Review: The Shadow: Year One #2

Review of: The Shadow: Year One #2
Product by:
Matt Wagner

Reviewed by:
On April 18, 2013
Last modified:April 18, 2013


The Shadow: Year One is a great new look at one of the greatest pulp heroes ever. This is the way to do an origin story.

The Shadow saves Margo Lane for the first time as two thugs try to throw her off the roof of the Cobalt Club. “Big Gun” Massaretti begins a gangland war under the mesmerizing control of a mysterious presence. And, The Shadow sets up the initial version of his hidden Sanctum.

The Shadow has been away for a few months, out dealing justice to evil men no doubt, but he’s finally back. The Shadow: Year One #2 hit comic book stores this Wednesday. The story is written by Matt Wagner with art from Wilfredo Torres. Brennan Wagner provides colors with Simon Bowland handling lettering. So is The Shadow worth checking out, or should you leave this one in the darkness?

When last we saw Lamont Cranston aka The Shadow, he was preparing to save Margo Lane from two mobsters who were going to toss her off the roof. Grabbing a red tablecloth to cover his face, The Shadow races in guns at the ready. He gives the goons one chance, then it’s time to deal some swift justice. You can guess how it goes. After some unnerving laughter from The Shadow, Margo is saved and two goons are dead. Margo is grateful, but she starts asking questions The Shadow would rather she not ask. After some hypnoshadow covertic suggestion for her to go to sleep, thanks to his special ring, Lamont is free to continue working towards the goal that brought him back to America.  Joey Gun, the mobster from the introductory issue, is still being guided by some mysterious force to take over the entire crime racket in New York. This sets up the inevitable turf war between all the crime families. With the cops looking for the killer of the two goons, the mob war beginning, and that nosy reporter from the first outing try to find out what Lamont Cranston is up to, The Shadow has his work cut out for him

Wagner writes an intriguing script. The comic has had a few nods as to how The Shadow came about, and the scene where Lamont gets inspiration for his attire from a story about Bela Lugosi’s Dracula is just brilliant. Wagner has made The Shadow the star of the show, but we rarely see him. He’s relegated largely to the shadows and outskirts of the story. It works very well. He sheds a little light on the character but still keep the greater mystery that’s always surrounded The Shadow. We’re seeing the edges of the puzzle pieces as it were, but not the complete picture. I have to reiterate that’s a perfect way to do something new with the origin yet still keep the great mystery behind it. Torres’ art is a fantastic fit for the series. The Shadow looks a little different that we’re used to seeing, but these are early days and he’s not quite The Shadow we’re really used to seeing just yet. Torres and colorist Brennan Wagner even bring the trademark laugh to life.

Bottom Line: The Shadow: Year One is a great new look at one of the greatest pulp heroes ever. It gives us some details on how Lamont and Margo came together, but it’s still a big mystery on how everything led up to Lamont taking on his famous alter ego. This is the way to do an origin story 5/5

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