Our latest story from Archie's 1965 Shadow series seems to be missing an article in its title; "the Radiation Rogue," surely?
As the cover demonstrates, the Shadow#5 features a new villain! Hooray! ...Also, the fifth issue running to feature Shiwan Khan. Bleh. There's no rule stating the Shadow has to fight Shiwan Khan all the time, surely? Glancing at the new villain we see... Moltar? No, he wouldn't be created for another year. Radioactive Man? Possibly - he already existed, although I suspect he wasn't the first radioactive super villain in history.
In this very busy splash page, a lot of information is dumped in our laps. Shiwan Khan has employed the Radiation Rogue, who demonstrates his powers to kill a man-eating plant, while imagining himself doing the same to the Shadow. Radiation Rogue knows he'll die in a few days from radiation poisoning, but on the bright side, Shiwan Khan will be ruler of the world! Boy, he must really like the ol' Khanster.
Grand Comics Database again attributes this comic to Jerry Siegel & Paul Reinman, with Reinman drawing the cover. This is seriously beneath Siegel's capabilities, given what he was capable of over at DC Comics of the 1960s. It suggests Siegel's editors at DC had a firm hand to help shape the stories, but Archie doesn't seem to have cared too much about Siegel's efforts on the Shadow. Heck, it's only a children's licensed property, after all! Here, we see Siegel's trying to make the series a little more like the Man From U.N.C.L.E. (via C.H.I.E.F.), which isn't too drastic a step since the series premise is that Lamont is a secret agent. I was surprised to find this actually predates the more popular super hero/secret agent mash-up comics of 1965, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents! The Shadow predicted the next big trend! Radiation Rogue also provides a very Marvel-like super villain. Siegel seemed to have the desire to write something worthy of Marvel, but at best this comic is derivative; at worst, it's insultingly dumb. There's no seeming logic or even spectacle behind this story, just an apparent effort to crank out page after page post haste. Reinman did what he could, but this series needed a Kirby or Wood at its helm.
This issue also features the text story "the Adventure of the Shadow" chapter five. This continues the story of how the Shadow saved the life of Weston of the Secret Service, only we learn Weston sometimes aids C.H.I.E.F. and is investigating a threat to that organization. I suspect this is going to lead to the first flashback from this issue, so at least the series is finding a narrative for itself.
Next time: Bitter Fruit brings you the Shadow#6!