THE SHADE by James Robinson

DC Comics
Author: James Robinson, Illustrators: Cully Hamner , Frazer Irving, Javier Pulido, Gene Ha, Darwyn Cooke , Jill Thompson

You know the big ones. “Watchmen,” “Sandman,” “Marvels,” “Maus: A Survivor’s Tale” and the like, but have you ever heard of “Starman?” DC’s revival of a classic character from the 90’s? Probably not, which is a shame as it stands with all the amazing series I just listed. What spun-off from that series was a phenomenal villain named the Shade.

A major fan favorite he hung around after “Starman” ended. Popping up here and there he was a surprise (but welcome) pick for a DC: New 52 mini-series. James Robinson, who wrote “Starman,” set off “the Shade” in a long-form story to learn his origin. You see the Shade is a very old man and has lived many, many lives. While he’s never been a good man, there are points where he isn’t bad. He would be the last one to call himself reformed and it shows as he travels around the world meeting figures from his past. The man is nothing but mystery and even if you know nothing about him before you read this book you’ll want to know everything the second you start this book. His rich history gets a digging through and even with the stories you’re given you want more. It’s a pity there are only 12 issues because the richness could have lasted 50.

James Robinson is well known for his character driven work. He’s crafted the Shade as a suave, dapper, deadly and cunning man who can seduce with just a word. His seduction causes you to just want to absorb everything you can about the character. Following the character as he travels his past teaches shows why the Shade is one of the best characters ever. The myriad of artists bring to life the brilliant words. Cully Hammer and Javier Pulido, being the main two, take the brunt of the work and take the different stories they respectively work on shine them through. Supporting them is a dream list of artists: Frazer Irving, Darwyn Cooke, Jill Thompson, Gene Ha, and J. Bone. Each showcasing their own strengths with their individual stories. A finer comic could not have been crafted. Here’s hoping we get more of this soon.