Comic Vine Review

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The Shade #4 - Times Past: 1944, Family Ties, Part III

5

A moment from The Shade's past is unveiled in the fourth issue of his limited series.

The Good

If you thought writer James Robinson wouldn't be able to top the three previous issues of THE SHADE, then you're in for a rude awakening. When I initially signed up to review THE SHADE #4 I hadn't realized that the artist featured on this issue would be Darwyn Cooke. What an absolutely wonderful surprise.

One of the things that most impresses me about writers is when they take into account an artist's very specific and unique artistic style when writing their story. Robinson definitely does that here. The story he concocts feels as though it's been specifically tailored to Cooke's very unique minimalist pulpy style; one that compliments the story in the fourth issue perfectly. The story presented here has an "all-American" recipe and even includes an appearance from the Vigilante fighting Nazi sympathizers. The issue is both breathtaking and unique, and serves to suck the reader even deeper into the Shade's origins. Although set prior to the current Shade story, Robinson manages to seamlessly connect the story in this issue to the current Shade story. The change in artist from Tony Harris to Darwyn Cooke, when (and if) DC ever decides to compile THE SHADE into a graphic novel format, will aid in taking the readers back in time. Here, the change in artistic styles serves to help tell this wonderful story, which I am anxiously awaiting to see more of.

The Bad

If it ain't broke, don't "fix" it. Nothing bad here.

The Verdict

Of the three issues of THE SHADE, this one is by far my favorite. As we travel to uncover the Shade's origin, the story grows increasingly more interesting. Paired with the art of Darwyn Cooke, THE SHADE #4 tops this weeks comics as one of the best. Robinson has once again crafted an interesting, alluring story whilst maintaining the Shade in a shroud of mystery. I highly recommend picking up the previous issues, although this does feel like a good jumping on point for a new reader. Gorgeous book all around.

9 Comments

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hpwaz

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Edited By hpwaz

This was my favorite issue as well. As someone who's never read the Shade before this series, I can't believe how much I loved this issue! The appearances of some golden age characters (Vigilante, Madam Fatal) makes me hope we will see cameos of more classic obscure characters!

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GalacticPunt

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Edited By GalacticPunt

Erm... the change in artist is from Cully Hamner to Darwyn Cooke. The only bittersweet thing about this maxi-series (besides the possibility it might not get finished!) is that Tony Harris wasn't available for interiors. The guy's a genius.

Hopefully Darwyn Cooke has enough cachet to get new people to try this book, and they'll stick around with the great other artists that are lined up. I'm hoping James Robinson has better news on his next podcast appearance. I want a happy ending to "The Shade Death Watch."

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Jonny_Anonymous

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Edited By Jonny_Anonymous

I was not expecting the little twist in this book and I have to admit, I LOL'd. Very cool to see Vigilante as well.

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JonesDeini

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Edited By JonesDeini

Darwin cook drawing vigilante and Shade in a dapper, 1940's suit...what more need be said?

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longbowhunter

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Edited By longbowhunter

One of the best out of this week's bunch. My favorite issue of the series so far. I thought issue #3 was a misstep but this one more than made up for it.

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Gordo789

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Edited By Gordo789

I think this was the best book to come out this week. An excellent jumping on point for people who have been missing out, it's filled with a great story and wonderful art. The transition from Cully Hamner to Darwyn Cooke was absolutely seamless because this issue is all a big flashback. My only complaint was that the lettering of the narration in cursive script was a little difficult to read at times. Definitely a case of form over function.

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feargalr

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Edited By feargalr

This gets better every issue... also one of the rare times I didn't actually see a twist coming which was great... Though I can't help but think that the review is being skewed by the very obvious sexual tension on the podcast LOL

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Mumbles

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Edited By Mumbles

cooke is the man. wish he was doing more shade

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jsphsmth

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Edited By jsphsmth

I fail to understand why people continue to suggest that The Shade will not be collected into trades.

DC Senior VP of Sales Bob Wayne states "I'm sure it will sell more copies as a collection than it will as a periodical, but we're happy with "The Shade" creatively and commercially right now."

Sounds like they expected a large trade-waiting crowd.