Spinning off from Starman, the James Robinson and Tony Harris' DC Comics magnum opus of the 1990s, The Shade is a twelve-issue miniseries that revisits figures from the titular immortal's past in a globe-spanning adventure that seeks to resolve a conspiracy to murder the former villain. The book's present-day action is depicted in three main arcs: the first one, issues #1-3, just finished up with artwork by Cully Hamner; Javier Pulido is drawing issues #5-7, and Frazer Irving issues #9-11. After each arc is a "Times Past" issue, a la Starman, set progressively further back in time, culminating in the final issue which will feature artwork by Gene Ha and finally depict the long-teased origin of the Shade.

On sale this week is the first of those Times Past issues, set in 1944 and illustrated by the incredible team of Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone. Formerly of The Spirit, nobody can do period adventure like these two artists, and you can check out a preview of their work after the cut.We're not the only ones excited to see Cooke and Bone's interpretation of Robinson's signature anti-hero. Naturally, the writer himself is a big fan of their work on the book, as he told DC's The Source blog:

"It's a thrill to work with Darwyn and J. Bone on the first 'Times Past' single-issue story within the overall 12-issue Shade series," James Robinson exclusively told THE SOURCE. "After the wonderful work done by Cully Hamner, it's exciting to see another interpretation of DC's Master of Shadows, with Darwyn and J. Bone bringing their own unique vision to one of the Shade's 1940s adventures. I'm also thrilled by the final piece of this visual puzzle, this being the color by Dave Stewart who's brought a subdued yet sublime palette to the tale. I hope everyone enjoys this adventure of saboteurs and mystery men where we learn a little more about the Shade's mysterious past."

Contrary to previous rumors of cancelation, The Shade editor Wil Moss confirmed via Twitter today that the series will finish, and that continuity cops need not worry themselves about the New 52, as the mini is meant to fit in with Starman above all else.

Three issues of The Shade have been released so far, and all have been heavily enjoyable, especially for fans of Starman. It doesn't look like issue #4 is going to disappoint, especially with the gorgeous artwork of Darwyn Cooke, J. Bone and colorist Dave Stewart and of course cover artist Tony Harris. Indeed, every artist announced for this series is a powerhouse talent, and with DC apparently committed to seeing The Shade's full twelve-issue run through, the story is likely to make an absolutely gorgeous collected edition.

But why wait? The Shade is a compelling read it even in single issues, and issue #4 will be available on comiXology and in finer comics stores tomorrow.

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