Saturday, April 1, 2017

Review: THE SHADOW: The Death of Margo Lane #1


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

COLORS: Brennan Wagner
LETTERS: A Larger World Studios
COVER:  Matt Wagner with Brennan Wagner
COVER B: Matt Wagner (B&W Incentive Cover)
COVER C: Matt Wagner with Brennan Wagner (Rare “Virgin Art” Cover)
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (2016)

Rated “Teen+”

The Shadow is a fictional character that began life as a mysterious radio narrator, debuting on July 31, 1930 as the host of the radio program, “Detective Story Hour.”  Street and Smith Publications, publishers of Detective Story Magazine, 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 first issue of The Shadow Magazine went on sale on April 1, 1931.

The Shadow's alter-ego, Lamont Cranston, had a female companion, Margo Lane, who was also a spy for The Shadow.  Lane first debuted on radio in 1937 and first appeared in print in The Shadow Magazine in 1941.

Margo Lane is the focus of a new five issue comic book miniseries, The Shadow: The Death of Margo Lane.  The series is written and drawn by Matt Wagner, who is no stranger to chronicling The Shadow's adventures in comic books.  This miniseries is colored by Brennan Wagner and lettered by A Larger World Studios.

The Shadow: The Death of Margo Lane, Volume 1, #1 opens in the 1930s or 1940s, as Margo Lane jots down recent events in her diary.  It seems there has been a resurgence in the violent, criminal activities of the Tongs of Chinatown.  The Shadow believes that the mastermind behind this nefarious surge is a mysterious figure, the Red Empress, who so far really on exists in rumor.  When a shipping heiress, Gloria Sullivan, disappears, The Shadow believes that the abduction is a trap meant to ensnare him.  He is happy to oblige, but may be underestimating his adversaries.

Over the last three years, I have read somewhere between 200 to 300 pages of Shadow comic books written by Matt Wagner, and I have enjoyed most of it.  Honestly, I cannot tell you exactly why, but it may be because I am a longtime fan of Matt Wagner's work.  It seems to be that all it takes is Wagner's name on a character I love (and I do love me some Shadow), and I am pleased.

Now, I have heard a few episodes of the original Shadow radio show and I have read a few of Walter Gibson's stories published as novels.  Wagner's story and art and graphical storytelling recapture the mood and sense of mystery I remember feeling when I first heard the Shadow coming through the speaker of a tape player and when I read my first Shadow novel.

Right now, Matt Wagner is the top guy when it comes to creating Shadow comic books.  Wagner knows the potential that lurks in the heart of The Shadow.  I can't wait for the next issue of The Shadow: The Death of Margo Lane.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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