Shadowland Issue 1 of 5

By Vince

“Shadowland” is a Marvel mini-event running this summer. In recent issues of Daredevil, Matt Murdock has become the leader of The Hand, the group of ninja assassins that have long been his enemies. He has set up a fortress in the middle of Hell’s Kitchen named Shadowland and has been using them to protect the people of New York. Elements within the Hand are attempting to corrupt Murdock to further their own ends.

Shadowland #1 is basically 24 pages of “Daredevil may have gone over the edge,” which I guess is fitting for an issue launching as (and even billed as) “The Battle for the Soul of New York.” The issue is told largely from the perspective of Daredevil’s longtime nemesis, Bullseye and every page with him is excellent. He was, after all, the most entertaining character in the cast of Dark Avengers. Unfortunately, the scenes without Bullseye are a bit lacking.

We get an unnecessary trip to Avengers Tower, with Captain America, Iron Man and Thor telling Luke Cage and Iron Fist they need to keep an eye on their old friend. The time will come when he’ll need to relinquish his control to more official peacekeepers. Brian Michael Bendis has done so much work in New Avengers setting up Cage as a leader in his won right, the need for the others to tell him what to do here lessens his impact as an authority figure.

That aside, the issue is quite a bit of fun. The action is fast-paced and well-styled. The fights are effectively brutal without becoming unnecessarily violent. We also get to see a new, black costume for Daredevil, and it’s pretty damn cool. It takes a great deal of skill to make two characters wearing black costumes stand out against each other, and the art team handles it well.

“Shadowland” looks to be a very interesting event, with personal favorites like Spider-Man, Moon Knight, Ghost Rider, Iron Fist and LUKE F’IN CAGE involved in the story. As an event, though, this may be one better left for the collected editions. Not only is there the core miniseries, but also a crossover with Thunderbolts and an entire lineup of tie-in miniseries, not to mention the actual Daredevil comics. That’s quite a few titles to purchase, even if the event turns out to be successful.

Shadowland Issue 1 of 5
Marvel Comics
Story: Andy Diggle
Art: Billy Tann (Pencils), Matt Banning (Inks), Christina Strain (Colors)

Vince is the self-proclaimed “Massive Nerd.” His interests range from video games and comics to anime and Transformers collectibles.

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