JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #7.3 SHADOW THIEF #1 REVIEW
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Chad Hardin
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Review by Suzanne Nagda
Shadow Thief is a character with a promising back-story. What’s not to like about a rogue spy from Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency? A political thriller could not only be timely with current events, but provide something different from the tragic childhood tales of Villain’s Month. How awesome would an evil Black Widow be? That’s what I hope for anyway.
Aviva Metula spends most of the issue tracking down an arms deal between Thanagarians (think Hawkman) and agents of Mossad. Meanwhile, she examines her prejudice against aliens and paranoia about the government(s). Shadow Thief is a woman obsessed with destroying aliens by any means necessary. Although Shadow Thief briefly references a previous encounter with Hawkman, there is very little to tie this issue to Justice League of America.
Unfortunately, the pacing of the issue feels rushed and the near-constant flashbacks fail to deliver a cohesive storyline. DeFalco devotes only a handful of panels to Aviva Metula’s motivation for becoming the Shadow Thief. Key relationships with her family and former lover feel superficial because they don’t have proper room to develop. The dialogue seems unintentionally silly at times, with Shadow Thief calling a Thanagarian “Mr. Alien.” Isn’t she supposed to be a former Israeli spy? DeFalco also relies too heavily on Shadow Thief’s inner monologue to advance the story. One plot point in particular didn’t make sense, as she talks about her interrogation techniques in detail and then fails to interrogate a suspect at a crucial moment.
There are some bright spots though. Hardin fully utilizes Shadow Thief’s power set and fills the book with wispy shadows from her weapons to her hair. The action scenes are easy to follow and show how powerful and ruthless she can be. Unlike other female villains, Shadow Thief’s costume fully covers her body and complements her powers well. Hardin depicts her in ways that fit the story and action, not to titillate the reader with suggestive poses. That alone is a breath of fresh air in the New 52. Shadow Thief joins the Ventriloquist as a villain that was completely rebooted and used to be a male character in a previous origin.
The Verdict: Pass. I would spend my money elsewhere unless you really loved DeFalco’s run on The Savage Hawkman. Shadow Thief is a character with a lot of potential yet to be realized. DeFalco keeps the door open for future writers by building mystery around her “shadow skin.”