Writer James Robinson has revealed in past interviews that The Shade's 12-issue series will delve into the character's identity by taking him back in time and throughout the world, recounting his past experiences. These moments in his life, places and experiences will open him up to the reader and lead them to understand who he is from all he has endured. The third issue of THE SHADE gives us our very first glimpse of that. The book opens in 1874 and the Shade is in another time and place, with very different ambitions. Robinson glazes over this memory briefly, bringing the reader to the present after that first page to reveal the way that the character has evolved over time. How has he adjusted to the way people and life have changed? We get a glimpse of that in this issue.
This issue takes the Shade to Australia, and re-introduces him to Diablo Blacksmith, a magician and a rival of the Shade. Putting his pride to the side, Shade seeks guidance from Blacksmith after he discovers that he must defeat the Mangar-Kunjer-Kunja, a giant lizard God who is considered to be the creator of mankind according to the Rella Manerinja, one of the first known Australian aboriginal tribes. How does the Shade defeat this Lizard God who appears to be immune to his shadow powers?
Robinson delivers yet another phenomenal issue, digging deeper into the identity of the Shade. We discover that the Shade isn't necessarily one of a kind and that he does happen to have at least one relative who is still alive. This is interesting because the Shade (apparently) has no soul, and has been alive for well over a century. Robinson delivers a smart, sassy and charismatic character who will appeal to the masses. If you are looking for solid storytelling, this is one book you don't want to miss out on.
My only complaint is the way the writer connects the Shade's mission to the scenes at the end of the story. The purpose of the battle has yet to be fully explained, but I am trying not to judge it...yet.
I absolutely love Cully Hamner's work on this title -- it's absolutely gorgeous. He captures expression and emotion beautifully and I absolutely adore his portrayal of the Shade. The scenes where the Shade sheds bits of clothing during battle and gains them again (ex. where he is walking up the stairs of Darnell's home) is a fantastic visual. Everything about the Shade is shadowy, it's hard to tell what's real. This is part of what makes the character so alluring. By far one of the bet series coming from DC right now. This is an okay starting point if you are looking to pick it up, although I do recommend going back and picking up the two previous issues as well, if possible. A lot of fun, overall.