THE SHADOW: MIDNIGHT IN MOSCOW #1 – Howard Chaykin (Dominic Fortune, Cody Starbuck), a triple-threat as a writer, artist, and cover artist, has done some really wonderful things for such a kick-ass pre-Cold War era character who for so long has been underused. Most notably is his four issue The Shadow revamp for DC Comics back in 1986, entitled Blood & Judgement. This time around we return to a forsaken New York City five years after the end of World War II, the story opening on self-proclaimed super villain Benedict Stark, when he has been foiled by The Shadow during an attempt to rob the Federal Reserve. We soon learn, however, that his crime is more than meets the eye. Stark had apparently discovered a method for miniaturizing gold. Duh-duh-duh! Elsewhere, in London, a blackmail plot gets set in motion that features molecular physicist, Dr. Simon Thorpe. And meanwhile, back in New York, on New Year’s Day, 1950, Lamont Cranston somehow sees fit to retire as The Shadow. So here’s the thing: Blood & Judgement was fresh, and vaguely familiar. It was like deja vu. It seemed, perhaps, seminal. It crackled with a mid-century noir flame; the same buzz as those old radio plays. Don’t get me wrong, Midnight In Moscow is good, but not quite deja vu. This is more like a memory: fading, but a little too familiar to be exciting. In fact, it seems so familiar, this time it’s almost boring. 2.75/5.
ORDINARY #1 – There’s no question in my mind that Rob Williams (Cla$$war, Low Life) is a genius. After I read this, his latest debut on Titan Comics that he wrote with D’Israeli (H.G. Wells’ The War Of The Worlds, Leviathan), I was compelled to revisit 2002’s Cla$$war, a spectacular six issue series released over the span over two years and, to my dismay, STILL ISN’T A MOVIE. For my money, Williams is the purest conduit through which comics-based stories about people who are heroes who hate being heroes can travel. Michael, the protagonist in Ordinary, will be no different to you. Except he will be totally different to you. Michael is a bit like the Razzo Rizzo of comic books. He’s a drunk and ne’er-do-well, he’s shitty at his job and an absentee father. Then one day everything changes. Right? Except for Michael. This comic book is like American Splendor for X-Men. Everything in Ordinary is ordinary, until you find the extraordinary in just how ordinary everything is. Even what actually is extraordinary. 4/5.