Podcast Review #89: Black Shadow

Title: Black Shadow
Author: Steve Saylor
Genre: Comic Fantasy
Released: 1 December 2007 – 5 May 2008
Located: Author’s SiteiTunesPodiobooks
Formats Available: podcast only

Rating: R for violence and language

I’ve enjoyed comics of many types for many years. I can’t say the superhero mainstream are my favorites, but I own more than one issue of Superman, Spiderman, The Hulk and others. It might have been a decade or more since I’ve purchased a comic, but I still enjoy a good comic type story. I find these to be poorly executed as a genre in podiofiction. As mentioned several weeks ago, I can’t claim to be a fan of the Secret World Chronicles. I’ve also had issues with several other comic series. I did very much enjoy Matthew Wayne Selznik’s Brave Men Run, and though I haven’t listened to Escape Pod in years, I also enjoyed Jeffrey DeRago’s Union Dues stories. So, how did Mr. Saylor’s Black Shadow measure up.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis:

In a world where evil walks the earth, where super villains are taken over by demonic beings . They all want one thing, and one thing only. To take over the world. There is only one man who can stop them. One man with the powers and abilities to kick some serious demon ass. In a race against time to stop a portal that opens to Hell itself. One man, one hero, one sonofabitch you don’t want to mess with.

He is faceless,

He is fearless,

He is… Black Shadow. (Stolen from Podiobooks.com)

Production: Okay. You know, I love minimalism. I also love summer popcorn sensationalistic over the top action flicks. Mr. Saylor shot for the latter. He should have settled for the former. I’d say that in 90% of the time, Black Shadow’s production is pretty good. It is full audio drama with multiple sound effects running throughout. Sometimes, I wish it wasn’t. A self read would have made this one more enjoyable for me. In one scene, the hero is in Hell. The cycled sound effects made that episode almost to painful to listen to. Seriously. I almost skipped it. In another ep, the outro music and info was played several minutes before the end of the episode, over the content, then again at the end. Several episodes have several minutes of silence at the end. This 10% became the part that stuck with you and considerably lessened my listening enjoyment.

Grade: D

Cast: Mr. Saylor states this is a story “read by the author”. However, unless he is channeling his feminine side better than any author I’ve yet met, there is at least one female cast member. The majority of the story is done by Mr. Saylor, and though I know he was going for a good comic book sound, they over the top voices combined with the whiney aspect of others was a bit much in several places. Still, you have to appreciate someone going all out for their story.

Grade: C-

Story: Hmmm.. Not sure what to say here. Black Shadow is exceedingly strange in that in many ways it is a mashup of many of the mainstream superhero comics. In a roundabout way, Mr. Saylor even mentions many of the golden age comics. Black Shadow even was born and raised in Smallville, Kansas and was impacted by a famous meteor shower. However, this story has multiple issues and though a valiant effort was made, I feel it fell well short.

Grade: C

Verdict: If you’re a huge fan of superhero comics, you might want to give Black Shadow a shot. I do appreciate Mr. Saylor trying to do something within the genre. However, this story is consistently inconsistent and misses more than it hits. Some of the wording and dialogue left me speechless. And not in a good way. If you have listened to this story, and have a different (or the similar) listening experience you’d like to share, please do!

Shameless plug: Don’t forget, if you send an audio comment to me at Odin1eye at viewfromvalhalla dot com, I’ll include it in the podcast version of this episode next weekend (or when I receive it). You can also leave voicemail, for this or any other story, at the Valhalla Hotline simply by calling 956-307-ODIN (6346)

Disclosure: I’ve never met or listened to anything else Mr. Saylor has produced or written to the best of my knowledge. I don’t believe I follow him on Twitter or that he follows me.

Comment Pages

There are 4 Comments to "Podcast Review #89: Black Shadow"

  • Laura/GreenGlam says:

    I enjoyed Black Shadow for what it was, a fun, campy, silly adventure. Can’t disagree about production, but I can overlook many faults in the search for story. I loved Steve’s over the top voice acting. Again, fun and silly.

    • odin1eye says:

      I’m so very glad you took the time to post your thoughts. I really can’t disagree with your liking. Truthfully, as I said, it was the 10% production that worked on me like a rock in the shoe. If it hadn’t been for that, i think I would have been much more forgiving on the rest. Thanks again!

  • Thomas says:

    It was over the top for me as well. I did muddle through it though as it was among the first ten podcasts (podcasted books) i listened to. The production took over the story in some parts. But like Laura, i enjoyed the comicbook-esqueness of the story. I had told steve of my issues with it after i had listened.

    • odin1eye says:

      Thanks Thomas! You make a good point, whether you meant to or not. This is quite an “old” podcast in this fast growing world. It is amazing the growth in our little industry/hobby in the last 5 years. And though I don’t know Mr. Saylor, I definitely appreciate his contribution to free audio.

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