In this installment, Wednesday brings Shadow to Las Vegas, briefly leaving the small town of Lakeside. Las Vegas appears as its own world removed from the America that we have seen so far. It’s compared to a “storybook castle,” but it’s also more than that. It’s a land that cultivates money. It has no ties to nature; it is simply bright lights, green dollars, and silver coins. And the gamblers are merely facilitators in the city’s accumulation of money. Ironically, Shadow only gambles when he goes back to Lakeside, betting on the yearly klunker sinking.
Upon returning to Lakeside, Shadow learns about town traditions, including those connected to the weather—the winters of bitter cold and minimal sunlight. Wednesday thinks that the town is the perfect place for Shadow to stay hidden for the time being, but there are several allusions to impending war. I’m not sure whether Shadow will be prepared, but he is pretty good at just rolling with the punches, so I imagine he will be able to rise to the occasion.
Scott Hampton’s art continues to reflect the bleak and dreary atmosphere that the series thrives on. This is especially visible in contrast to his depiction of Las Vegas. Vegas has colors that scream, signs that pop, and money that rains. Lakeside has snow and whites and greys. There is brief a glimpse of a blue sky, but it quickly changes to a brownish grey. Color doesn’t seem to be able to last long in Lakeside. I also found it odd that the spines of the library books are almost all blank. All of these narratives are hidden behind nothingness. It is perhaps very fitting—this series is filled with storytelling but also with obscurity, and if a blank cover can contain a story or explanation, then truly anything can enlighten.
Throughout this issue, the war simultaneously feels imminent and far away. I think we will have some time, though, because we need to see whether Shadow wins the klunker sinking bet. I feel that each issue offers less clarity as to the path that we are headed down, which makes the journey all the more intriguing.
Creative Team: Neil Gaiman (story and words), P. Craig Russell (script and layouts), Scott Hampton (art)
Publisher: Dark Horse
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