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The Shade #1 Discussion

Written by Mr. Black on Wednesday, October 12 2011 and posted in Features
The Shade #1 Discussion

See what Outhousers are saying about DC's The Shade #1!

Here's what Outhouser Mr. Black has to say about The Shade #1!  Do you have an opinion?  Feel free to share it on the forum!

Ever since James Robinson concluded his epic Starman series in 2001, fans have been clamoring to know the secret to that series’ oldest mystery: The origin of the Shade. Years later, Robinson is back to finally answer that question in a 12 issue maxiseries, with the first issue dropping today.

Robinson’s output since his return to comics has been...uneven to say the least. His return to Opal City in Starman #81, a Blackest Night tie-in, was the strongest work he has delivered in years, but it still begged the question of whether Robinson still has what it takes to deliver a compelling tale about the shadowy, shadowy Mr. Richard Swift.

The Shade #1 answers that question with a resounding "maybe." The beats are all correct, and the characters are on model, but the dialogue between the Shade and Mikaal is a bit stiff at the outset. Things improve as the issue goes on, so I suppose Robinson is just hitting his stride. We shall have to see as the series progresses.

The story itself is intriguing. The Shade references October as "the month of my creation" early on, although he is reticent to say more. Some action follows with William Von Hammer, from Robinson’s Action Comics run, who bears a warning for the Shade. Whether or not Von Hammer will be able to deliver that warning is left up in the air by the issue’s somewhat surprising conclusion following the Shade’s confrontation with Deathstroke.

Cully Hamner’s art is excellent, as always. He captures the characters well, although his brighter, more cartoony style is a bit at odds with the character he is drawing. Still, I’m never one to say no to a Cully Hamner book.

For the continuity obsessed, this does seem to take place in the new DC Universe, if Deathstroke’s costume is any indication. As to the current state of Starman in the DCU, it appears that the character still has a legacy in some form or another if the Shade’s comment to Mikaal about "reclaiming the mantle of Starman" is any indication. Mikaal references the death of his lover, Tony, from Robinson’s Justice League: Cry for Justice as well, so it appears that has survived Flashpoint to some degree as well, for better or worse.

So, is this worth the price of admission? I certainly think so. Aside from some very small missteps with the dialogue, Robinson’s writing was generally sharp, and the Shade still feels like the Shade. The mystery of the Shade’s origin is enough to pull me in, and the budding mystery that Robinson is building in the present day shows promise as well. For Starman fans, this is a must buy; for non-fans, it is definitely worth checking out.

Written or Contributed by: Mr. Black

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