Shadow Glass #1 Advanced Review
Story and Art by: Aly Fell
Letters by: Nate Piekos
Review by John Dubrawa
In 16th century London, a charming gentlemen betrays his best friend by stealing away his wife and convincing her to fall in love with him, then uses an ancient relic to perform a ritual that not only results in her death but also brings a new life into the world. And that’s just the prologue to Shadow Glass #1, a new series from Dark Horse that had me when it opened on, “London, 1562.” I find the Renaissance setting in narratives to be an endlessly fascinating one, especially when an author taps into that period’s more mysterious elements. That’s precisely what writer/artist Aly Fell is able to do with this introductory issue, and while there are a few hiccups along the way, Shadow Glass #1 is off to a wicked start.
You can almost immediately see writer/artist Aly Fell having fun with the time period by way of the story’s protagonist, Rosalind. She’s the anti-16th century prim-and-proper lady, and her penchant toward wearing men’s clothing or the way she throws her leg haphazardly over the arm of a chair when sitting down shows Fell injecting a more contemporary female character into this period piece. Fell makes sure the audience is fully aware of Rosalind’s conduct, too, to the point where another character calls her “an unconventional young lady”—among pointing out her other contemporary qualities—in some clunky dialogue that is the only place where this issue truly stumbles. That gripe aside, what Rosalind discovers and the journey she undertakes in this first issue is what’s compelling about Shadow Glass, and the series does show a lot of promise in mixing its 16th century setting with some supernatural elements.
While the setting of Shadow Glass assuredly drew me into its narrative, it is the art that is this book’s anchor. This is one of those rare instances where the cover of a book can be used to judge what’s on the inside, and what’s inside is stunning. Fell’s painterly, more realistic approach renders each character as if they were a 16th century portrait come to life. Immaculately detailed pencil work fill the various locales in each panel as the characters move from the busy London docks to having fireside conversations in stuffy mansions. Nate Pieko’s lettering enhances Fell’s art with title cards and narrations given a fitting style considering the time and place of the story.
CHECK IT OUT! Give it a look in a store, flip through its beautiful artwork, and then decide: Do I want an intriguing supernatural story set against the backdrop of 16th century London where the lead character is a contemporary female character? If the answer is “uh, duh, of course I do!” then Shadow Glass #1 is for you!