Gotham is at war, Batman’s “soldiers” are dropping like flies, and the League of Shadows is knocking at their doors. Sounds fun! We review part 3, but is it good?
Detective Comics #953 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
“League Of Shadows” part three! Batman’s team faces the League of Shadows, which believes in only one thing: complete and utter destruction! The League’s plan for the city is revealed…but can even that secret compare to the bombshell that is the identity of Cassandra Cain’s mother?
Why does this book matter?
This is the greatest threat Batman’s team has faced and probably the one they’re most helpful in stopping. Cassandra, AKA Orphan, gets some major character work in the process.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
How awkward is Batman right now? He waits for no man!
As the war builds, writer James Tynion IV has decided to make things go from bad to worse. The opening scene involves a meet up with Batman, Batwoman, and Jim Gordon, which reminds us not everyone assumes Batman murdered the mayor. The scene also helps to see how Batman is attempting to warn the police of the war that hasn’t even come yet. Throughout the issue Batman and his compatriots are one step behind the League and it’s plotted well so the reader is always one step behind as well.
For a team book, this issue is quite centric to Cassandra’s character. Really this story arc is about her coming to grips with her family and overall Tynion IV establishes the complexity well. We see her deal with desiring a mother early on, and in the present seeing how ruthless that mother is. She must confront her and Batman the only way she knows how–through her fists–so there’s some neat psychology via fighting going on.
Artist Christian Duce and Fernando Blanco tag team on art and both do an impeccable job. Duce’s lines are detailed–very detailed–with dark and moody inks to make the scenes more tense and gloomy. Blanco meanwhile, puts on a show when it comes to the art. There’s one page of fighting that’s between two characters kicking and punching in all sorts of ways and it makes the fight feel clinical. In a flashback, Blanco draws Cassandra and her teacher’s fight with interlocking panels which helps convey the complexity of their relationship. There’s a lead up to a scene that uses Time Square as a backdrop that’s quite nice too, with the lights blurring and framing the faces of the characters in a cool way.
It’s getting bad guys.
It can’t be perfect can it?
A similar gripe that I had with the last issue comes up again and that’s how ill prepared Batman and his crew are. Batman gets his ass beat again–admittedly he’s not fighting for a reason–and his team gets taken out with ease. Considering how much this character has been through the events in the book seem to make it way too easy for the villains and ultimately make Batman and his crew look weak.
Is It Good?
It’s always darkest before the dawn and boy is it getting dark fast. Detective Comics is shaping up to be one of the more dramatic cases of Batman and his crew being beaten before they can even try in a long time. That makes for a story that’s compelling, especially with the character work on Cassandria.