Monday, June 18, 2012

The Shade #9 (of 12)

This series seems to be flying under the radar. There were speculations early on that it might not sell well enough to make it to the end of its 12-issue run.

Thankfully, it's hanging on - which is great, because it's actually a darned good series.

I should hastily add that it's not for kids - it's a bit too sophisticated for young minds, and the violence is a bit extreme. Lots of characters come to bad ends here.

But the selling point is the concept - of a character, The Shade, who has a long and unknown past (which tends to happen when you're immortal). His motivations are as mysterious as his power, which is complete control of a mysterious dark force.

This series has explored his largely-hidden family, the lengths he will go to in order to protect them, and what happens when relatives go astray.

But there's one problem with The Shade: he's just too powerful. He's able to face off against demons and monsters and scarcely break a sweat. Even death seems to offer no threat to him.

This issue may solve that problem, though, as he finds himself up against a truly formidable opponent.

It's great to see writer James Robinson back at the top of his game - this series evokes his earlier success with Starman, which makes sense since he's focused on one of the most interesting characters from that series.

The art has been a mixed bag over the course of the series, with different artists sitting in on different story arcs, but I do like the work here by Frazer Irving. It's a style that gives the story a painted look, with cinematic layouts and beautiful coloring.

So, a great story that's more horror than superhero, excellent art and inspired characters. That's what we call a great combination!

Grade: A-


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