Review: The Shadow 1941: Hitler’s Astrologer Hardcover
Re-Mastered and available for the first time in over two decades! On Easter Sunday of April 1941, a young woman pushes through the Manhattan crowds, racing for her life. It’s a chase that will lead from the bustling American metropolis all the way to Berlin, the dark heart of the Nazi regime. Like marionettes dangling from invisible hands, neither Allies nor Axis agents can tell if they are the puppeteers… or the dolls whose strings get cut. Behind it all, The Shadow looms, a master of men with cold, hollow laughter and blazing .45 pistols! The acclaimed collaboration of Batman scribe Denny O’Neil and artist Mike Kaluta, available for the first time in over two decades, completely remastered!
One of the classic Shadow stories has been collected and re-mastered by Dynamite, seeing print for the first time in nearly two decades. This week will see the release of The Shadow 1941: Hitler’s Astrologer. The story was written by Denny O’Neil and Michael Kaluta with Kaluta handling the comic’s pencils. Russ Heath handled inks with Mark Chiarello, Nick Jainschigg, and John Wellington handling colors. Phil Felix provided lettering with Mike Kelleher overseeing the re-mastering of the series. So is this truly a classic work or should it have been left to the ages?
It’s 1941 and war is brewing. Europe has been shrouded in darkness due to the Nazi threat, but the Americans haven’t become involved just yet. Hitler has his eyes set on Russia, but some of his men are trying to get the Fuhrer to attack Britain. Meanwhile in New York, a young woman is being chased by some mysterious men who are trying to capture her. Luckily The Shadow and his agents have been watching over the girl for days. She is the daughter of Hitler’s personal astrologer and she may hold the key to helping turn the tides of war in the allies favor. The Shadow, Margo Lane, Shrevvy, and Harry Vincent must try to convince the girl to betray her country. It’s an international journey as The Shadow battles the Nazi menace and tries to give the Allies an edge before World War II becomes truly global. The Shadow is a man of means, but does he have the means to get Hitler to attack Russia, thus sealing his defeat? What signs do the stars truly hold for the Third Reich?
Denny O’Neil is known for his work with Kaluta on The Shadow, and there’s a reason for that. If you handed this story to someone and told them this was a story from one of the original pulps, they would believe it. O’Neil had a perfect handle on The Shadow and his various supporting characters. Everyone gets their relative fair share in the story. This is very 1940s derring-do of clearly defined good fighting clearly defined evil. It’s The Shadow sword fighting a Nazi, you have to love that. Kaluta is a legendary Shadow artist, and this story is a good sample of that talent. I call this Great Gatsby book cover art. It has a very similar vibe, and the re-mastered colors and printing techniques helps everything pop.
Bottom Line: If you’re a fan of The Shadow and want to dive into some of the original novels and the very pulp and old school feeling comics, this is a worthy addition to your collection. This is 1940s story told in the 1980s being reprinted in the 2010s. It crosses several decades but it’s just plain old good Shadow storytelling. 4.5/5
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