Feb 4 2015
[slight spoilers below]
It might be issue number three, but we’re entering Shaft’s second act. David Walker’s tightly plotted stroll through the character’s formative period continues, albeit slowed down, as this time there is little in the way of action.
This is not altogether a bad thing. Instead of tussles and bloodshed, we mostly see John Shaft get handed his get-out-of-jail-free cards – might as well have given him brass knuckles and a gun. Cleaning up the pieces of last issue’s clusterf**k, the reader sits by with a hopping knee as he is shoved around and threatened by weaker souls waving firearms. He’s patient but pissed off.
Something I had missed the first time ’round – the lettering. Walker makes an interesting choice to measure Shaft’s interior narrative with lower-case text, as opposed to the standard upper-case block in the rest of the comic. It serves to soften these words, calming them, representative of the character’s patience as he carefully positions himself, looking disaffected but taking in the scenery. Throughout this issue, Shaft is generally more ruminative, distraught and simmering mad. The Italians giving him hell are going to clearly pay dearly for their sloppy moves.
Bilquis Everly and Daniel Miwa’s art continues to be a highlight, with Everly often expressing a real knack for detailing facial features, seemingly relishing each closeup. And Miwa’s dusky colors are easy on the eyes, stitching the fabric of the urban world together. There is a moment in this issue – a brief hallucinatory sequence that blends war and wedding imagery – that is a visual high-water mark for the series thus far.
Pick up Shaft Issue #3 to continue enjoying this fresh return for the character, but keep in mind that this is the calm before the storm.