Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Review: TWILIGHT ZONE: THE SHADOW #4
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT – @dynamitecomics
[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]
WRITER: David Avallone
ART: Dave Acosta
COLORS: Omi Remalante
LETTERS: Taylor Esposito
COVER: Francesco Francavilla
VARIANT COVER: Francesco Francavilla
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S.
Chapter Four: “Shadowboxing”
“The Twilight Zone” was an American television series that was broadcast on the CBS television network for five seasons from 1959 to 1964. Created by writer-producer Rod Serling, “The Twilight Zone” employed an anthology format, with each episode being unrelated to any other episode of the series. The series told stories in multiple genres, from drama, psychological thriller, and suspense to horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Episodes often had a moral and/or an ending that presented a macabre resolution or an unexpected twist.
The Shadow began life as a mysterious radio narrator. He debuted on July 31, 1930 as the host of the radio program, “Detective Story Hour,” which was designed to promote Detective Story Magazine from Street and Smith Publications. Street and Smith hired writer Walter B. Gibson to create a character concept that fit The Shadow's name and voice and to also write a story featuring him. The Shadow would go on to be one of the most famous fictional characters of the twentieth century, starring in a long-running pulp magazine series, comic books, and newspaper comic strips, as well as in films, movie serials, and television series.
Dynamite Entertainment brings the classic TV series and the pulp avenger together in the comic book crossover event, The Twilight Zone: The Shadow (or Twilight Zone The Shadow). This four-issue miniseries is written by David Avallone; drawn by Dave Acosta; colored by Omi Remalante; and lettered by Taylor Esposito.
The Twilight Zone: The Shadow opens in October 1938 in Yaphank, New York. It is 'round midnight at “Camp Siegfried,” an American Nazi camp. The Shadow, with the assistance of Margo Lane and his driver, Moe “Shrevvy” Shrevnizt, launch a raid on the camp where The Shadow unleashes his full fury against the camp's American Nazis. The Shadow and Margo are arguing about the crime fighter's lack of mercy and restraint when an explosion and mysterious chemical weapons attack interrupts them.
Kent Allard (a.k.a The Shadow) awakens in the body of his alter-ego, Lamont Cranston. Allard does not know that his journey in The Twilight Zone is just beginning. After seeing the world through Cranston's eyes, another jolt puts him the body of actor Preston Springs, the radio voice of The Shadow. Then, Allard becomes a writer named Arthur who is tasked with creating The Shadow.
The Twilight Zone: The Shadow #4 (“Shadowboxing”) finds Kent Allard as The Shadow again, but back at Camp Siegfried in Yaphank, New York – as a prisoner. Camp leader, Kreisleiter Wilhelm Penzler, announces that he plans on executing The Shadow at dawn. Now, the only thing standing between Allard saving himself and his compatriots is a young American Nazi, Peter Dallenbach. Through this young man, does The Twilight Zone have another lesson for Kent Allard, The Shadow?
In my review of The Twilight Zone: The Shadow #1, I wrote that this series had potential. I thought that the first issue wasn't good, or bad, or even mediocre. It was a still-developing dream, more so than it was a story, but that was in keeping with The Twilight Zone and it's dream-like aura.
Well, writer David Avallone delivers on that potential. I did wonder if someone could really do something with a plot that brought together two fictional universes that are so different. However, Avallone does what was obvious. He uses The Twilight Zone to do what it does best – punish hubris, violence, arrogance, hate, etc. Avallone has Kent Allard face himself and learn something without having to fundamentally change The Shadow, because in the end, he still is going to bust some caps in some Nazi (and criminal) ass.
Artist Dave Acosta delivers solid graphical storytelling throughout the four issues. Acosta captures the character nuances of Avallone's script, and he is quite good at depicting the subtle shifts in emotion and attitude that convey much of the story. This is most evident in the exchange between The Shadow and young Peter Dallenbach, in which Acosta sells the idea of the wayward youth's possible conversion from Nazi dupe to someone who is at least willing to think about what he is doing.
Honestly, I would like to see other properties crossover with The Twilight Zone. Who knows? The team of David Avallone and Dave Acosta might have another tale of The Shadow and The Twilight Zone in them.
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"
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