Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shadowland: Blood on the Streets #3 Review


After an insanely hectic fall (it was a work thing), and after finally catching up on things over at my own site, time has come for me to return to The Weekly Crisis. I thought I'd start out with a review of the penultimate issue of Blood on the Streets, arguably the best thing to come out of the Shadowland event. Hit the jump for more on why I think you should pick this issue up today, along with issues 1 and 2, if you haven't done so already.


Shadowland: Blood on the Streets #3
Written by Antony Johnston
Art by Wellinton Alves (pencils), Nelson Pereira (inks) and Frank Martin (colors)

So far, reactions to the main Shadowland event have been mixed. I've seen it both praised and slammed, and my own feelings on the matter are tinged with a certain amount of heartbreak. However, the main Daredevil book continues to be a worthwhile read and many of the tie-in titles have proven to be pretty interesting, particularly Shadowland: Power Man and Shadowland: Ghost Rider. Still, the four-issue Shadowland: Blood on the Streets mini is head and shoulders above the rest and I really wanted to give it a plug here at The Weekly Crisis.

Blood on the Streets takes place on the outskirts of Shadowland, both metaphorically and physically and while it does feature the occasional ninja, Daredevil doesn't appear in this series. In fact, reading the main event should not be required in order to follow the plot, and my guess is that this mini will continue to stand well on its own, even after all is said and done. Instead, the main focus is on Misty Knight, The Shroud, Paladin and Silver Sable, four characters who are reasonably well-known, but are rarely called on to carry an entire story. It is clear that writer Antony Johnston had his reason for including each and every one of them because they are all well-written and compliment each other nicely.

The set-up for this story is a string of crimes, the murders of small-name gangster, all bearing a Hand signature. Through different avenues, all four of our heroes soon find themselves in the same place, looking for the same culprit. It doesn't take long before it becomes clear that The Hand may not be involved, and that someone has an interest in making the infamous ninja cult appear even deadlier than they actually are.


With issue #3, all four of the main characters have finally been introduced to one another and are beginning to make some headway in discovering the identity of the mystery killer. With everyone getting reacquainted, this issue spends a little more time on exposition than did the previous two issues, but the pacing is still where it should be.

The art, by Wellinton Alves, demonstrates a simple elegance with good proportions that puts most of the emphasis where it's most needed; his faces are appropriately expressive and there's just the right amount of detail to make the scenes easy to follow and the important details stand out. I especially like his portrayal of The Shroud (though this may be owed in part to colorist Frank Martin and my own lifelong love affair with the color purple).

Blood on the Streets may be set against a Shadowland backdrop, but is first and foremost a riveting detective story, compelling in its apparent simplicity. I wish more comics were written like this. You don't need time travel or villains from outer space to make a superhero comic pop off the page, you just need lifelike characters coming together to advance a plot that develops organically and actually makes sense.

Verdict – Must Read This goes for this third issue as well as the first two. I know people may have been neglecting this mini since it's not required reading for Shadowland, but that means that you just might have missed the best part.


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3 comments:

Klep said...

I loved Heroes for Hire and am glad to see these characters are being handled well again. I'll probably be picking this up when it comes out in trade.

Anonymous said...

I primarily read comics during the 80's and early 90's. I always loved The Shroud and thought a Night Shift comic would have been great.

Anonymous said...

I dont think after issue 2 there has been positive feedback

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