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The Shadow: A Chemical Connection

—Thank you to William Hunt for supplying this information. I will let him describe it in his own words...

The setting is Reinhardt Lane's laboratory. The Shadow has disposed of the first Mongol guard and is battling with the other horde of warriors, tossing them around like toys. But his shadow is caught in the flashlight beam, and with bolts from a crossbow, he is pinned to the wall.

Have you ever noticed what is on the wall that he is pinned to?

Many chemistry students will recognize the periodic table, which shows how the chemical elements are related to each other. The first bolt pins the Shadow's cloak near element 57, LANTHANUM. The second bolt pins him next to element 85, ASTATINE.

I am not one to do a chemical analysis of the two elements. There may be a hidden message there. My concern is ferreting out what seems to be a linguistic joke, almost a pun.

The name of element 57, LANTHANUM derives from the Greek word, LANTHANEIN, which means to escape notice. Isn't this what the Shadow does by being invisible, escape notice?

Element 85, ASTATINE, derives it's name from the Greek word ASTASTUS, which means to be unsteady. As the Shadow is pinned to the wall, doesn't he seem to be rather wobbly on his feet, almost unsteady, as he stops being a shadow and becomes a three-dimensional person?

Maybe this is just an example of someone reading more than is there into this scene. But it seems to be a very subtle joke.

They could have picked any elements for the bolts to slam into.

Why those two. Maybe only The Shadow knows.

William Hunt


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