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Shadows and Light #1: Review

Feb 1998
Gerard Jones, Gene Ha

Story Name:

Free Fall

Review & Comments

4 stars

Shadows and Light #1 Review by (May 10, 2023)

Review: Overall the issue is marked by simpler more attractive artwork to accompany uneven writing. Black Widow story: A solid story with some lush painted art. Not represented in the synopsis is the frequent use of falling as a metaphor for an unstable uncertain life with safety and security portrayed as stable ground. The tale employs Natasha’s narration as her meditation on how she has longed for some sort of stability in her life but able only to depend on herself. Some nice thematic resonance for what is outwardly a simple action story. Hulk story: Not sure I got the point and don’t understand how Hulk got into the man’s nightmares, how he found his way out, or why someone would want Hulk, of all people, to bang the side of one’s TV set. Nice art though, a little simpler than Wrightson’s usual fare. Iron Man story: Simple tale is a straightforward action piece with Ditko’s later simplified style. And Pepper is portrayed with her original 1964 look, freckles and snub nose which quickly gave way to a more glamorous appearance. The Daredevil story is a simple vignette, using a stark art style resembling Frank Miller’s SIN CITY look, to give encouragement to those who feel lost, helpless, and hopeless. Though whether you find it helpful or just a stupid platitude depends on what you bring to it as much as what you take away from it.

Comments: Each story features a preface with brief profiles of the creators.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Shadows and Light #1 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Black Widow meets with a band of Russian mobsters by literally dropping into their open car from above. They offer Natasha her mother’s diary, offering to tell her of the family she never knew. But it’s a trap, as she realizes at the last minute, leaping from the car as the seat she was occupying is riddled with bullets. She confronts the gunman, a huge armored killer called Vindiktor, part of a group of patriots out to assassinate the Black Widow for defecting. As she nabs the diary, the Vindiktor reveals a burned face, while claiming to be her brother, persecuted for his class and forced into a life of crime while she led the life of a crimefighter in America. Nat leads the armored giant on a chase to the top of a water tower, only for his weight to plunge him to his death. Natasha escapes and finally looks in the diary to find it blank, a fake used as bait for their trap….

“Limited Intellect!” 3/5
Writer: Bernie Wrightson. Art: Bernie Wrightson. Letters: Bernie Wrightson.
Synopsis: Hulk fights a T. Rex then a giant scorpion and then a huge dragon which he slays with a magic sword. He then makes his way into a hospital room where a man suffering from total body paralysis spends all of his time recording his memories onto a combination EEG/VCR that has gone on the blink—but he can’t make Hulk understand because of his limited intellect. Hulk sizes up the situation and slaps the TV on the side which makes the picture come in more clearly. The old man thanks him; Hulk replies, “Limited intellect.”

“A Man’s Reach…!” 3/5
Writer: Steve Ditko, Len Wein. Plot: Steve Ditko. Art: Steve Ditko. Letters: Michael Higgins.
Synopsis: Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan arrive at the warehouse lab of Dr. Andre Armond for a meeting with Tony Stark only to find the place has been taken over by crooks led by a hooded man. The scientist is unconscious as his assistant Morris has betrayed the boss and is stealing the plans for a disruptor. The superpowered henchman Longarm, so called because of his mechanical arms stolen from Doc Ock’s lab, overpowers Happy and they kidnap Pepper. Iron Man is elsewhere, stopping a gang of hijackers but one shoots Shellhead with a ray that disrupts his armor, causing several malfunctions. Back at the office, Tony is called by Happy telling him what happened and is worried that Armond’s invention could be a weapon to defeat Iron Man. Happy locates the villains’ hideout and Iron Man goes over to rescue Pepper but he is caught and shot with the Disruptor which causes his armor to seize up. While Longarm is beating him, Tony reroutes his circuits and everything is working smoothly again and he beats up Longarm while Happy takes down the normal hoods but the hooded leader gets away….

Later at the office, a group of important clients stops by and Pepper recognizes one man’s voice as that of the masked leader. He is captured so Tony and Happy go out to celebrate while Pepper chooses to stay and get caught up on her workload….

“Devils & Angels” 4/5
Writer: Ron Marz. Art: Brian Stelfreeze. Letters: ?
Synopsis: Perched atop a cathedral by a cemetery, Daredevil watches an old man stand before the building and remonstrate with God about taking away his friends, his wife, his health, and his eyesight, ending by breaking up his white cane and asking to die. Daredevil descends and tells the man that God has a purpose, that he is not alone, a lesson he himself has learned. The man looks for his white cane so DD hands him his and offers to help him home…. 


The Punisher by Rodolpho Damaggio (frontispiece)

Frankenstein vs. Wolfman by Tom Grindberg

Thor by Cam Smith

Wolverine by Joe Bennett (back cover)

Gene Ha
Gene Ha
Gene Ha
Brian Stelfreeze (Cover Penciler)
Brian Stelfreeze (Cover Inker)
Letterer: John Costanza.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)

(Matt Murdock)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)

> Shadows and Light: Book info and issue index

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