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