Like the Batman sticks to the night. Like Aquaman clings to the sea. Like you’ll never get rid of the Shadow Thief. DC will never get rid of this unappreciated character.
JLA #7.3 brings us into the world of the new Shadow Thief Aviva Metula, as we delve deeper into her mysterious past we learn more about her strange yet different powers when compared to the old Shadow Thief. We learn about her history, and why she’s become a crazy xenophobic anti-alien spy of sorts, as seen in the latter run of The Savage Hawkman where she made her first appearance in The New 52.
On this adventure we find The Shadow Thief attempting to bust up a Thanagarian arms deal which ends up going south for her, in a series of flashbacks we see how she obtains her powers and a tragedy in her life that causes her to go down her path of self destruction and vengeance against all alien life.
Well this is a fine pickle!
Chad Hardin’s gritty lines and dark shading works exceptionally well in this issue. Everything in here meshes fairly well, from the characters, to the backgrounds, to the brutal and hard hitting action scenes.
Tom DeFalco takes up the writing duties on this issue and delivers a pretty strong story. He manages to make The Shadow Thief, a character that many people would likely admit they’ve never heard of, or just don’t care about, much more interesting. And it’s always nice to see a few more female characters with a bit more depth to them.
Tom gives us a great insight to Shadow Thiefs inner monologue which from what you’ll pick up on right away is rather broken and paranoid. This is due to the fact that her powers come from a black suit of unknown origin that seems to be, if not sentient then at least live enough to corrupt her mind, creating paranoia, anger, and making her quite mad. While she does still seem to be in control you feel that there’s something else working its way inter her, trying to take over all that she it. That also comes up in how she travels but we’re not going to give everything away.
And she eats her greens.
While this is an enjoyable issue in its own right and is a pretty satisfying read from both a visual and written perspective, there is an elephant in the room that must be discusses.
Shadow Thief has essentially become a poor man’s Shade.
The way Shadow Thief fights, travels, and even the mysterious origin of her backstory feels very much like The Shade. So while this isn’t a slight against the writing or the art, it is a slight against whoever decided that instead of trying to make Shadow Thief more original and more interesting decided to just take a lot of inspiration from The Shade.