Review by Frank Plowright
Shadowland is a crossover series spinning out of Andy Diggle’s spell writing Daredevil, and in hindsight seems to have influenced the successful Daredevil TV show. The title refers to a temple Daredevil has built in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen area, from where he blots out crime in the vicinity, although using exceptionally violent methods considered excessive by his superhero friends. Readers learn at the start that Daredevil isn’t entirely acting with free will.
Several other graphic novels tell stories using Shadowland as a background, but this core story can be read without reference to any of them, although the thrills increase with at least a passing knowledge of who assorted superheroes involved are and what they can do. Diggle makes good use of those who’d consider themselves Daredevil’s friends, people who don’t fly around, but who are hardly without talents or resources, and Diggle cleverly finds a place for everyone we want to see in a major Daredevil-themed stramash.
Complicating the entire event is Daredevil recently becoming head of ninja clan the Hand, which both provides him with an instant army, and gives Billy Tan dozens of extra characters to draw on every page. He positively embraces that, though, ensuring his action scenes are packed with people. There are a fair amount of them, but inventively choreographed, with the colours of Guru eFx adding considerably to scenes of Daredevil employing his radar methods of sight and to Ghost Rider’s participation.
With too many crossover series the ending changes nothing, of if there is change it can seem contrived and tacked-on, but Diggle does bring change. His finale is gruesome, but tidy, hosting good revelations and leaving Daredevil in an interesting place.