Dynamite Entertainment 2016
Written & Illustrated by Matt Wagner
Coloured by Brennan Wagner
Lettered by A Larger World Studios
The Shadow faces off with an unexpected threat in the dangerous lair of the Tong overlord, the Red Empress. An epic battle pits the Master of Darkness in a struggle for his very life…one which he dare not win!
What an amazing story this was. I think we knew from the get go that Margo really couldn’t be dead. I mean that’s something that just couldn’t have possibly have happened, right? So as we’ve seen the Shadow go on this journey through his own feelings of denial, rage and anger that have led him to the daughter of his greatest enemy well what happens here should not have come as any surprise.
Matt’s an amazing talent and what he’s able to do through his words and his visuals stuns me and makes in awe of what he’s capable of. I adore the fact that Shiwan Khan’s daughter is the one making his life a living hell. The conversation that they have here is illuminating and ties things up extremely well. We understand the reasoning and the way things play out here in ways that you normally wouldn’t.
When she pulls out the piece de resistance however it’s kind of jaw dropping. His reaction is priceless and what happens is beyond anything we could have hoped for here. It’s the ending to end all stories and while it may not be as literal as the title of the story makes it out to be it certainly is more apropos.
There are several things that happen here, Margo is found out to be alive and in control of the Red Empress, he saves her and defeats the Empress and then the book ends. Right and wrong and yes but no. Doesn’t matter how I word it because what Matt has built up here since issue one and through the last page of this issue is a story that’s meant to change the world of the Shadow forever and he effectively does that.
He does that in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine and the characterisation, story development, plot advancement here are done so impeccably.
Then there’s the artwork and that’s equally as impressive. Matt’s a master when it comes to making sure what we see on the page is exactly what’s intended. The colouring by his son here is fantastic adding to the overall effect nicely. The use of page layouts with the use of angles and perspective control the flow of the story nicely. The focus on certain moments really do stand out. There’s a lot of emotion here that comes through incredibly well.
There’s a reason why Matt’s work is sought after time and again. It’s so complete and he’s so good at what he does it’s uncanny. To deliver a story of this magnitude shouldn’t surprise anyone and yet I was taken aback by events that did occur and that speaks volumes. This was one of those stories that you read individually then get the trade as well because then you can’t re-experience it all at once.