Okay, back to Daredevil and Shadowland! Coming up is a brief look at Shadowland: Power Man #3, which came out last week, and Shadowland: Moon Knight #3 and Thunderbolts #149 which came out this week.
Shadowland: Power Man #3 (6.0/10)
By Fred van Lente (writer) and Mahmud Asrar (artist)
This issue reveals a lot of information, including where young Victor Alvarez got his powers and how he’s connected to Danny Rand. However, while still an okay read, this is the least enjoyable issue of the mini-series so far. The main problem I have with this series at this point is that there seems to be at least one adversary too many. I think the reason for this is to supply the new Power Man with the beginnings of a rogues gallery after Shadowland is over, but it gives the story a sense of being all over the place.
This is also where the connection to the Shadowland background story starts to feel forced. The ninjas Victor fought in the first issue decided to go after him and finish him off after Daredevil lifted the ban on killing in Shadowland #2 (and as seen in the second issue of this series). Considering that the Hand ninjas don’t seem to be real big on taking initiative in any other scene we’ve seen them in, this gets a little absurd. Can they just walk off like that?
Having said that, I do belive that the new Power Man is a character with potential and that Fred van Lente has gone a long way toward infusing Victor and his world with enough heart and heartbreak to make us care about what happens to him and his family. The troubled teenager with family and secret identity problems has proven successful in the past and this is a new twist on an old theme.
Asrar’s art continues to impress without blowing me away. It’s a very good fit for this kind of story and is admirably easy to follow considering all the plot developments and characters we’re presented with.
Shadowland: Moon Knight #3 (7.0/10)
By Gregg Hurwitz (writer) and Bong Dazo (penciller)
This mini-series comes to a close this issue and gives us a reasonably satisfying ending. Shadow Knight’s identity is revealed and Moon Knight goes off on a quest in search of an ancient artifact that promises to slay the Beast.
I wasn’t the only one who was surprised to see a development crucial to the Shadowland event take place in the Ghost Rider one-shot, and we’re seeing something along the same lines here. Moon Knight going off to secure a weapon that may be hugely important to what’s going to happen in Shadowland #5 isn’t even acknowledged in the main series, but is developed in full here. I’m sure that people who are only reading Daredevil and Shadowland will be able to follow along without this information, but it drains the main book of much needed plot points. So far, Shadowland proper has been devoted mostly to two rounds of various heroes slugging it out in Daredevil’s new living room.
This series has had another focus as well, one that hits much closer to home for the man who has now gone back to calling himself Marc Spector (oops, spoiler…) and this aspect of the story has been more interesting than the part that deals directly with the main event. Until this mini, I’d never read Moon Knight outside of his Civil War tie-ins and his appearances in Secret Avengers, and I do feel like I’ve gotten to know the character a little better.
The art is perhaps the biggest weakness of this issue. It’s not unappealing per se, but it’s hard to follow in places, and it does take the story down a notch. One problem is that Shadow Knight and Moon Knight are so similar that it’s difficult to sort out who’s who and it would have been great if their respective trademarks had been better developed.
Thunderbolts #149 (7.5/10)
By Jeff Parker (writer) and Declan Shalvey (artist)
This issue works much better as an issue of the Thunderbolts than it does as a Shadowland tie-in. The interactions between the characters has been Jeff Parker’s forte since he took over the book and he continues that trend here.
But do we learn anything about the Hand? Sure, but much of it seems, to me anyway, to be conflict with the main event. Suddenly the ninjas don’t seem to be completely useless and are even shown to have powers that we haven’t seen much of before, and the Shadowland underground seems impossibly large and crowded.
I don’t have much more to say about this issue (it’s heavier on difficult to summarize character interactions than Shadowland-related plot development) except that Thunderbolts continues to be well-written and not too weighed down by its brief event tie-in status.
Well, that’s it for today! Comment away.