The Shadow Volume Two: Revolution, published by Dynamite Comics, written by Victor Gischler and illustrated by Jack Herbert, Aaron Campbell, and Giovanni Timpano was first published in 2013. For the purposes of this review, as with the previous review of The Shadow Volume One: The Fire of Creation, I will be dealing with the trade version collecting issues seven through eleven.
I don’t really know what I was expecting with this particular collection. I think that I expected a continuation of the events from The Fire of Creation, though that storyline was decently tied up in the trade collecting the first six issues. However, these issues deal with a completely different storyline with no mention whatever of the events of the earlier volume. I expected that those events would have at least been referenced, but they were not. As a matter of fact, these issues actually take place before those described in the first issues.
To concisely discuss the events of this volume, it is very safe to say that they simply deal with The Shadow, aka Lamont Cranston, dealing with various revolutionaries in Spain. That fact is obviously hinted at in the title of the collection. The Shadow finds himself dealing with various criminal figures in Spain while trying to track down the murderers of a man and wife that were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. In so doing he finds himself involved with arms dealers and drug dealers, and ultimately comes face to face with a menacing figure known as El Rey.
El Rey has a henchwoman, the Black Sparrow. When The Shadow first encounters her he recognizes her as someone he has met previously, a female military leader who he spends a night of passion with after leaving a diplomatic party. The Black Sparrow is a worthy adversary for The Shadow, as she single-handedly beats him on a couple of different occasions in hand-to-hand combat. Her skin-tight leather outfit and Zorro-style mask coupled with her chosen weapon of a bullwhip (a weapon she wields with deadly accuracy) hearken back to her Spanish origins. It is unclear whether The Shadow is “pulling his punches,” so to speak, because of his familiarity with this villain’s alter ego or if she is legitimately superior to him when it comes to fighting.
Needless to say, The Shadow is ultimately victorious in his tussles with Black Sparrow and El Rey, but the how and why will be left a secret for potential readers. It is also amusing to note that this volume once again intersects with history, as Lamont Cranston encounters a familiar figure during his travels, a writer by the name of George Orwell. It is an amusing addition to the comic, though the inclusion of Orwell as a character doesn’t have a marked effect on appreciation of the storyline.
The story seemed to take a different sort of turn than in the first volume, and the artwork was darker and more menacing. I did not personally feel as if the story was as satisfactorily rounded out as The Fire of Creation, as it seemed to veer a little too often from the primary storyline. However, the darker artwork made up for this flaw and pulled the reader in more effectively than in the first volume.
All in all, there are things to love here and things that are less satisfying than they could be. However, this volume did not really disappoint. The storyline was satisfying enough while allowing us to spend some more time with The Shadow. We see more humanity in the character of Lamont Cranston, and that’s a welcome addition, as well.
Generally speaking, The Shadow Volume Two: Revolution, is worth taking a look at for any fans of the character. There are worse ways that one could spend one’s time, for sure.