I’ve only reviewed one other Shadow book for this site, and I remember enjoying it quite a bit. I can’t say I enjoyed this 2014 (yes, 2014) Special One-Shot as much as that one which featured Harry Houdini, but I’m sure there’s some enjoyment to be had here for longtime fans of the series. The story takes place in New York City and revolves around a new car factory. The Richter Auto factory resides in a seedy part of town and intentionally makes cars that the residents of these poverty-stricken areas can afford. Since the plant isn’t in the best area, those who work there are also seedy characters involved in various illegal activities. This infuriates those who are out of work-a lot of times unemployed people will wait outside the plant’s doors waiting to jump an employee in order to take out their frustration. This all seems relatively normal-a businessman sets up a company and gives those less fortunate a chance at a real, honest living instead of working in the streets. However, employees start disappearing. The Shadow entrusts Jericho Druke with the task of getting an inside look on Richter. The thing is, Druke is a black man and racism is still very alive during this time period so he could be in for a world of trouble.
I don’t want to give too much away, but there are some clever tie-ins during this book. For example, The Shadow is really named Kent Allard. He was a great fighter pilot in World War I and went under the name The Black Eagle. He faked his death and became The Shadow, the vigilante we know today. Turns out in this book his Black Eagle days come back into play when someone in the story recognizes him as this old moniker. There was a lot of dialogue, and I’d be lying if I said I was totally enthralled in the story the whole time-but overall, it’s good. I definitely would’ve liked more action as a few pages finally allowed some breathing room towards the end-but for me it wasn’t enough. Also, the ending felt a bit forced and predictable. That said, the villain in this book is downright evil (there’s a few scenes that are really messed up) and the setup to the whole story as well as some intricate details are well-written.
The art in the book was solid. The more gruesome scenes especially hit home in all their gory glory. I have to give the artist credit for being able to keep my attention even though the issue is a bit weighed down with dialog. The angles he chose and the different moments he decided to capture were great choices.
Overall, I can only really recommend buying this book if you’re a big fan of The Shadow. I can’t justify paying $7.99 for this book even if it is 48 pages. I enjoyed this book for the most part, but for me it didn’t do enough to stand out from other titles on the shelves.
Writer: Phil Hester Artist: Ivan Rodriguez Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $7.99 Release Date: 1/14/15 Format: One-Shot; Print/Digital