This issue is so deep and so thought provoking and oh, so very interesting. I've fallen in love with the Shade. The language, humor, dialogue -- everything about the way he's written in this issue is just superb. I really, really enjoyed seeing the complexities of his character come to the surface in this issue.
We've known from the very start that this was to be a 12-issue series, so to see issue #11 feel like one step closer to the end is kind of a bittersweet feeling. First, I'm definitely sad being so close to the end of this series. However, I do think that it's important to recognize the way Robinson is closing out this book. It feels one step closer to the end of the issue. You get a sense of closure reading this issue that I feel is really important to the overall story. While it doesn't feel like the end of the series, it does feel like the end of an arc.
There's a great moment towards the end of the issue where The Shade reflects on himself for a moment. He outlines his flaws and goes over the things he's learned along his journey. You get a sense that this was a very important story for him -- and this moment of self realization is just perfect. This is as important story to the Shade as it was for any fan of his character. It's a story that provided a lot of growth and evolution for the Shade and I'm glad his character was given the opportunity.
I'm not going to lie and say that the art in this issue didn't bother me because it absolutely did. Here's the thing about the last few issues of THE SHADE: they've been a little bit complex, even for someone who has been reading and reviewing every single issue. Robinson has been dealing with big concepts and big character development for The Shade. He's forced the character to take a good, hard and long look at himself and analyze himself from within. There are a lot of abstract concepts he is dealing with in this issue, and that's why I have such a problem with the abstractness of Frazer Irving's art in this issue. I think it makes things harder to understand.
This is going to be such a great book once its collected. It will be interesting to see what the reading experience is like when you are moving from one artistic style to the next, and it's definitely something I am looking forward to. While I can't say that the art in this issue was my favorite in this series, I will say that this is one of the best written issues of THE SHADE thus far. It feels like the perfect penultimate issue, the way it closes up the final arc but doesn't quite give the reader closure on the series as a whole. I definitely recommend that new readers start this series from the beginning -- it's really worth it.