You know what the best Shaft story I’ve ever consumed was? I’ve seen the movies, I’m aware of the character and the genre it’s in. It’s a genre I love and has created some very compelling media. The best adaptation I’ve ever consumed was ‘Cage’ from the Marvel Max line. I still read it a couple of times a year, whenever I have time to read 5 issues. Why do I mention that? Well, this is ending up being the exact same story. Note for note. Which is fine, Cage was ripping off Fistful of Dollars, as mentioned last month. But whereas Cage was taking the basic premise from Fistful of Dollars, Shaft seems to just be copying Cage. After reading two issues I pretty much know where this is going now. I was a little on the fence, wanting to see the path, but I think I not only see the destination but I think I see every step along the way. All that being said even being a carbon copy of Cage it makes Shaft the second best Shaft story I’ve ever consumed. There only other thing of note is that there is a killer Wizard of Oz metaphor used throughout the story. I don’t really want to ruin it for you but the Wizard of Oz has been mined for pretty much everything it’s worth but this is one I haven’t seen before. Maybe because I haven’t read everything ever, it’s new to me. It was novel enough to keep my interest piqued and I think it added a perspective that I haven’t considered before.
The story and the art are solid, even if it has been… inspired by other, better, stories. If you haven’t read those other stories but are a fan of gritty ‘urban’ stories (I hesitate to use the word Blaxploitation since that implies a bit of a camp element that this does not contain, it takes itself very seriously) then there is a lot here for you. As always if you are a fan of Shaft then this is pretty much Shaft at his best so that makes it a definite choice.