Overwritten and more than a tad disconnected from the event that enables its existence, “Justice League of America #7.3: Shadow Thief,” written by Tom DeFalco with art by Chad Hardin is a nice exploration of the latest incarnation of one of Hawkman’s most notable foes. In that regard, this comic book holds a connection to the main title, but DeFalco takes it a step farther and connects Shadow Thief to A.R.G.U.S., the governing body behind the assembly of the Justice League of America team.
Alternating between creeping tendrils and wispy vapors, Shadow Thief’s powers are brilliantly depicted in Chad Hardin’s solid, enjoyable art not unlike that of Pasqual Ferry. The construction of the figures and the scenery shines through in the cleanliness of Hardin’s art. “Justice League of America” #7.3 opens with an ambitious image of a figure being flung from a skyscraper to a waiting cityscape. While many of the buildings appear otherworldly, there is simply no denying the effort Hardin put into constructing this eye-popping scene. The perspective gets a little slippery, or perhaps over-rendered, in spots throughout the rest of the issue, but the figures and the interactions are energetic and emotive. This is a smart looking book that spans the origins of the Shadow Thief and crosses through the legend of Hawkman and even the Daemonites.
The story itself is a by-the-numbers origin tale. As a spy in her civilian life, the Shadow Thief finds the tech, suffers a loss, and vows vengeance. Nothing spectacular or flashy, but DeFalco climbs up into the character’s thoughts and gives readers more than they really need to appreciate the character and understand her story. There are twice as many caption boxes as there are word balloons, which detracts from the energy and flow of the story a bit. The story itself is revelatory and shows readers that the Shadow Thief has just as many questions about her powers and their origins as the readers do.
Not a bad story, but there’s no direct link or continuation indicated in the direction of “Forever Evil.” Actually, Shadow Thief seems less evil than most of the characters getting these one-shots. Her acquired hatred of aliens makes her a perfect ally for Lex Luthor, which might lead to other stories at another time. For now, “Justice League of America” #7.3 serves as a nice character study for the damsel of the dark. It would be more poignant if Hawkman had a larger role in the DC Universe, but it’s enjoyable enough as a stand-alone tale.