Two Shadowland comics hit the stores this week, one is Shadowland #2 and the other is Shadowland: Bullseye. This is a good thing for two reasons; the first is that you can avoid the Bullseye issue, and most likely all the individual “tie in” issues.
The more important of the two reasons is that Shadowland #2 is very good, better in fact, than Shadowland #1. The players are starting to be moved into position here as the problems inherent with Shadowland start racing towards the breaking point. With both action and intrigue, Shadowland #2 has you covered on all fronts.
The structure here is a bit more fragmented than the first issue but writer Andy Diggle makes it work by allowing the small storylines to merge into an awesome finale. The main thread of the plot remains a constant in that Daredevil is still off his nut. So much so that seeds of dissention are hitting his ranks as the man without fear plans to replace all law enforcement throughout New York. Meanwhile, Luke Cage and Danny Rand (Iron Fist) are trying to figure out how to approach this new Daredevil and there’s a cab driver that allows himself to get caught by The Hand in order to see the dungeons for himself.
Did I mention The Kingpin? Oh yeah, he’s in there trying to get Luke Cage and Danny Rand to join forces with him to take down Daredevil. There’s also an awesome unexpected guest who crashes the Shadowland party right at the end and that isn’t even the cliffhanger. The cliffhanger starts with a visit to Daredevil and ends with the line “Dead Or Alive”. I won’t ruin it for you, but man does it make you yearn for issue #3. Diggle has created bona fide page-turner here; you simply can’t put this issue down.
What works here besides the action is the tension that Diggle writes into every scene. If a superhero goes rogue with a ninja army behind him and starts trying to control a city by force there’s tension. From the rogue hero to his friends to the people he’s trying to “protect” to the criminals who are terrified of him. Diggle gets that and exploits it whenever he can. He also keeps the surprises popping without giving them away. Let’s hope he can keep this level of writing up through the remaining three issues.
Billy Tan again turns in some great work, even improving on his unmasked faces. His sense of timing and movement gives the panels a flowing grace that equals an almost cinematic look to the whole thing. I’m still more a fan of his darker, more shadowed work than when the lights are on but all of it is first rate.
Personally, I wish five different artists were tackling this just because I’d love to see John Romita Jr., Ed McGuiness, or Steve McNiven working alongside Diggle. It’s just a personal thing; no reflection on Billy Tan at all. With issue #2, Shadowland is again shaping up to a classic story, much more so than brightest light or sunshiny day or lightest dusk or whatever that mess is over at DC.