Batman and The Shadow are teaming up, but first, they must fight! That’s standard superhero code guys. We delve into the opening salvo of Scott Snyder and Steve Orlando’s epic crossover prepared to lose our minds over Riley Rossmo’s amazing art!
Writer: Scott Snyder, Steve Orlando
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Publisher: DC Comics/Dynamite Entertainment
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Two of history’s greatest vigilantes are reunited at last! Murder has come to Gotham City, and Lamont Cranston appears to be the culprit…but he’s been dead for over fifty years! Batman will go to the ends of the Earth to unravel the mystery of Cranston’s life, but the mysterious Shadow will do everything in his power to stop him from learning too much…
Why does this book matter?
Riley Rossmo is, in this humble reviewer’s opinion, the best Batman artist today. Not only is his style all his own, but it’s kinetic and suits the cape and cowl look.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Love the climbing gear Batman.
I may be biased having read, reviewed, and loved nearly everything Rossmo has done. This issue is no different. Batman looks fantastic with a great use of shadow throughout the book. His gadgets look great too, with a digital forensic scan similar to ones seen in the recent video games. Plus, there’s a moment where Batman has his belt off, which strangely makes you think he’s a bit nude. The fluidity mentioned above continues here and I’m not sure I’ve seen an artist utilize the cape in this kind of way. It just looks right, fluid, and functional. As some might not know, The Shadow has a cape of his own and his is magical and looks great too. In a full page spread we get that red and black cape in all its glory, with “Ha ha’s” wrapped around it. It’s a sick sight to see.
The story in this issue ain’t bad either. Opening with a worker at Arkham, Snyder and Orlando give us a different slice of life in the asylum. It’s where function–the man feeds the inmates– meets comics–Batman’s rogues gallery have specific tastes–which is a neat way to give the characters and the overall world some color. The story is bookended with Batman calling on an old teacher, which helps add a level of anticipation and expectation to the detective story that takes up most of the issue. Fans of Batman should know we get a classic moment of Bats dressing up in full disguise mode, which is a fun sight for Batman: The Animated Series fans.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The only failing of this issue that I can see is we never get The Shadow’s perspective. It makes this issue much more Batman focused, though future issues will assuredly show more of The Shadow I’m sure. That said, I was left wondering if this series as a whole will be Batman focused.
Is It Good?
This is a detective story first, which suits the two detective leads well. The setup works to bring the forces together drawn in an impossible to resist package.