by Carl R. Jansson
David Liss and Colton Worley continue their thrilling story of the Shadow in present day New York. This issue finds The Shadow Network destroyed, with Lamont Cranston severely injured and in hiding after his encounter with Shiwan Khan in part one. Khan has the upper hand, and is using it to his advantage, convincing the various crime lords to give him percentages of their profits so that he can afford what he needs to reverse the aging process. An injured Shadow defends a man against a couple of thugs, gaining a new agent in the process, while Khan works toward creating a legacy for himself in the form of a teenage girl.
Not as tense or exciting as issue one, this one seemed more about character, and David Liss, again, understands this world and these characters, giving them perfect voice and characterization. He gives us a chance to hang out with them a little more than last issue. Now, that isn’t saying this issue wasn’t exciting, as it definitely had its action and dangerous situations, with the Shadow fighting gangster thugs while half bleeding out, and finally passing out in an alleyway. There is even some humor to be found, revolving around Cranston’s man out of time circumstance.
Once again, the story is full of twists and turns, with the reveal of how Khan will pass on his legacy being one of them. The mirror theme is still with us, with both the Shadow and Khan gaining new allies, albeit in completely different fashion and with disparate purpose. Khan is given plenty of chances to show his cunning genius, using his powers of manipulation brilliantly to get what he wants. He is a superb Moriarty to the Shadow’s Holmes, the two being opposite sides of the same coin.
Colton Worley hits it right out of the park, yet again. His dynamic page/panel layouts add a lot of excitement to the story, and he chooses interesting angles which add extra layers to the composition. His fight scenes are powerfully effective, bringing the reader right into the action. I swear I ducked a punch or two while reading. Worley’s work is simply stunning, every “brush stroke” is deliberate, and you can tell he really takes the time to plan out his composition, choosing just the right colors for the mood the story is trying to convey.
With it’s unpredictable villain, it’s never back down hero, and it’s re-growing extended cast, this is a great modern superhero series, with a pulpy aftertaste, and should have a place in everyone’s collection. With a continually exciting and unpredictable story from Liss, and simply stunning art that drips with pulp from Worley, I can’t recommend this book highly enough.