Dynamite and DC Comics made the right move to crossover two of the most unnerving detectives to ever be written in fiction. To have Riley Rossmo, Steve Orlando, and Scott Snyder creating the comic was a genius move on top of a good one. So far this series has been a lot of fun and looked great doing it. Issue #4 is here; is it good?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
The Shadow must fight his way through Gotham City’s worst rogues in order to stop the Joker and the Stag from carving out Batman’s heart! But if he’s freed, will Batman be able to save the villains from the wrath of the Shadow?
Why does this matter?
As far as quality is concerned, this goes above and beyond most crossover events. It also feels purposeful and ties two characters together who already were similar and yet different. So far this series has harbored a great detective story too.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Bats is all tied up.
Riley Rossmo should win all the awards for this series. Seriously, from awesome double page splashes of action, to more subtle work like closeup panels showing the ropes being shot out by the Shadow, the guy draws your eye very well and can do it all. Rossmo also uses Shadow’s cape to great effect with it whipping around the page in a way only explained by magic. The use of Ben-Day dots to add texture is an element Rossmo uses quite a bit, which enhances a scene by drawing your eye and giving an additional layer to the art. He also draws all of Batman’s rogues very well in a unique sort of way that feels new. This issue has Batman and Shadow fighting everyone from Clayface to Scarecrow and even the Riddler. Why are they all in this scene? Who’s to say, but it looks really cool!
Though much of this is a fight comic, Snyder and Orlando continues to add other elements, like Commissioner Gordon rushing to help Batman and reflecting on how the last time he “got the call” Bane broke his back. It’s a nice nod to previous stories, and it ties Alfred into the story even though much of this is set under Gotham with fists flying.
Outside of this, Joker and Batman’s relationship continues to be played with. Joker seems to think Batman loves him in some way, which is further explored–at least from Joker’s perspective. This directly ties into Shadow claiming he taught Batman what he knows and Batman disagreeing. Batman certainly has a point and the dialogue–mixed with great lettering by Clem Robins–gets the point across.
Clayface is monsterous!
It can’t be perfect can it?
This is a quick read since most of it is action. At one point Batman says, “This is taking too long,” and he’s not wrong, but it draws attention to the fact that much of the issue is fighting and not much more. There are elements added to put meat on the bones, but it’s certainly a less thought provoking issue in the series.
Is It Good?
What a gorgeous book. Rossmo draws excellent double page spreads here and kills it with great panel work. Get this if you’re a fan of Batman’s rogues gallery, because they all show up.