The Twilight Zone: The Shadow by David Avallone
Published: Dynamite (Oct 18, 2016)
Posted: Sep 16, 2016
(5 / 5)
“How many Shadows does a Shadow cast?” – The Twilight Zone / The Shadow
The Twilight Zone: The Shadow by David Avallone is the graphic novel release of four comic books issues. A long time fan of both The Shadow and The Twilight Zone, I was skeptical as to whether or not a combination of the two would be worth reading. Putting it bluntly, the idea of this crossover might strike you as bat shi… erm, crazy.
So is this crazy graphic novel worth your time? Absolutely! Some background knowledge of The Shadow will help readers understand why this is such a cool idea.
As in the old comics, The Shadow is a former WWI veteran pilot named Kent Allard, known in Asia as the opium lord, Yin-Ko. One of his disguises is the millionaire playboy named Lamont Cranston. The actual Cranston lets Allard use his identity as a cover. In both the radio show and the movie with Alec Baldwin, there’s only Lamont. In the film, he’s portrayed as having lost his way, succumbing to wanton violence and drug use.
(Original Radio Broadcasts from the 1930s – don’t mind the copy of Preludes and Nocturnes below it!)
In this particular graphic novel, The Shadow’s identities blend intentionally. While I don’t want to give away any spoilers, just know that some confusion in the beginning is normal.
The Shadow is literally the protagonist’s “dark side.” “Trained in the ways of the Orient,” while in East Asia, the protagonist learns to overcome his own inner shadow and obtain the powers of hypnosis and obfuscation.
The Shadow’s alter egos combined with his mastery of the mind makes The Twilight Zone: The Shadow a really creative idea. It explores the concept of burying one’s identity to the point of an existential dilemma. As the synopsis states, Cranston exhibits signs of being The Shadow/Allard, remembering details from the others life he shouldn’t know. There’s a lot of mind-switching going on but I’ll let the story speak for itself. The story is very reminiscent of the 1960 Twilight Zone episode A World of Difference.
The overarching story in the background involves combating Nazis and the lengths to which The Shadow will go to combat evil. The graphic novel features racist language and is strictly for adults. Rest assured that the alter ego/psychological elements are the story’s primary strength.
The 3rd party Rod Serling narrative, the dialogue itself, and character portrayals are all Shadow. Another cool aspect is that the writing is very reflexive; Allard/Preston notes that the “turning invisible” power is a myth, “lazy writing” on the part of The Shadow designers, an interesting comment since this was a real criticism after the radio show aired.
The art style is really terrific. Dave Acosta’s panel composition is well done and favors quick action sequences. Blurb coloring is unique and changes depending on which character is speaking.
I highly recommend this graphic novel to fans of The Shadow or for readers looking for a creative new comic. It’s short and sweet but really nails The Shadow perfectly while also managing to add its own unique flair. 5/5
(This book was received from the publisher for a fair and honest review.)