One of my local comic stores has a pretty solid podcast with weekly recommendations. They mentioned that the Shaft comics were pretty good but very overlooked. (Yes, the comics are about that Shaft!) I remember being interested in the comic because I like detective comics and I like cool people. Unfortunately, I was a couple of years late to the party and didn’t do my part to drive sales and notoriety for the book. Thankfully, Dynamite has release several of the Shaft storylines in trade paperback format. Now, I’m doing my duty by letting you know the Gospel of Shaft.
While there are other, previous trades available, I happened to pick this one up. The honest reason is I didn’t realize this was the second book in Shaft’s story. While reading the book, it became obvious that some backstory exists that I missed, but the story stands alone well enough. In this particular collection, Shaft is a PI looking for simple cases and easy money. Somehow, though, he always ends up finding his way into hard cases with hard money. Jessica Jones and Shaft would get along.
The plot: A couple from Middle America shows up at Shaft’s office hoping he can find their son. He’s young and he’s gay, and he’s in the city trying to build a new life. They couple has lost touch with their son and are just looking for hope. Reluctantly, Shaft helps them out and enters a world he wasn’t expecting.
The book is more action than mystery, but the twists and turns are entertaining. The art is fantastic – it’s seedy and colorful. Each cover is move poster quality, as you can see. Shaft himself is an interesting, melancholy guy. It’s easy to see why he’d be down in this world. The whole arc is bleak, although humanity shines through. Definitely an R-rated book.