Shaft: Imitation of Life #1
Writer: David Walker
Artist: Dietrich Smith
Colors: Alex Guimáres
Cover: Matthew Clark
Shaft is back on the streets of New York doing what he does best. But when you’re too good at your job everyone wants a piece of you. So after a high profile case gets him too much attention he decides to take some time off. Only to emerge months later with a new drive and taking cases again. However, he’s still haunted and struggling with his own demons.
Walker makes Imitation of Life a comfortable introduction for anyone new to the world of John Shaft or if you just missed the previous mini series. The opening is an intense and bloody action sequence that ends up being the catalyst for the changes taking place in Shaft’s life. From here Walker begins to give us something closer the character introduced in the film. As evident as it was in the previous series, Walker has a terrific grasp of who Shaft is and what makes him tick. It’s this level of character depth and great writing that helps make this a great issue. Walker also keeps the dialogue very much consistent with the era which might be off putting to some. The 70s weren’t known as the time of tolerance and the characters reflect those ideals at times.
Smith’s artwork handles the narrative very well and though Walker pulls you into the 70s era, Smith makes sure you stay there! The opening is fast paced and the young John Shaft looks just as calm and cool as if he was just taking a stroll. Smith also gives us the more familiar look of Shaft with his classic mustache and the look of a man that can handle anything thrown his way. Alex Guimáres handles the colors and heightens Smith’s work in every panel.
Shaft is one of the original bad asses and his creator, Ernest Tidyman, couldn’t ask for a better writer to help carry on the legacy. I’m along for the ride and you should be as well.