The Shadow Annual shows us that classic side of The Shadow which we are most familiar with. Cunning, intimidating, in your face. Ande Parks has created a story which is easy for the modern audience to follow as a pulp story and hero. Not as great as the ongoing series, but does enough to do justice for this fan favorite from Dynamite.
While a solid story, it is really only something you can enjoy as a fan of The Shadow already. Lamont Cranston and Margo Lane travel to Las Vegas because he hears rumors of an unspeakable evil brewing in the nearby desert. Some parts of the story were hard to understand, but what you could follow was well executed. As usual we do get that deep story in terms of seeing what makes these villains tick or put them in the situations they find themselves in now. Showing his deductive skills as Cranston, his intimidating nature as The Shadow, to great action sequences. This you were able to appreciate when you weren’t distracted by the dialogue which took up a lot of space. The art is just good enough as well despite seeming very rushed and inconsistent. Doesn’t stack up to what we are usually treated with from the ongoing series, yet still captures The Shadow in the right light so to speak.
This was supposed to be a heartbreaking tale of loss, betrayal, and vengeance, set against the neon of Sin City as per the description given for this book, but it didn’t quite deliver on this. Not perfect, but still gives you what you want from The Shadow as a hero. The story is gritty, mature, and his presence is always known when he takes the stage. Like any other annual it still manages to stand on its own and has a story which is character-driven. In the end it’s fun if you are a fan of The Shadow, can’t ask for anything more.