The Shadow 1941: Hitler's Astrologer
by Dennis O'Neil and Michael Kaluta
Cover Artist: Tom Kidd
Review by Gayle Surrette
Dynamite Entertainment Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781606904299
Date: 08 October 2013
List Price $19.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The lock is the mind of one man, the seed his own fear, the key, yet to be found, must be subtle. The hand that turns it, like the hand of fate, must not flinch from the evil it must release. And who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.
The Shadow: 1941
Denny O'Niel & Michael Kaluta
Mark Chiarello, Nick Jainschigg,
and John Wellington
Re-Mastered by Mike Kelleher
Original Editor: Larry Hama
The Shadow began as a collection of serialized dramas in pulp novels and comics, radio drama, and finally in several films culminating with the 1994 film, The Shadow (Director: Russell Mulcahy, Alec Baldwin as Lamont Cranston/The Shadow). I remember hearing various adult family members in my childhood quoting, "Who knows what evil lucks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows." Always quoted with that sort of drop in the voice that meant that something dark, mysterious, and more than likely dangerous was meant by that line.
Now The Shadow again appears in graphic form in The Shadow: 1941, Hitler's Astrologer. It's Easter Sunday, 1941. The United States has yet to enter the war, though the country has been supplying material to Great Britain and some of the other allies. The story opens with Gretchen Baur running from men who are trying to capture her.
The Shadow and his helpers have been watching Gretchen because they know that she is the key in a puzzle that they are trying to unravel. She's in with the upper tier of Hitler's advisers because of her father, Heimlich Baur, who is astrologer to Hitler. Gretchen is also an astrologer and, in her father's opinion, better than him.
Lamont Cranston and Margo Lane help Gretchen escape the men who are after her. Gretchen doesn't trust them because she's been in deep cover for long enough to be very suspicious. The Shadow needs her on their side because he needs to foil Hitler's plans but, even more, he needs revenge on someone in the inner circle for something that happened long, long ago.
The Shadow is working for good, but he's not necessarily a good person. He's dark, dangerous, and constantly fighting his personal demons to maintain a public persona of studied indolence.
Re-mastered, the art is true to the 1941 time period in dress and colors. The art flows with the story, using panels and gutter for pacing and to control the action.
I read an electronic advance reader copy and found some of the text difficult to read. I'm not sure if this was the lettering or simply my screen but with an electronic copy you can adjust the page size for better readability.
The story holds up and has enough misdirection and twists to keep even the most jaded reader engrossed until the very last page. The story takes place with some historical figures and matching enough of the history and myth of the period to be possible within the parameters. Well done and well crafted.
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