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Shadow, The - The Death Of Margo Lane #5

    Ian Jane

  • Shadow, The - The Death Of Margo Lane #5

    Shadow, The - The Death Of Margo Lane #5
    Released by: Dynamite Entertainment
    Released on: October 5th, 2016.
    Written And Illustrated by: Matt Wagner
    Purchase From Amazon

    It all comes down to this, the fifth and final installment in Matt Wagner's The Shadow - The Death Of Margo Lane five issue mini-series, one of the finest doses of pulp fiction mainlined to the comic buying public in a long, long time.

    When this last chapter begins, The Shadow stands face to face with the daughter of the sinister Shiwan Khan, a descendent of none other than Ghengis Khan and a formidable foe even to someone as powerful as The Shadow! She tells him how her father was a brilliant man, but The Shadow, he knows better than that as he's able to see past politics and cultural differences to judge only good and evil. However, she knows he let her father die, and her cultire, its tradition, insists that she kill him even if she knows her old man was a fool. She also knows that, while he might try to hide it, The Shadow mourns the loss of Margo Lane - to put his mind at ease (and mess with his mind) she brings out her newest associate - Margo's corpse all dolled up in the garb of a member of the 'People's Army!'

    She explains to The Shadow how Margo came to be in her employ, and then instructs her new minion to pull her blade from her sheath and attack 'Ying Ko… The Defiler!' Margo, clearly not operating under her own free will, does just that, though The Shadow, clearly still in love with her, tries his damndest to talk her out of this assault. Before his words can take effect, they're assaulted by Empress Khan's men. As her armed goons come into the chamber, The Shadow serves out justice from the barrel of a .45!


    But The Shadow, his feelings for Margo Lane… they're more than just talk. If her life is on the line, will he really have what it takes to eliminate Khan and see that justice is truly served?

    Pulp fiction perfection, done right at the hands of an artist clearly in complete control of his chosen medium. Wagner's no newcomer, he's been doing this for a few decades now. He showed us in the Grendel/Shadow crossover what he could do with the character and in the last installment of this five issue series we get to see him cut loose. Free from the confines of the continuity attached to the Grendel series, with this run he gets to take The Shadow, an iconic character if ever there was one, in some decidedly new and interesting directions. This time around the cloaked vigilante's quest is driven as much by love as it is by want for justice, but the end result, inevitably, is the same - the weed of crime bears bitter fruit! Wagner writes this well, conjuring up villains that are perfectly despicable so that when The Shadow, who really does operate in a bit of a grey zone, lays into them and serves out cold, hard, deadly justice… well, we're on his side, not theirs. And yet, he feels. He loves Margo, and this complicates things, as love often does. This is not the type of territory we typically see the iconic character dragged through, but it sure does make for an interesting read.

    The artwork in this last chapter is just as good as it was in the first. Wagner's a master of art-deco backgrounds and costuming and given that this is a period piece, he gets ample opportunity to run rampant with this. Lots of detail, lots of style, some great action set pieces conveyed not with over the top theatrics but shadow, light, composition and taste. It's a beautiful thing, a wonderfully appropriate finish to a comic that has somehow subscribed to the old methods while managing to breathe new life into the medium.

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