Posted: Wed May 18, 2011 9:35 pm Post subject: SHADOWLAND Ratings & Reviews
This 5-issue limited series came out in 2010 and was written by Andy Diggle, with artwork by Billy Tan. There were several related titles that also shipped as part of this mini-DD event. Daredevil tried to change the Hand from the inside... but what would it do to him in the process?
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I thought the story behind Shadowland was a good one. The major problem I had with it was being fragmented into "event" status to bring all these various characters into title contention. I know what the reason was (marketing to increase sales). It did not, however get me to spend more money with Marvel. I might pick up a collection later, but I was not able to spend my hard-earned dollars to get every little piece of this saga.
I know this was not the fault of the writer at all. Even though I prefer a lot less supernatural stuff in my comics, the story had some good points. I have to say that I did enjoy seeing just how Diggle got from the point he inherited the title to how he ended up, although I don't consider the ending to be here in Shadowland, but at the end of Daredevil:Reborn. When you take all this into consideration with the long arc that started waaaay back with Bendis jumping on board the title, I think it was a hell of a ride.
The worst part of Shadowland was forcing an "end" to the Daredevil title itself, and shoving my subscription from Daredevil to Black Panther without giving me ample warning to do anything about it. Yes, Marvel Subscriptions offered me a refund, but it was after they had already shipped me (about a month late each) 3 issues of Black Panther, and I had only two issues left. I just let it run out. I haven't even opened the Black Panther issues.
The concept of the Shadowland fortress was an intriguing one at the outset, when it was first eluded to in Andy Diggle's opening salvo on the "Daredevil" title (a storyline titled "The Devil's Hand"), spanning over DD#'s 501-504. It was a mystery that seemed to organically appear as the "cliffhanger" to that story-line, prior to "Shadowland" marketing and ad campaign. The execution of this enticing concept, however, left a lot to be desired.
The artwork of the 5-issue mini-series was handled by Billy Tan, who had previously teamed with writer Andy Diggle on the "Daredevil" The List" one-shot. Based on that previous teaming, which was a solid showing, there was some promise. However, both the resulting writing and artwork paled in their previously mentioned "Daredevil: The List".
The story was a bit scatter-shot after the first issue. The series essentially began, after some long-winded exposition and set-up, with a singular moment of Daredevil succumbing to his desires against the hated Bullseye (of which, those desires have ordinarily been kept in-check by Matt's heroic integrity and Catholic guilt). From there, the story suffered from the contrivance of too many characters and not enough development (character OR plot), and just seemed to mire in its own imposed, self-important grandiosity.
The idea that "Shadowland" was initially intended as just Daredevil story-line on the character's title and seemingly was quickly, perhaps forcibly so, contrived into the role of being an "event" mini-series and expected to open up from the relatively small world of Matt Murdock's Hell's Kitchen into the all of the Marvel universe seemed to make this story suffer. It is believed by the fan base of the title character that most Daredevil stories work within the "isolated", intimate world of Matt Murdock,his neighborhood and his small, trusted circle of friends; which is why, it is believed, Daredevil is not chartered as an Avenger; there may very well be fan resistence and backlash.
One instance of creative and editorial indifference appeared to be the morality, or perhaps the lack there of, of using the mysticism of The Hand to bring back a major character was hinted at but never ultimately broadened. Such lack of depth that was only teased at only helped to cheapen the story and left it flat and unable to truly deliver a punch. Then there was the all-too brief and all-too emotionless interaction of Matt Murdock and Elektra towards the climax of the story, which would've resonated and given the story some semblance of punctuation. The only redeeming factor was a glimpse of an "internal" Matt Murdock, which was painfully missing from all of this... and even then, it was a wasted opportunity to truly delve into the character struggling with himself (which could be argued that may be cliche in most all other recent Daredevil narratives since Frank Miller graced his presencein Hell's Kitchen, but strikingly still works).
"Shadowland" was a promising story that enfuriated, alienated and disappointed the large of the Daredevil's "cult" fan base.
Solid review by fox_limbo. Couldn't say it any better myself.
I will add that I loathe the artwork for the event book. Tan's art is like a poor imitation of Jim Lee's. The panel layout was weak and boring, the fight scenes were unimaginative and Tan consistently shows a poor grasp of anatomy. I know, it was an event book but come on!
I always hate it when an artist makes DD look more like a bodybuilder than a gymnist, but Tan took a slightly different approach and cherry picked elements from both approaches. Example: He drew DD with these normal, muscular looking arms but drew his trapezius muscle like Arnold Schwarzenegger's during his body building days! *facepalm*
Excellent write up by fox limbo. I reallly thought that was going to a great story using a great character to turn evil (somewhat). I was disappointed because it seemed they were leading to something great and then it just died out. They tried to rush the story and include too many tie-ins. I like the idea about Shadowland, DD in black wasn't bad and the fact that he had the Hand under his control. I would like to see this again in the future but with a better story and maybe for a bit longer with more battle scenes. I didn't have an issue with Tans art of DD. It was great to see DD in a different way. I give Shadowland 3.5/5. However the DD Reborn 4 part mini was such a waste of my time.
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