Solomon Kane: Red Shadows

Solomon Kane: Red Shadows
Solomon Kane Red Shadows review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Dark Horse - 978-1-59582-878-1
  • Volume No.: 3
  • Release date: 2011
  • UPC: 9781595828781
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

Red Shadows is the story with which Robert E. Howard first presented his puritan warrior Solomon Kane to the world, but before adapting that over three chapters Bruce Jones supplies an introductory story of Kane working his way through fenland beset with danger.

One thing’s for sure, readers coming here after reading The Castle of the Devil and Death’s Black Riders are unlikely to be impressed with Rahsan Ekedal’s art. Gone are the considered layouts and detailed backgrounds, replaced by storytelling almost entirely dependent on often awkwardly drawn figures with no backgrounds if it’s possible to avoid them. The gaunt Kane, so distinctive before, is now a generic warrior in coat and boots. It’s not as if Howard’s original work doesn’t offer multiple opportunities for great visuals, and on almost every occasion what Ekedal supplies is unimaginative.

Events begin with Kane discovering a young woman on the verge of death, but still able to name the man her killers worked for. Kane vows to avenge her death, but arrogant swordsman Le Loup proves a tenacious foe, Kane having to travel to Africa to keep his promise. It reads very much like the pulp story it originally was, with Howard’s priority being excitement and exotic locations with Kane’s personality a very minor consideration. Leopards, African warriors, gorillas, crocodiles and zombies were unusual fare back in the day, and pretty well any standard warrior could have been thrown in among them.

Howard would later become more aware of how a unique character could shape a story, and Kane was developed into something altogether more interesting, but this is poor.

After such a disappointment readers might want to look out two earlier adaptations of Red Shadows found in The Chronicles of Solomon Kane.