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Oct 24, 2022


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Crypt of Shadows #1 Cvr

Despite the death of the Doctor, there is no shortage of Strange things in the Marvel Universe. So even before the season of spookiness, at times it already feels like this is Halloween. However, rather than leave readers searching the shadows, Crypt of Shadows highlights heroes as dark as the horrors they hunt.

Crypt of Shadows #1

Marvel Comics

Writers: Al Ewing; Danny Lore; Rebecca Roanhorse; Chris Cooper; Chris Condon; Adam Warren
Artist: Ramon Bachs; Karen S. Darboe; Geoff Shaw; Ibrahim Moustafa; Fran Galan; Adam Warren
Colorist: Rain Beredo; Chris Peter; Arif Prianto; Neeraj Mendon; James Campbell; Guru-eFX
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

Crypt of Shadows is an attempt at an anthology, with the Marvel Universe’s supernatural stories as the subject. The timing is convenient, which makes it feel less marvelous and more marketing strategy.

Though Stephen is dead, the Sanctum Sanctorum has never been livelier. While Clea has taken over the main portion of the manor she didn’t just kick his brother out. Trapped in a mirror dimension, who better than Victor Strange to offer a clear reflection of the horrors that hide away where most heroes tend to avoid; unaware or unable to assist.

Victor does his best as master of show; he opens and closes each story similar to the Keeper and the Creep. While he isn’t really a ghost (or host) with the most, he isn’t a complete ass behind glass. Don’t expect any real tongue in cheek moments like similar series – seems the Strange family lacks funny bones. What Ewing does well is give this darker Strange a purpose – along with some potential future plots. Even though Victor’s moments are limited to single splash pages, this doesn’t prevent Bachs and Beredo from brilliantly detailing a world, hidden – awaiting a closer look.

Each story contained in Crypt of Shadows #1 carves into another “creatures” corner within the Marvel Universe. Ghosts, werewolves and trans-dimensional bugs even show up. There is even a What-If -ish story featuring another universe’s Elisa Bloodstone, Spidey and Torch. Which brings up the interesting fact that while most heroes understand, to some degree, the multi-verse, it really is a supernatural threat. – not terrestrial. The series also shows the monsters aren’t the only thing that hides.

For such a huge segment of the actual stories to tell within the Marvel Universe, it is shocking that it has taken so long to allow these stars to shine. And how some readers may struggle to understand who or what they are reading about. While the Moon Knight – Werewolf story features characters that have made it to Disney+, even Brielle’s dad isn’t offical, yet.

Even stars of a story get overshadowed by supporting characters. Jinx and Tarot, each having histories before this issue, seem only relevant as their actions relate to Morbius – a recognized character now since his film. And wonder how long before Laura begins to receive the same reception of Logan; overused much?

What a comic like Crypt of Shadows could do is offer a “voice” to unrecognized and marginally represented segments of our society. Focusing on those occult, ritualistic and those who embrace it – instead of not so special Halloween special. Each section feels more like a selling point than a story meant to showcase someone. While each artist who lends their talents to these tales present some seasonal stories, they don’t actually capture the success of other horror anthology comics.

Instead Crypt of Shadows #1 feels like a bit of Halloween marketing – making it truly terrifying.

Score: 8.1


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