Shadowland: Daughters of the Shadow #3 came out two weeks ago so I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get to it. In the mean time, however, ManWithoutFear.com’s Kuljit Mithra has managed to get an interview with writer Jason Henderson that you’re well advised to have a look at.
Now, let’s get to the review itself, which will be a brief one (I have two other reviews I need to post later on). For me, where this series really works is in exploring Colleen Wing’s character. I feel that Henderson really “gets” her and enjoys writing her, and in this issue he even gets to bring Colleen and her ex-partner Misty Knight together and have them work out their differences and start to repair their friendship. When read as an examination of one of Marvel’s lesser-known characters, the series, and this particular issue do an admirable job.
The art by Ivan Rodriguez however, really does this story a disservice (particularly in this issue with Misty Knight looking like she’s made of plastic). I can’t put my finger on it, but the artwork is very uneven, with many more misses than hits and this is true of everything from basic angles and layouts, through inks and colors. It’s rare that I have such a negative reaction to the artwork of any comic that it seriously detracts from my overall appreciation of the story.
If the artwork had been more to my liking, I probably would have had a much easier time buying into the whole premise and atmoshpere of the story as a whole. As things are, I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the motivations of the other members of the Nail and why the group exists to begin with. What are they needed for? What role do they fill that the other members of the Hand cannot? I realize that it’s difficult to scratch deeper beneath the surface in a three-issue mini-series, but I would have liked for all of the characters’ motivations to have been fleshed out a little more.
Still, this series has made me more interested in following the future adventures of Colleen Wing, and I think Henderson has provided a good platform for future stories, particularly with Colleen and Misty now talking through their differences. Speaking of which, I have to give props to the writer for actually having the guts to write a longish scene of two characters just standing around talking. Speaking as someone who constantly wishes for more depth and character work in superhero comics, this is very much appreciated. Fight scenes are fine, but never at the expense of decent character work.