Review: The Shadow: Year One #5
The Shadow pursues his crusade against crime, and Margo Lane struggles to fit into Lamont Cranston’s mysterious world. Meanwhile, Big Gun Massaretti’s senseless gang war disrupts the mobs of New York, prompting a daring heist that draws the Master of Men like a moth to flame. And finally, an intrepid reporter relentlessly pursues The Shadow’s secrets, closing in!
The Avenging Angel of Death’s first year is explored further today in The Shadow: Year One #5. We’ve reached the halfway point of the series written by Matt Wagner with art by Wilfredo Torres. Brennan Wagner provides colors with Simon Bowland taking care of lettering. So what’s the verdict on the latest entry for The Shadow’s earliest days?
Lamont has started to train his new friend and companion, Margo Lane. He has recruited Margo as his newest agent and he plans to have her ready to face whatever threat comes her way. After a bit of target practice and a flash powder demonstration, The Shadow has to go attend to his duties. Ennio and Carlo hold a meeting in a local bar to talk about the looming gang war “Big Gun” Massaretti is about to start. They also plan a big bank truck heist. Since it’s the height of the Depression, the government is taking some larger bills out of circulation. With a small guard duty assigned to the job, Ennio and Carlo think the best way to get them out of circulation is to circulate the bills among themselves. When the job is pulled off in the dead of night, The Shadow is there to judge the evil men. With Margo getting nosier and nosier, is she about to put herself and The Shadow in the line of danger? Can The Shadow get to the bottom of everything before Massaretti starts an all-out war?
Wagner writes another apt issue. With the series expanded to 10 issues, there is plenty of room to explore the story in great detail. This issue has a large action piece, but it lacks some of the intensity of previous issues. The big showdown on the bridge is a fantastic scene, don’t get me wrong. Wagner gives us a story that is really exploring the Margo/Lamont/Shadow relationship and how it became what we know it does. Torres’ art is top notch as always. He gets a few action scenes, but it’s the scenery and backgrounds that sell the story that’s set largely indoors. Torres makes The Shadow distinct and moody. There’s one scene where he yet again turns The Shadow’s laugh and the sound of gunfire is turned into a part of the action. It’s a brilliant touch in the series and just screams “The Shadow.” The younger Wagner’s colors are very bright and vibrant, which helps turns Torres art into something even more special.
Bottom Line: The Shadow: Year One is a great story for the greatest pulp hero of all. With ten issues, it sort of feels like things aren’t as tight as they could be, but you can’t really complain too much about getting more Shadow. Wagner is writing a very broad and ambitious story and hopefully we start to see things tightened up a little. 3.5/5
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