Review: The Shadow/Green Hornet: Dark Nights By Michael Uslan

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A threat so titanic that it forces The Shadow to team-up with The Green Hornet! A plot so deadly that it involves real events in history and such famous and infamous people as Woodrow Wilson, Rasputin, J. Edgar Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Nikola Tesla! An unstoppable power will plunge the world into darkness… and no one but our two crime-fighting icons can stop it! Written by Michael Uslan, the originator and Executive Producer of the Batman movie franchise, including The Dark Knight trilogy.

dark knights coverA brand new five issues miniseries from Dynamite that sees The Shadow and The Green Hornet combining forces hits shelves this week. The story is written by Batman super producer Michael Uslan with art by Keith Burns. Tony Avina handles colors and Rob Steen provides lettering. We recently saw The Shadow, Green Hornet, and a whole slew of other pulp heroes team up in Masks, so do we need another team-up series so soon?

The story opens in 1920 on Christmas. A strange figure with a flowing red scarf approaches the guard station in front of the White House. The guards tell him President Wilson isn’t seeing anyone. Wilson had suffered a severe stroke in 1920 and stopped seeing anyone and everyone. The man tells the guards to check the list, and surprisingly the president is expecting him. The stranger, who we learn is The Shadow, meets with Edith Wilson to talk about what he has discovered in his adventures during WWI. Edith was basically the president in the time after Wilson had his stroke. She discusses the grave matter The Shadow is seeing her about. The Shadow has come into the possession of the Girasol after trading for it with Rasputin. The Girasol is a very powerful artifact that everyone is trying to get their hands on. One of the people wanting to harness its power is Shiwan Khan. The Shadow’s nemesis will rip the world apart if he gets his hands on the Girasol. Edith Wilson tasks The Shadow with holding on to it and figuring out how to harness its power. Flash forward to 1939 and America is facing another big war. Franklin Roosevelt has called together a meeting of the U.S.’s movers and shakers to plan for war. Lamont Cranston and Britt Reid are two of the men invited. After the meeting, Roosevelt tasks the two men to help him in his fight…for the March of Dimes. Reid and Cranston meet to learn a little more about each other, but in Germany, Shiwan Khan and Hitler are plotting how they will take the Girasol. They think they may have found an aid in Chicago’s masked villain who happens to love the color green. Can The Shadow keep the Girasol safe? Will Shiwan Khan be able to set his devious plan in motion?

Uslan writes a fast-paced and action-packed story. There’s a lot of historically important characters and places used to flesh out the story, and surprisingly they fit together perfectly. Things move really fast and there’s a lot set up, but it’s hard to get a good idea of just where things are going. It does feel very cinematic though and Uslan absolutely nails down Lamont Cranston’s voice. We don’t see a lot of Reid/Green Hornet just yet, but what we do see is very promising. Burns’ art and Avina’s colors help make the story feel very cinematic. Burn’s uses the “camera” to make scenes that hype up the emotion and tension of the story. Avina’s colors compliment Burns perfectly. Things feel kind of retro as well.

Bottom Line: Uslan offers up a fast-paced and intense story that pulls you in from the first page. There’s a lot of ideas thrown out and not everything is pulled together just yet, but the story has a great premise. The Green Hornet and The Shadow fighting Shiwan Khan and Hitler in WWII is something you cannot miss. 4.5/5

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