Antony Johnston’s Shadowland: Blood on the Streets, with art by Wellinton Alves, continues to be the most enjoyable of the Shadowland tie-ins, by a wide margin. This issue delivers great pacing, enjoyable character work, and a clever detective story at its core.
The story picks up where last issue’s cliff-hanger left off: with a violent encounter between Paladin and the Shroud. They’ve been showing up in the same places twice and the time has come for both to find out why.
Before we learn the truth, the action cuts to Misty Knight who’s trying to get into the Medical Examiner’s Office to sneak a peak at the corpse of Mikey Fortunado. This scene is quite humorous as Misty Knight cleverly plays the race card to great effect. Obviously, in less competent hands, this could have been awkward, but here it comes across as something Misty would absolutely do when the ends really do justify the means.
What Misty learns from studying Mikey Fortunado’s corpse leads her to conclude that the Hand is not, in fact, responsible for his death. This notion is confirmed when she gets a visit from some Hand ninjas who claim not to be responsible for the recent string of deaths. They also ask her to stop investigating.
Meanwhile, The Shroud and Paladin keep throwing punches while the confusion settles and each of them learns about the other’s connection to Mikey Fortunado. Silver Sable is the only character who has yet to be introduced to any of the other three main characters, but I’m expecting this to happen next issue. For now, we get to see her dealing with the consequences of having the man she was instructed to capture show up dead.
Wellinton Alves’s art is nice and clean and absolutely to my liking. It’s not hyper-realistic in the way I usually prefer my Daredevil, for instance, but it’s in no way cartoony either. In fact, I find it to be quite elegant with a nice amount of detail and all faces are appropriately expressive.
This mini is shaping up to be a very entertaining whodunnit that I think will be able to stand alone very well. I’m a big fan of Johnston’s natural-sounding dialogue and layered, character-driven plot.