Re-mastered from a 1988 graphic novel, The Shadow 1941 finds The Shadow and his network of resources trying to save a young woman, and the world, from the malevolent Nazi threat! As the mystery of this woman’s connection to the Nazi war-machine unravels, Lamont Cranson must stop at nothing to save this woman, because doing so will also avert a cataclysmic turn in the war.
While the actual book was written in 1988, Michael Kaluta’s art feels like it came from the pulp-pages of a 1940s book. The tone of the art sets the mood for the noir-world of The Shadow. I don’t know how this is possible, but the artwork captures the same feel of the old-time Shadow radio program. Katula’s ability shines in these pages.
Denny O’Neil, likewise, also knows how to tell a story. He captures the intrigue and mystery a good Shadow story should have. The book, however, feels like it was written in 1988. Blocks of dialogue fill the panels. Exposition often explains what the art is already communicating.
This doesn’t necessarily diminish the book, but readers should be prepared for a different type of storytelling. I found it initially jarring until I reminded myself that comics were written in this style over twenty years ago. Once I did that, the style lent itself to the noir, “back-in-the-day” feel of the graphic novel.
At the end of the day, this is a great book. It transports the reader back in time and communicates the sense of intrigue, mystery, desperation and horror a good Shadow story should convey.