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God of Comics – The Shadow #3

God Of Comics, Reviews

October 17, 2017

The Shadow #3 (Dynamite Entertainment)

What evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.

Maniacal laughter ensues, violent lives brought to a violent end.

There’s a thing about looking backward, perhaps, and thinking that life was better and simpler back in the past, when people lived to the ripe old age of died in childbirth and doctors refused to wash their hands because why would they? A gentleman’s hands are always clean was the excuse given, and thousands died while going to doctors. That’s violent, right? A violent bit of nonsense that resulted in full graveyards.

Someone once said that the conservative mindset is rooted in the idea of moral perfection having already been found, and that any challenge to what is has to, therefore, be evil. It’s an arrogance rooted in the belief that we have already come as far as it is possible to come, when any observer could tell you that everything moves, changes, grows. The only still things are dead, and even they are given over to entropy.

Taking this as an idea, it stands to reason that a still morality is going to become entropic: it must decay, fester, turn evil. Hubris and arrogance are the roots of evil, then, the certainty that comes with feeling that one is done growing, done changing, done trying to make the world better.

Objective reality, of course, cares nothing for ideology. When good men step aside and allow evil men to rule, when lies are not called out and become a matter of policy, the innocents that are murdered remain dead. No amount of thoughts and prayers are going to bring them back. No amount of ignoring the problem is going to make climate change any less real, and no military might is going to halt the destruction to come.

It occurs to me that might be the most horrifying thing about being the Shadow – the Shadow knows that evil. The Shadow has to be able to see the cause, the course, the inevitable ripple effects that result in trauma, pain, more evil. Violence cycling down, tarnishing everything noble with entropy, convincing people to destroy what they believe their god created so that their god will come back and save them. From the everything that they themselves destroyed.

Here’s the truth: we’re all going to die. Sooner or later. There may be a heaven or a hell, but within the context of his own mythos the Shadow will live on. He can be hurt, butchered, crippled, and killed but the killing never takes. He heals and returns, heals and returns, heals and returns because when you know evil like he does you cannot turn away from it, cannot do anything other than fight it with everything in you.

Si Spurrier and Dan Watters are exactly the sort of writers that get this, a sliver of that knowing taking root in their souls. It’s enough to grow into a tale where the Shadow is forced to confront the root causes of the symptoms he has spent a century fighting. Here, we get him burnt and helpless, recovering from wounds that should have killed him but, again, death just doesn’t take.

The stories of the Shadow in that world, though, have inspired copycats that miss the point, because they don’t know. His nurse, meanwhile, is a woman he rescued from a school shooting and she’s trying to do him a solid, keeping him hidden and safe from the many evils that threaten him… all while trying to heal the mind and body, delving into the dark sins that drive one who knows.

Daniel HDR handles art, setting tones, lines, and colors that differentiate flashbacks, time periods, eras, mythologies; it’s a strange confidence that lets him experiment with form and create various styles that work well to build a cohesive whole.

And as good as the individual pieces are, the whole is better still. Do not miss this.

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