The second volume of this iteration of the Shadow is less a departure from the first and more inline with the concept of a season of stories told in comic book form. Written by Cullen Bunn and drawn by Giovanni Timpano, “The Shadow Volume 2” #1 picks up the trail of the Society of United Magicians. Having wronged the Shadow’s friends Harry and Bess Houdini, the Society is in the Shadow’s sites.
“The Shadow Volume 2” #1 is a fine book, especially for the price, and it has no shortage of action. The violence and the bloodshed is depicted in a straightforward manner, with little filter as drawn by Giovanni Timpano. That’s all well and good but, for a story with a pulp protagonist set in an era of noir adventure and radio dramas, it would definitely enhance the storytelling to go for more implied actions than shock factor. Timpano uses heavy shadow lines on his figures, not unlike Sal Velluto, but his characters have less personality and diversity than Velluto brought to his drawings. Many of the characters (with Shadow being a notable exception) are depicted with mouths agape to express surprise/horror/amazement, but the expression is nearly overused, particularly from a profile angle. Timpano’s storytelling is clean and sharp, but his figures need to own more of the space panel-to-panel.
The panel structure varies page to page, giving the story uneven pacing but accentuating the action and drama packed into the Shadow’s hunt. “The Shadow Volume 2” #1 is a solid visual tale, but it could certainly have some more pop and sizzle. Timpano’s art makes an apparently easy job for Marco Lesko, who uses a traditional palette filled with bold color work. Simon Bowland’s letters float through the story, keeping the art clean while serving the tale. The Shadow’s dialogue is strong and haunting, as it should be, right down to the “Hahaha” that trails off the page.
“The Shadow Volume 2” #1 is a decent read. It will certainly be more attractive to Shadow fans, but it’s a fine start for the price. It fells like it should be a bit darker or — pardon the pun — more shadowy, but it serves the purpose of introducing the Society of United Magicians to a new set of readers.