This issue of Shaft picks up post private dick but pre sex machine to all the chicks. He is still one bad mother fucker though. No, that wasn’t censored because I don’t have any backup singers. What do you think I am? Made of money? Backup singers are expensive even on a luxurious internet writer’s salary. I have yachts to buy dammit! Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, Shaft… John Shaft, the man who looks after his brother-man. It looks like we’re going allllll the way back to the beginning on this series. Fresh from the military, not even a respected detective yet, John Shaft is tied to several murders, one of whom is his girlfriend or wife, I don’t know, I didn’t read anything before this. The cops let him skate so he can find the murderer and later he gets picked up by the mob and told to look for someone connected with his murdered girl-wife (or wife-friend if you prefer). Classic Fist Full of Dollars scenario, Shaft is working both sides while they all think they’re working Shaft. Which is good because Shaft gets restless if he’s not being worked. It’s very important to work the Shaft. There I hit every single mandatory joke in a Shaft review, I can move on.
That’s pretty much it. The book has a nice classic feel, the art is really great and reminds me of Steve Dillon, it’s very clean and there are some real evocative pages. The plot is pretty straight forward and not really all that subtle. If you’ve consumed enough of these kind of stories you can kind of call this beat for beat based on what I’ve read so far. That’s not always a bad thing but you really have to rely on the characterization to drive you through the basic plot. This particular issue has some solid characterization so we’ll have to see if they can keep it up.
There is no action in this issue, it’s all plot and character beats to get us to the next chapter. Stories like this usually have a slow burn to give you time to really understand the personalities at play. You need to know who everyone is and why they’re doing what they’re doing so that their future actions make sense. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next issue there’s no action either, just more learning about the people who will influence future events.
It’s a solid book but it’s hard to retain. It’s kind of like vanilla pudding, which is ironic given that the character is anything but vanilla pudding. I read this and it just kind of passed through me, not in a bad way, just kind of like a ghost. It was there and then it was gone and I had to keep referring back to it as I wrote this because there just wasn’t a lot of meat on these bones. I’m curious to see how it plays out though, I’m not dying to see what happens next but if it’s available next month I might pick it up.
Writer: David F. Walker Artist: Bilquis Everly Colorist: Daniela Miwa Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 2/4/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital