The Shadow - issue 11.
Writer - Victor Gischler.
Art - Aaron Campbell.
Colours - Carlos Lopez.
Cover by Francesco Francavilla.
Shadow created by Walter B. Gibson.
Published by Dynamite Comics.
I luckily got the Francesco Francavilla cover. He does a lot of the variants for the Dynamite titles and I always try and get his versions if possible. This is another great one.
This is the last issue in the Spanish Revolution storyline that features George Orwell as a character. The Shadow along with Miles Crofton are facing the final gunfight at an old castle. Whilst Orwell and Crofton face the army and a tank, the Shadow faces off with the masked Black Sparrow (the henchlady of El Ray.) After a climatic fight she is pushed from the battlements by the Shadow.
I have to say that this is possibly the best written Dynamite book I have read thus far. It opens on a gothic narration and we discover the true nature of the pretend king. Quickly the action switches to Orwell and Crofton mid battle, bullets and bricks flying. The dialogue remains cool and interesting but retains the feel of the era. When asked by Orwell what they should do Crofton replies:
'Shoot bad guys. Find the boss.'
Saying that however the book is not just about being cool in the 1930s. It has been written with a real mind to language. It has a certain poetry that seems in homage to the presence of of Orwell as a willing participant. It has a romantic feel for the era with a cool and melancholy track listing. As i was reading it I began to wish that it had been produced in black and white.
'I hear fate laughing.'
As we scale the castle you can hear the far off laugh of a cackling Vincent Price. The dialogue and the narration sparkles with both cool and profound. Gischler is never afraid of the brutal, the push from the tower shows us the difference between some of the pulp heroes and some of today's less violent superhero crowd.
The true climatic scene (more so than the appearance of a tank) is the fight between The Shadow and The Black Sparrow. they circle each other in a really well crafted sequence. Throwing words and blows at each other. You never know who will come out on top. Stoic, romantic, violent drama bristles off the page. The Shadow gains the upper hand and after a tender moment pushes the woman from the battlements. Two words echo on the two pages 'No' from the Sparrow and a ghostly 'Lamont' from future times.
'I am just fate's trigger man.'
Really great writing. The art communicates and flows with beauty. I absolutely loved this issue.
It ends on Orwell sitting at his typewriter and staring out of his window. You know he is thinking of his adventures with the Shadow.
Buy this book!