Monday, April 14, 2014

Ever see Prometheus? The sort-of but-not-really yet-totally-is Alien prequel? It's enjoyable in spots, aggravatingly stupid in others. It's also a couple years old, so no spoiler alert! There's a scene where two pilots, bridge crew guys, obligingly agree to go down with the ship and their captain; rather than making a break for the escape pods. In-movie, it doesn't make a lot of sense, save that they were loyal guys. Viewed from outside though, flying your ship into an alien ship bent on destroying earth and dying in a massive explosion, beats the hell out of trying to escape and getting eaten or worse by some alien monster. Sometimes, an escape route just looks like procrastinating your fate, not avoiding it. Like today's book! The Shadow #20, written by Chris Roberson, art by Giovanni Timpano.

In a Russian gulag, life is cruel and hard enough without seemingly random murders. An old prisoner, who notes the Bolsheviks that sent him to the gulag have since themselves arrived there, receives a mysterious and surprising visitor from his past: the man now mostly known as the Shadow.

Before he was the Shadow, he received his ring, the girasol, from the tsar; and was now on the trail of whoever sent a similar ring (and attached finger) as a message. The prisoner doesn't have the information the Shadow needs, and also recognizes that he was a scary individual even back when he knew him.

Still, the Shadow isn't about to leave a murderer be, and gets the clues he needed from him. Before he leaves, he offers to free the prisoner, and to get him wherever he wanted to go. Surprisingly, the prisoner declines. Death was going to find him, in the gulag, on a beach, wherever he might go. I kind of thought it might be nice to wait for death somewhere where my toes weren't going to freeze and fall off, but I'm not Russian. Or clinically depressed.

Geez, the one time the Shadow tries to do something nice for someone...In the prisoner's defense, though, it's pretty common for the Shadow to do you a solid, then expect like ten solids back. And for people around him to get violently murdered.

Anyway, like a lot of Dynamite Entertainment's books, this one has like three variant covers. Cover price was $3.99, which I don't see happening around here: I got it, and three other issues, ninety-nine cents each at Hastings. Four for the price of one! (Better than that, even: The Shadow Annual 2013 was $4.99.) I did get another book or two in that pile...that I'll have to look around for now.

No comments: