Review: The Shadow Special #1

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The Shadow knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men. But when Lamont Cranston crosses paths with an old friend–a fellow veteran of “the war to end all wars”–Cranston’s justice serving alter ego must judge a man whose path to villainy began with their friendship! At the risk of his own secrets being laid bare, Cranston accepts an invitation to join a very exclusive club of adventurers whose dark hearts might be the worst The Shadow has ever encountered!

The Shadow special titled “Veterans of a Foreign War” is written by Scott Beatty with art from Ronan Cliquet. Mat Lopes handles colors and Rob Steen provides letters. The special features a…well, special…cover by Alex Ross. This year has been big for pulp heroes and Dynamite with the recent string of great story runs. Does this one continue the trend, or does it leave you in the shadows?

shadow coverOur story opens with Lamont Cranston and Margo Lane on a bit of a shopping spree. The Shadow knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men, but according to him he knows what evil lurks in women’s hearts- shopping. As our hero is being dragged along the street as the window shopping continues, Lamont receives quiet the shock when a ghost from his past bumps into him on the street. Howard Griffin is someone Kent Allard knew before he shed the name and became The Shadow. The two served in the Great War together where the two shared some dark secrets. After accepting a dinner invitation, Lamont is invited to a mysterious island by Howard where he and other veterans get together to talk about adventures and have some of their own. The island is much more than it seems and it’s up to The Shadow to figure it all out and bring evil men their just desserts.

The story is written expertly by Beatty, and serves as a great character piece for The Shadow. We get a look at the man who became the hero we know, and he wasn’t that good of a man. The Shadow has wonderful adventures in the comic pages, but this reader likes to see what lead up to it maybe even more. We see how the old man, Kent Allard, may have fostered some of the evil he now fights against. The art is handled well by Cliquet and Lopes helps elevate the island and flashback scenes. If there are any complaints with the book, it’s that there should have been more about the island group and what they were doing. We see the outlines and know why The Shadow must do what he does, but it was ripe for further exploration.

Bottom Line: The Shadow special is just that, special. With a solid story that plays out more as a character piece and fine art and colors, The Shadow shines in Veterans of a Foreign War. If you like The Shadow, you’ll really dig this one 4/5

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