Friday, February 20, 2015
Dynamite has finally published a comic series which took more than a few minutes to read, and that's a good thing. The downside is that the story unfortunately had a cobbled-together feel which undermined the momentum of the narrative. But I must admit it was rather neat to read a yarn which blended together for the first time all three of Street and Smith's classic pulp stars, even if it was a flawed experience.
The biggest of those flaws was the artwork by Giovanni Timpano which admittedly seemed to improve as the saga continued through its six issues, but which to my mind never got above adequate. The storytelling, with a few exceptions, was mostly legible and while I did find myself getting confused because of a lack of distinctiveness in the faces, I will also give him points on mood.
But like nearly all the artists at Dynamite, the work came across as decidedly second tier, without the posh ease one should associate with something like this. Doc Savage often looked off model and The Avenger changes throughout. The Shadow looked the best, but then his face is often hidden.
Uslan's story has a kitchen sink feel to it a bit, lacking depth but not necessarily complexity. Characters come onto the stage and leave it with little aplomb or logic in places. Pat Savage takes the place of her cousin for a few pages, then leaves without any clear reason. Monk is on hand, but I don't recall other members of the Fab Five in evidence. But then few of the Shadow's helpers were in the story either.
We get a nice helping of villainy and I'll say little about this to avoid spoilers, but clearly Uslan knows the lore, perhaps a bit too much with lots of in jokes with characters names.
I cannot actually recommend this when it comes out in trade, but I cannot exactly not recommend it. For those interested in these characters, this series is worth taking a glance at and seeing whether it meets your pulp specifications.
The covers though by Alex Ross are, as always, excellent.