Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Booknote: The Shadow/Green Hornet: Dark Nights

Uslan, Michael, The Shadow/Green Hornet Volume 1: Dark Nights. Mount Laurel, NJ: Dynamite Entertainment, 2014. ISBN: 9781606904701.

I read this, and I have to say it is excellent. It has a lot to offer for readers, especially for those who love historical references. In this volume, the crime lord Shiwan Khan is preparing to unleash his plan to plunge the world into darkness at the eve of World War II. Though the United States remains neutral, it is secretly ramping up its production capabilities in preparation for war. Khan knows this and plans to attack U.S. manufacturing. It falls to The Shadow, joining forces with Green Hornet and Kato, to stop him.

This is much more than an adventure tale. It is a very good piece of alternate history that is carefully researched for accuracy and authenticity. History buffs will be delighted with the many references, trivia pieces, and historical figures making appearances. People like FDR, J. Edgar Hoover, and Nikola Tesla are featured among others. In addition, the author provides a section with good notes that highlight and explain the history framing of the tale. For those of us who enjoy trivia, this was a very interesting part of the book.

The tale itself builds up well to a fast paced adventure full of action and suspense. The author gives good attention to detail, and he works to make sure the interactions between The Shadow and the Green Hornet and Kato work well. Unlike other comics that bring heroes together, this one does not seems forced or artificially rushed. It's a good, solid story that works well and is a very entertaining ride.

I do have to mention Keith Burns' art, which along with colors by Tony Aviña, really bring this comic to life. They capture the feel of the historical time well, and the colors do stand out nicely. This is just another reason to pick up this volume. On a final note, this volume compiles issues 1-5 of the series. As an added bonus, the volume includes a cover gallery highlight the cover work of artist Alex Ross and other artists.

I read this via NetGalley (provided by the publisher in exchange for the honest review you are reading now. There is your disclosure), but this is one I would happily acquire for my personal collection. This is one I highly recommend for public libraries. Academic libraries with recreational reading collections would do well to add this as well. I will be ordering it for our library.

A solid 5 out of 5 stars.

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