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Review: The Shadow: Midnight In Moscow by Howard Chaykin August 24, 2015

Posted by sjroby in Book reviews.
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Another Netgalley review.

One of these days I should do a more in-depth thing on The Shadow. There’s a lot to get into. But for now, a quick review of a graphic novel collecting a recent miniseries.

The Shadow has sometimes been well served by the comics medium, and sometimes terribly. Howard Chaykin has produced some fascinating and compelling work and, well, some not so much. This isn’t their first encounter, and it’s probably not as groundbreaking as Chaykin’s first Shadow tale back in the 80s. However, it’s a solid take on the character and his supporting cast, a respectfully pulpy tale with a bit of mad science, a Communist femme fatale, and plenty of violence. Fun, and it feels more faithful to the old pulp magazine concept than some of the other recent adaptations.

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Review: Justice Inc Volume 1 graphic novel August 24, 2015

Posted by sjroby in Book reviews.
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Another Netgalley review.

A crossover that works, with a set of legendary characters. The Shadow, Doc Savage, and The Avenger were classic pulp characters from the 30s who’ve had occasional comebacks over the decades. I first encountered each of them in the 1970s. The Shadow was my favourite, followed by the Avenger, but they make an interesting team, each member having a very different story and way of working, but each fighting evil in his own way.

This story is perhaps a little overly complicated, bringing in villains and supporting characters from each character’s stories, and bringing several historical figures along for the ride. The latter get short shrift here once the story kicks in, but the momentum means that doesn’t matter too much. The story doesn’t make the mistake many comic crossovers do of having the heroes fight each other or work at cross-purposes for half the story before teaming up, but it doesn’t forget the very different approaches and priorities of each hero, either.

The book probably works best for readers who have at least a little idea of who these guys are, but it could work as an introduction to a new reader — one that might well encourage said reader to try not only each character’s other comics, but their original adventures as well. I liked this one a lot more than the last related title I read, The Shadow Now.