The League of Shadows has put Batman and his Bat-friends in a real pickle; and by pickle, I mean near a death situation! Orphan is the only one free to fight and this issue, much like this story arc, focuses on her. Can she fight back?!
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Marco Takara
Publisher: DC Comics
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
“League Of Shadows” part five! All of her teammates are broken-or dead. There’s only one fighter left to stand between the League of Shadows and Gotham City’s total destruction. This is Cassandra Cain’s greatest battle-the fight she was born for! Do not miss the most astounding action sequence of the year!
Why does this book matter?
James Tynion IV has been building up the Orphan character well so if you’re a fan of hers you must read this. On top of that, Ra’s al Ghul revealed a big secret to Batman (who he still has captive) last issue.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Give them clothes, give them their dignity!
Marco Takara draws an excellent issue with layouts that make the fighting stylized and exciting. Even on a page layout with simple page wide panels there’s a dynamic you don’t normally see (like Orphan’s head popping up and out of her panel into a panel above her) and his use of 6 tiny panels across a page help convey all the little motions in the fighting. We’re being spoiled these days with artists who can draw such atmospheric, clear, and detailed art and Takara is yet another artist to keep your eyes on. At one point the layouts flip and go landscape, which is a nice touch that allows him to draw even wider action shots. That helps convey just how many people Orphan is fighting at once.
Tynion uses a nice flashback moment between Orphan to ramp up the action in this issue well. It anchors all the fighting to an emotional moment Orphan has with a stranger that gives her motivation that much more push. There’s a strong character under her somewhat scared personality and these flashbacks do well to show she just needs a little push to be a fantastic hero.
There’s also a nice check in with the other Bat-characters, one that reminds us they aren’t dead (as we all probably figured). This short scene helps remind us Batman is the one usually ready for anything, but not so in this story arc! There’s also a check in with Batwoman’s dad which helps ramp up the stakes and give the story a ticking time bomb element.
Bat’s looks great but dammit kick ass already!
It can’t be perfect can it?
Once again, Batman comes off as weaker than ever in this series which bothers me. It’s a story element that’s hard to agree with when he’s fighting gods over in Justice League or fighting odds even more impossible elsewhere. Given the team aspect of this series it suits the story that Batman needs help from his friends, but dammit does he have to look so weak!?
Is It Good?
This is fight comics done right! Orphan takes center stage, fights off more villains than you can count, and solidifies herself as a hero worthy of her own title. All in this issue alone!