Review: The Shadow #18
All the mysteries will be solved as the Shadow and the Light face one another in a final confrontation high above the streets of New York! Two knights, each dedicated to a very different moral code, in a duel to the death!
The first arc of Chris Roberson’s era on The Shadow comes to an end this week in issue #18. Joining Roberson for the finale is Giovanni Timpano on art with Fabricio Guerra on colors. Rob Steen rounds out the group with lettering. The Shadow and The Light’s final showdown plays out in these 22 pages. The Shadow has met his match with The Light in every way imaginable. Who survives their final encounter?
Instead of the usual flashback to The Light’s childhood that starts out the issue, this time we get a look at her arrival on America’s shores. We see the deadly encounter with Victor LaRue that set the wheels of fate in motion for her confrontation with The Shadow. From there on out it’s a rooftop showdown as The Shadow and The Light square off for the final time. The two do some talking and the contrasts between the two deadly instruments of vengeance and justice become even clearer. The Shadow and The Light are essentially doing the same things, but The Light takes it to an extreme The Shadow never would. The two are locked in mortal combat and there is no give from either fighters. When things play out atop a bridge, the final blows are dealt and a winner stands tall. Will the cops move in on The Shadow and The Light before the one or both of them dies? Can The Shadow keep The Light from killing again?
Roberson writes a strong finale. The story has been building and building for several issues, and each and every thread pays off by the end. The Light is one of the best adversaries for The Shadow in recent memory. The contrasts between the two characters are played out (and in some cases) explained perfectly. Roberson gives us a classic Shadow ending that I can just hear being said on an old radio serial. Timpano’s art is solid. The character work is great and the action is handled well. At times the panel layout gives you a sense of vertigo. Both characters have big, flowing capes and gowns so that makes for some great fight scene imagery. Guerra’s colors are good overall. He makes The Light blinding at times and does some great contrast with the word bubbles for The Shadow and Light. At other times things look a little too slick, smooth, and almost plastic. That effect looks great with the police lights, cityscapes, and automobiles, but a few panels stand out as too smooth.
Bottom Line: Roberson end a fantastic first arc with style. Storywise, there isn’t a single thing you can knock. Roberson gets both Lamont Cranston and his alter ego. Each character is perfectly fleshed out and the villain is even sympathetic at times. It will be interesting to see where Roberson takes The Shadow next. Make sure you tune in! 4/5