A decent start to a new series that has huge promise.
Just last week, Scott Snyder and Steve Orlando wrapped up DC’s Batman/The Shadow miniseries. Apparently now, it’s Dynamite’s turn. The Shadow/Batman sets up another crossover, but this time, Damian Wayne and New York City are major factors.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
The World’s Greatest Mystery. The World’s Greatest Detective. They can barely stand each other, so how will they possibly deal with the World’s Greatest Evil? What legacy can two of the world’s most enduring icons of justice leave once they discover an ancient evil has been living inside the world they protect for centuries, attached to its heart. Can Batman and the Shadow save the world without killing it in the process? Writer Steve Orlando (Batman/The Shadow, Justice League of America) and artist by Giovanni Timpano (The Shadow, Transformers) unite to tell an instantly classic tale of noir, mortality and generational heroes and villains.
Why does this matter?
If it’s half as good as Batman/The Shadow we’re in for a treat, and given Steve Orlando is on board writing this one too, it can’t be far off. Giovanni Timpano is on art duties and is a favorite of ours at AiPT! who has drawn an incredibly cinematic Eclipse series.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
For a professor you sure have dirty gloves.
This issue opens with Professor Pyg creating a ruckus on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Quite a theatrical time and place to do some villainy, and it properly sets this issue up to make it feel a bit different. Two big takeaways from this issue are how Pyg saw something that even scares The Shadow and the tumultuous relationship Damian and Bruce Wayne currently have. Neither heroes are in good places and thus probably need each other more than ever with the threat that’s coming.
Orlando devotes five pages of this narrative to Batman confronting Damian and asking him to back off on the current mission he’s devoted himself to. The closing pages have them go at it, first with words and then with fists. It’s an interesting dynamic on display since we’ve seen them be rather close and work together for so many years.
Timpano draws a strong issue with his customary finer detailed work on faces and backgrounds. There’s a weight to the characters not unlike Frank Quitely’s work that’s clearly hand drawn with a slight curvature to everything. Timpano even gets a crack at the Batcave, which is impressive with its car elevator and layered areas.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The actual story hasn’t quite gotten off the ground yet and we’re already an entire issue in. Aside from setting up the rocky relationship between Batman and Damian, there’s very little setup as far as the villain or where we go from here. Shadow gets very few pages to do much of anything and aside from a tease of something big coming, there’s nothing else to go off of. Instead, we’re given way more pages developing the fight Damian and Batman are working through and some scenes with Professor Pyg that don’t add up to much. The book isn’t awful by any means but seems way off track setting up elements that would usually be side plots more than anything else. Given the title, it’s also a shock to see so little of The Shadow.
Is It Good?
A good first issue that doesn’t seem to be in any rush to set up the villain or stakes. Instead, it focuses on familial issues between Batman and Robin and a promise of a big bad threat. If you dig these characters there’s a good chance you’ll love this, but this will be a two-issue read minimum to see if you’re on board for the full run.