Shadow Doctor #3
Aftershock Comics 2021
Created & Written by Peter Calloway
Illustrated by Georges Jeanty
Coloured by Juanchoi
Lettered by Charles Pritchett
Nathaniel got what he wanted: he had the money – a gift from Al Capone – to start his medical practice. He was going to be a doctor. Then the bomb went off. In the chaotic aftermath – and with a life on the line – Nathaniel was going to learn what taking money from the mafia truly meant.
I have said it time and time again this is one of if not the most powerful story being published right now. The fact that this is based off Peter’s family history makes it all the more interesting to me. While his family has known and worked for Al Capone my own grandfather worked with members of New York City’s mob in getting his liquor license for the bar he owned and to know that there are personal connections that can be made in such a fashion is sensational. The opening for me is interesting as it is both heartwarming and awkward at the same time. It does tell us what we need to know about Nathaniel’s father well that and seeing the imagery of the field mouse doesn’t hurt either.
I am such a huge fan of the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. There is a lot that we see and even more that we don’t see and what lies in-between is where the reader becomes engaged. The character development is fantastic and it must be difficult to take family and make them come across like this to everyone and yet it’s rendered so well. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing more and more of the story and the ethical dilemma he’s going through we get a better and better appreciation for him.
I like how this is being structured and how the layers within the story tie themselves into this so that they work on the larger picture as a whole. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is achieved extremely well indeed.
Georges does some of the best work of his career within these pages and considering his career that’s saying something. The linework that we see is so gosh darn good, it’s strong, clean and crisp and how the varying weights and techniques are being utilised to bring out this level of detail in the work is really rather extraordinary. Between the judicious use of backgrounds and the composition within the panels bringing us the depth perception, sense of scale and that overall sense of size and scope to the story is incredibly well rendered. Also the likeness to Capone and his men, I’m also assuming Peter’s family based on photographs, is beautiful to see. The colour work is fabulous and how the various hues and tones within the colours are being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work shows such a control of and understanding on how to utilise colour.
If this weren’t a true story you could definitely make a case that it’s based off true events and it would make one of those absolutely brilliant films or mini-series on Discovery + or the History Channel. Heck it would also make for a great spotlight during black history month as well and considering Nathaniel is a ground breaking doctor who got his start doing what he did it’s one hell of a human interest tale as well. This is the kind of story that not only spotlights what a man will do to make his dreams comes true but also how one copes with the moral and ethical dilemmas that come along with those decisions. This is why Aftershock is the publishing house where risks are taken and where storytelling is better than just about anywhere else today.