As a fan of James Robinson’s writing, particularly his work on “Starman,” I have been looking forward to this series since I read the announcement about it what seems like years ago. Two issues in, this story is shaping up to be an adventure/mystery set within the cozy confines of the DC Universe as only James Robinson can write it. It also picks up some of the artifacts Robinson used in his “Justice League of America” stories a while back.
Robinson not only plays with pieces of the DCU, he continues to contribute to the universe. In this case, he adds in Will Von Hammer, a character we met last issue, but truly get to know a little bit better in this issue. Like Bobo Benetti, I find myself liking the character a bit more with each panel despite myself. The character of Von Hammer is eating into the panel time of the Shade, but that doesn’t keep me from wanting to read more about the character. Just goes to show how Robinson can expand the world around a character in a wonderful way.
This is a transitional issue, with Shade setting himself up to go on an adventure to find the party who attempted to have him killed. It’s not a revenge story so much as it is an investigation. That quest sets Shade’s path to cross Von Hammer’s, a connection that Von Hammer himself was trying to make.
Regardless of who is in the panel, Cully Hamner’s art is sleek and precise, unburdened by extraneous lines. At once contemporary and retro, this is the way a book with characters like the Shade and Bobo Benetti deserves to look. Hamner isn’t limited in his portrayal of characters, as this series has featured quite a wide array of personalities, emotions, and situations that require the figures to act. Hamner can take the simple scenes of two people talking, and without using radical camera angles, can make the scene dramatic and charged.
This is the second issue of twelve. For those expecting a continuation of anything Robinson started in “Starman,” they’re going to be disappointed in the lack of Starman. I am certain, however, that anyone picking up this title for more of what they found in “Starman,” however, will be quite thrilled with the yarn Robinson is dishing up. This is a fun, adventurous, unpredictable book. Thankfully we’ve got ten more to go.