What lurks within The Shadow?
Published in July of 2014 “The Shadow” #0 a one-shot comic written by Cullen Bunn and drawn by Colton Worley with cover art by Gabriel Hardman.
From Dynamite.com: “Secrets of The Shadow’s past are revealed as he meets Houdini! The Shadow infiltrates the sanctum of an esoteric society of murderous magicians who are hellbent on escaping the ultimate trap-death itself! in order to thwart their plans, though, he must evade twisted traps and solve spellbinding puzzles. A good-or-evil magician never reveals his secrets…but The Shadow knows.”
From radio serials, movies, and comics, the character of The Shadow has been a favorite of mine and when I happened upon this gem while browsing at my local comic shop I was instantly excited and brought it home for review.
Opening the cover reveals Lamont Cranston learning escape artistry from none other than Harry Houdini. This is awesome. The brief description given on the website barely scratches the surface of the epic 32 page adventure you receive.
Summary (Spoilers Ahead)
Years after his training, The Shadow returns to The Society of United Magicians, a group founded by Houdini. They want the knowledge that Houdini holds in the afterlife and they believed they can obtain it from Houdini’s elderly wife Bess – the only female character portrayed in this comic.
Bess is tied up, physically threatened, and abused, but has the courage to not give in to the cabal’s demands and refuses to reveal the secrets of Houdini’s message to her.
The Shadow must race through deadly traps in order to stop the miscreant mages from obtaining Houdini’s secrets from beyond. The story is truly standalone but the ending leaves you wanting more.
Bess appears in only a few pages of the comic and is portrayed as a willful woman protecting the secrets of her husband. Nevertheless, she is a resource for the villain and a friend to be rescued by The Shadow.
As a fan of the genre and The Shadow, I give this one an A+ but it fails in terms of the feminist point of view and may lose that audience simply because Bess starts out strong in her interrogation, but after rescue requires further protection from the protagonist and may lose any final gift her husband left to her for the sake of her safety.
The artist has a solid grasp of the noir genre. There are two covers available: the standard color copy and the rare black and white cover (to appeal to the collectors). Purchase The Shadow #0 on Dynamite’s website or at your local comic book store.