After listening to Razorfist's first Shadowcast episode, I got to thinking about this character and I think I noticed something regarding his enduring appeal--even now, when he's mostly forgotten--that I think is overlooked.
The Shadow knows his agents and his enemies very well, often better than they know themselves. He picks his agents from those at their lowest, brought down by combinations of vice and misfortune that should have undone them- and without his intervention, would have. He takes these flawed men and women, gives them new--proper--purpose by putting them into his service, and through them exerts his will to see crime punished and order restored. His signature laughter terrifies the guilty and the wicked, and his omnipresence has friend and foe alike baffled.
Does this sound at all familiar to you?
It should. It's the very basis for Western Civilization turned into a masked avenger, a mystery man, and one of the first superheroes. That's God, folks. Redemption found in the service of something sacred, something superior to oneself, despite being broken and nearly destroyed when found and recruited? Straight up out of the Good Book itself. Batman, at his best, only approximates this much as half-assed Churchianity only approximates authentic Christianity; the refusal to render final judgement upon the unrepentant is far more of a big deal than it seems.
And yes, you'll see me come back to this in my writing when I conclude Book Nine of Star Knight.