Shadow Service #1 is where a Noir setting gives way to a spy story. But it's unknown who to root for at this time as nothing seems to be in control.

Review: SHADOW SERVICE #1 – The Magic Noir Pivots Into A New Genre

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Shadow Service #1 is this week’s summer blockbuster from Vault Comics. Beginning with a PI story, it quickly gains interest with a switch in genres.

Shadow Service #1 Story

Cavan Scott introduces Shadow Service #1 by switching between a crime drama and spy fiction. The series follows Private Investigator Gina Meyers, a witch who uses her magic to help solve cases. She attempts to look hardboiled to pay the bills in a cold, cruel world. Something that the series never looks away from when the opening pages have Gina being spied on. There’s a seesaw effect that keeps the reader guessing what happens next. Spies are watching Gina’s every move and with Gina’s sleuthing putting her in the spies’ grasp. Film Noir and Spy Fiction have some similarities when it comes to intrigue plots, and Shadow Service hooks the reader in with it.


Shadow Service #1’s art by Corin Howell’s shading sets up a dark story. But at first, they actually feel safe, unlike the bright screens focusing on Gina. Until the darkness that Gina finds comfort in turns against her near the end. Howell uses angles when characters speak to one another, perfectly illustrating character roles towards one another. Whoever stands above another character tends to be the one in control. Or at least until that changes or another factor comes in, including the end where the magic side all but takes over, in reality-bending fashion.

Another factor in Shadow Service #1 is how Tríona Farrell makes use of the color red to signify a threat. Just a red stool top signifies the role of a supposed side character as much as the role of Gina’s client, who drives a red car. Yet it’s the black and green coloration that put people at unease. Because at this point, it’s uncertain if this MI666 is a threat or the people to root for.

Andworld Design’s lettering is highly practical in Shadow Service #1. With every word balloon and wordmark carefully placed within the confines of a panel, they are perfect for digital services like Comixology’s Guided View. Not to mention placing a wordmark behind an object displays the weight of an action. In terms of story, this demonstrates the feeling of being in control. Which is the dialogue out of panel feels so powerful at the issue’s climax. Whatever control Gina had is taken away from her by the spies.

Read Shadow Service #1

Shadow Service #1 keeps readers on their toes as much as its lead character. With people unsure of who to root for, they’ll have to be patient for the next issue. Before that happens, they might need to hype themselves up for whatever reveal comes their way.

Jake Palermo
Greeting panel readers, My name is Jake but I never replace anyone or anything; I merely follow and fill in the gaps. I write stories and articles that help people piece together anything that helps them understand subjects like culture, the people who write their favorite stories, and how it affects other people.