By Justin McCarty
The saga of Mr. Crispy continues! Issue three of The Shadow Vol 3 is out, and it takes us a little deeper into the mystery of The Shadow’s investigation into President Wyatt and his aid Worthy Delaney. So far this story started out with strong social commentary notes, but then gets a little more subtle, the story gets even more subtle with this issue. At first glance, you might think there wasn’t much in this issue. You’d be wrong and haven’t been paying attention.
Mary is searching the city for Myra Reldon and is having no luck when she runs into some Shadow wannabes. Then she is rescued by some shady looking figures, one of them is Myra, it’s pretty obvious they are from Shadow’s network from way back. She doesn’t want Mary around, but she sends Mary with a message for The Shadow: his scarf. In a bit of a narrative leap, and with no discussion of her encounter with Myra, Mary begins administering epinephrine to jump-start The Shadow’s memory. In his flashback, we get an omniscient view of Worthy Delaney. To me, this is the real story in this issue. We get some insight into who this man is. Where he comes from. Worthy come across The Shadow as he deals with some Nazis. This turns out to be a real turning point in the life of Worthy and a clue to the mystery. After that, the story rolls quickly to its conclusion. Mary is about to give the scarf to Mr. Crispy as SWAT enters the room.
As with every other issue so far the real story is in the flashbacks. There is a strong contrast between the modern-day Shadow story, a Shadow story that is nothing like any other Shadow story, and a very traditional Shadow story told in the flashbacks. The best part of this book is the flashbacks. It’s is where we see The Shadow doing his thing, classic Shadow. It is also where you'll find all the story. It’s little-by-little each issue, but it really is the best parts. Mary and her story ground the other world for us; the flashbacks are it’s a framing device.
The tools that Si, Daniel, and Dan use to make this work are simple but effective. The book continues using this 2x4 pattern in the modern day and even opens up to a 2x2 at times. It moves the story quickly. They drop the grid altogether for the flashbacks, and the layouts become much less regular, pushing your eye around. There are tonal changes in those flashback scenes that go beyond just letting you know that you’re in the past. With such little complexity in the present day story, we get a chance to focus on that past. The plot isn’t being forced forward. Effective.
The issue took us back to when Worthy was a little boy on the streets of New York City. He runs with a bunch of hoodlums. He carries with him a book. That book is called The Managerial Revolution. Now, you would get a pretty good idea of who Worthy was as a boy without paying attention to the book he’s carrying. He states outright his view on the world. You can’t let the pencil necks run the world, he says. He’s also going to be a master manipulator. He also can be used. The Shadow uses him. But it’s that book he’s carrying that will give you real insight. You might not be familiar right off with the book, but it was pretty influential in the forties. In this book, James Burnham, a former Marxist, lays out what he believes to be the next threat to the individual: bureaucrats and wealthy business people that don’t really own anything. His views are some of the founding beliefs of the modern conservatives later in his life. The book is a major clue to what Worthy’s motivations might have been.
This book has been a slow burn for much of it, we are a long way away from getting all the secrets out, and we still haven’t moved very far in the present day. It’s all building to something. This is still a great book and hasn’t lost a step yet. The little details, the art style, and the classic Shadow in the flashbacks are making this a great read for me.
Shadow Vol. 3 #3
Writers: Si Spurrier & Dan Watters
Artist: Daniel HDR
Colorist: Natalia Marques
Letters: Simon Bowland
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment