It was 1838, moments before The Shade came into his own. Before his life was -- at last -- changed, and he, a family man, turned into the man we would know him to be. It's been about a year since the first issue of THE SHADE first hit stores, and it's certainly been a wild ride. Now, at last, we have issue twelve; the culmination of Robinson's work for nearly a year, and the conclusion of the series. At last we will gain a better understanding of who The Shade really is. Who was the man before he turned, and was overcome by sheer darkness?
"For in that moment the blackness overcame me. And I became oblivion."
The language in this issue is truly something else. The internal dialogue does a phenomenal job in setting the tone and mood of this issue. You get a true sense of who this character is and what is important to him. Robinson does this so well that at the very end you might even find yourself mourning The Shade's loss, a little bit. The pacing is just brilliant the way that the creative team creates a gradual progression before going into the story and revealing who he is and where he had come from. The fantastic writing in this issue is paired with the equally stunning art of Gene Ha who seemed to have had a great time illustrating the book. The artist definitely played around a little bit with the structure and the layout of the panels in this issue; it's pretty impressive.
The issue almost reads like prose and does as good of a job creating the setting for the story as the artist does. One thing I really liked about the end of the issue is that while it feels like a conclusion of sorts (it set out what Robinson had initially planned to do), there's definitely still room for more stories. I think that leaving it open ended just a little bit was probably a good move on Robinson's part.
Nothing bad here. Definitely one of the best comics this week.
Although you could go into this issue and understand it's events without reading the previous issues, I wouldn't recommend it. Issue #12 of THE SHADE reads as a great conclusion to a long story, but it also reads as a sort of a beginning. This is the start of the character's life as The Shade. Here is the beginning of where we will see him embrace his identity. It's a great issue.
The great thing about this series has been the way that Robinson has successfully managed to embrace and capture The Shade's voice. He really has a voice and a story to tell in this series, and it's especially prevalent in this final issue. This is absolutely a book I will be picking up once it has been collected, and I recommend you do the same. If you like mysticism, black magic and 19th century excitement, you won't be disappointed. I particularly liked the cameo appearance made by one of the most prominent British authors, too.