Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Shade #4 (of 12)

It's distressing to hear that sales have been low for The Shade because it includes some of James Robinson's best work as he returns to the character made famous by his inclusion in Robinson's now-classic Starman series.

As I wrote in this review, The Shade is a dark, conflicted character who is now fighting (more or less) on the side of the angels.

One of the neat features in the Starman series was the occasional venture into the past, courtesy of the stories labeled "Times Past." That same method is used in this issue to illustrate a hidden part of The Shade's life, and it's a real delight.

The story, set in 1944, includes a look at the amoral Shade from years past, how he comes in conflict with some Nazis, some dark secrets he has hidden, and the Golden Age heroes he recruits to help in the fight (longtime fans will anticipate one, but the other is a complete surprise).

What's even better is that the issue is drawn by Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone, which would make this issue an instant sale for me whether or not I'd been reading it all along.

The book is great fun, with lots of twists and turns, wonderfully-realized characters and, of course, terrific artwork.

If you missed it in the "New 52" rush, you should look harder. You should be reading this comic.

Grade: A


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