, earlier this year I paid him for house sitting with two Shadow action figures I got from Comic Collector Live.  So, naturally, when I walked into my local comic shop on Wednesday afternoon my eyes immediately gravitated to the rain-soaked figure clad in black and red that was sitting on the new releases shelf.

The Shadow #1 follows the Shadow as he attempts to track down an evil cabal of fabulously dressed magicians who are seeking the secrets of the Last Illusion, which has something to do with life after death.  The only magician to have discovered this secret is the Shadow’s former mentor – Harry Houdini.  He then shared it with his wife (from beyond the grave) and the Shadow.  His widow was subsequently kidnapped by the previously referenced evil cabal of fabulously dressed magicians (also known as the Society of United Magicians), but she was able to keep the secret to herself until the Shadow was able to make her forget.  Now he is the only one with Houdini’s secret to the Last Illusion, and the murderous fiends in the Society of United Magicians will do anything they can to discover it.  Please note: a majority of the information referenced happened in The Shadow #0, which I didn’t know about when I bought this particular issue.


I really enjoyed the story.  Cullen Bunn’s previous foray with the supernatural – Sixth Gun – is fantastic, so when I saw his name on the cover I wasn’t worried one bit.  The narrative is a lot of fun, and is very reminiscent of that pulp novel feel from the 1930’s and 1940’s, which was the The Shadows glory days.  He fights circus freaks and tracks down evil magicians in style, and his dialogue is just tremendous.  I also liked that they used black text bubbles with white text for his dialogue.  It makes it feel more visceral and intimidating.  The art style was great too.  Timpano just gets that 1920-1940’s pulpy style with it’s art-deco buildings, outlandish dress, rural settings.  I also particularly enjoyed the flashback sequences with mostly muted colors with splashes of red from the Shadows costume.  All in all, it was a strong effort by everyone involved.

The Shadow #1 is out now, and since it’s only $1.00 there is absolutely no reason not to give it a try.  If you can find #0 then I would definitely start there, but Bunn does a good job explaining the major plot points from that issue that are effecting the current narrative.  If you are a fan of pulp comics or comics with that old feel to them, then this is the book for you.  Head on down to your local comic shop and pick up your copy today! And remember… the Shadow knows!



Music Pairing –
For this issue, I think an excerpt from the Shadow film score is perfect!

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Cam Clark

Cam is a husband, father, and a fan of many things. In college, he wrote his senior thesis on Mythological, Philosophical, and Theological Themes in Star Wars, and now spends his days causally specializing in Star Wars, Tolkien, and cubical work. No relation to Bill Clark.

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