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The Shadow Now: A Review
By Philip Schweier
May 6, 2014 - 15:39

The Shadow Now #1, cover by Tim Bradstreet
In 1986, DC Comics published a four-issue miniseries, The Shadow: Blood & Judgment, bringing the pulp-era character into contemporary times. This led to an ongoing series that ran for 19 issues and two annuals.

Currently, Dynamite holds the license to The Shadow, and has capitalized on it by featuring the character in multiple series: The Shadow; The Shadow Year One; Masks; The Shadow and the Green Hornet: Dark Nights; and the recently concluded six-issue series, The Shadow Now.

Written by mystery/thriller novelist David Liss and illustrated by Colton Worley, The Shadow Now is set in modern day, launching from ideas originally introduced in the DC series so many years ago. The Shadow’s alter ego, an ageless Lamont Cranston, claims to be a descendant of the original. Mavis Lockhart, a modern-day counterpart to The Shadow’s original friend and companion, Margo Lane, operates The Shadow’s vast network of agents, which provides The Shadow with the critical intel that aids his battle against crime.

However, when The Shadow’s organization is infiltrated by agents of his greatest nemesis, he is forced to flee underground. Injured and (almost) alone, he must challenge the growing threat that is determined to rebuild a criminal empire.

The Shadow, as rendered by Colton Worley
David Liss writes a taught crime thriller, in which the motives of almost all the main characters are suspect, or at least unclear. Not in a vague ambiguous way, but whatever you think they might be, be prepared to be surprised. I found it refreshing that most of the characters did not fall into a predictable, cookie-cutter mold.

If there is an exception to that, it would be The Shadow himself. He remains true to the pulp/comic book hero fans have come to love. Perhaps in some ways, he may seem less super-human than we are accustomed, but that may vary depending on your level of exposure to the character.

Colton Worley’s painting is lovely, and certain panels are reminiscent of Alex Ross, either in texture or design. Not a bad thing, and characters are rendered to give each distinct facial personalities, portraying a heightened sense of reality. This is especially true of Lamont Cranston. Worley deemed determine to provide a physical character unlike any we’ve seen before, and pulls it off quite effectively.

The Shadow, as rendered by Colton Worley
If there is any flaw in his artwork, it perhaps is due to the nature of the narrative. As a Shadow tale, it of course lacks much lighting, resulting in some the panels being a bit muddy.

Overall, the story is a welcome chapter in The Shadow canon. I hope to see more.

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