There’s a sense that Marvel is using Shadowland to push its street-level characters in a similar manner to the way “Annihilation” pushed its cosmic-level ones. And indeed, why not, if it gets a little exposure to some characters whose time may have come around again?
One such pair of characters are Misty Knight and Colleen Wing, the so-called Daughters of the Dragon, who haven’t been seen in any major capacity since “Heroes for Hire” spun out of Civil War and sank shortly after. But times have changed, and with Marvel attempting to celebrate their female characters and creators, now seems like the right time to give this concept a go.
The issue mainly focuses on Colleen Wing, who finds herself going solo on the streets of New York following an apparent split with Knight (and if that sounds a little heavy with subtext, well, so’s the way they tell it.) When Colleen is prevented from bringing down a woman-trafficking massage parlor, she visits Daredevil -- against her former partner’s advice -- to get some backup. In the process, she learns something new about her heritage and uncovers a connection to the Hand in the process.
Henderson isn’t a writer I recognize, but in the course of one issue, he’s taken me from indifference to interest. The story is nicely paced, easing us into Wing’s world, showing her in action and establishing her cast before throwing in a twist. Shadowland is used more as a backdrop, than the centrepiece; Indeed, the connection to Shadowland actually feels a bit strange, as Wing’s position in the main series differs substantially from her position here, but it’s safe to assume it’ll all match up in the end.
I do find myself slightly concerned as to whether “the Nail,” a group of characters introduced at the climax of the book, is intended to represent the archetypes of Asian women, or the stereotypes, since it seems to lean towards the latter. In fairness, Wing and Knight were born out of the exploitation movement, so it’s not far out of step with the tone of the book on that level, and there does seem to be a certain potential in the group, all of whom have fairly strong designs.
So far, it’s one of the better Shadowland tie-ins, and I’m looking forward to the rest. I’m finally sensing a potential in the character which I’ve failed to get any hint of in the past.