Webster defines noir as “crime fiction featuring hard-boiled cynical characters and bleak sleazy settings.”
When I hear the word noir, I think of dime store detective novels and a dirty city full of stories. Maybe I have just watched too many movies. So, I picked up Noir #1, not just because it had the word noir in the title, but because it also had The Shadow, who I love, and Miss Fury and The Black Sparrow. This promised to be an interesting type of team-up story from Dynamite Entertainment, bringing some characters together that had only always interacted as enemies. or at least not friends.
Our tale begins on a dark and stormy night in the museum. Black Sparrow is stealing a special piece, a Moonstone, from the exhibits. The problem is, she gets a little greedy and, instead of delivering the goods to those who asked, she waits for a better offer. This results in bad guys doing bad things, breaking into her room, dying, but still stealing her ill-gotten gains.
Who can a masked thief turn to for help but playboy and man about town Lamont Cranston, also known as The Shadow. Of course, she invites her self in for morning coffee and just happens to have her claws out from the start. Probably has something to do with their last meeting, since Cranston, as The Shadow, pushed her off a tower. And so the story unfolds.
There is a legend that involves the Templars. The Moonstone has special properties to reflect moonlight and seems to be key to uncovering some deep secret. Many people are after it and willing to do anything to get it.
I love the duplicity of Lamont Cranston/The Shadow. He personifies the duality of humanity, the soft human emotional side and the cold calculating mind that functions independent of that emotion. The way that Victor Gischler writes the internal conflict of this duo, it gets to the heart of of who The Shadow really is. I enjoyed that part of this book almost more than the story.
Add to this the great art from Andrea Mutti’s pencils and Vladimir Popov’s colors and you this is a classic noir pulp tale that would fit well in some of the original Shadow tales from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Noir #1 fits the word and idea.
This book is really supposed to be a team up between Miss Fury and Black Sparrow, but Fury doesn’t even appear until the end of the book, but it does set us up for some interesting adventures as they head off in search of the badder guys, trying to find the secret before they do. Another hit from Dynamite Entertainment, playing well with their use of the properties they have done so well with. I recommend this book.