The Shadow may take the leading credit in this title, but this issue is all Batman!

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Personally, I loved Batman/ The Shadow. Yes, I feel as though it could have ended a little better, but overall Steve Orlando won me over with his depiction of Batman. I thought the noir aspect, the detective work, and Stag as the villain were all high points, and I was curious to see how (or if) he could top that level of quality here. Well, while I won’t necessarily say he topped it just yet, he definitely met that level of quality. And actually, he might have the potential to make this run even better than its brother book!

In case you’re wondering, this does not appear to be a follow-up to Batman/ The Shadow. As of this issue, it looks as if The Shadow/ Batman is a completely separate story with no direct ties. I can’t say that for certain though because our two leading men never actually cross paths here. In fact, The Shadow is barely in this issue!

The story kicks off in New York, with Batman going after Professor Pyg. Yes, you read that correctly. No, it’s not a typo or mistake on my part. Batman. New York. Pyg. Oh, and Batman isn’t alone, Robin (Damian) is with him! Oh, glory, glory hallelujah! I’m already excited!

Our dynamic duo works together to try and stop Pyg and his Dollotrons while managing the crowd around them. While Batman is Batman in every way, the real star of this scene for me is Damian. I know he’s young, and I know his character hasn’t been around for very long, but this is a classic Morrison representation of Robin! He’s a smartass that kicks ass, and he lets everyone around him know it! Yes!

The two make relatively easy work of Pyg, but gain some incredibly interesting intel while doing so. Shifting into more of a detective themed book, Batman and Robin abandon the fisticuffs to begin investigating the lead… separately. As it turns out, there’s a bit of  domestic troubles for our dynamic duo. At first, I wasn’t a fan of this. The dialogue we get between Bruce and Damian – and especially Alfred – made me feel a little uncomfortable. I didn’t like it… But then the more I thought about it, the more I realized that was the point. The state of their relationship is supposed to make us feel this way at the moment.

And that’s when I started to take notice of other aspects of the issue. There are so many subtle, well-calculated moments within the issue that I can’t wait to see where they lead! We do get to see a little of The Shadow, and there are teases of what his role will be within the story, but what I’m mostly excited about is what I’m assuming is the tease for the villain for this title. I’m not going to blatantly give that away, but I will tell you that it doesn’t appear to be a villain of Batman or The Shadow, but of another famous detective from another series.

Spoiler

So who does it appear to be? The Silent Seven… led by James Moriarty, the arch nemesis of Sherlock Holmes. Considering I recently started watching Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock, and Andrew Scott as the brilliantly creepy and twisted Moriarty… I’m so excited! This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Batman and Sherlock together, and while I doubt we’ll actually see Sherlock (or much of him), I hope to hell Moriarty is, in fact, the villain! I love a battle of wits, and we could definitely get that here!

By the end of the issue, I felt like a giddy girl going to prom. Yes, I really feel this book is that good! We’ve got a great mystery in front of us, and some incredibly strong characterization as well! If there’s one downfall, it’s that there is no way to know the actual direction this series will take. Because so much of it is a mystery, and because The Shadow’s role isn’t even remotely defined, we’re left with a ton of questions… And they’re all questions I’ll be incredibly eager to figure out next month!

The Art: Giovanni Timpano covers art for The Shadow/ Batman, and I’m a fan! First off, he’s a brilliant storyteller! His layouts and panels are so strong that I can’t imagine what this book would look like under a different artist. What needs to be familiar to us, feels familiar to us – something that is sometimes lost in crossover.

His pencils also work well for this story. His shading is strong enough that it adds the perfect amount of grit and texture to the book, and along with Flavio Despenza’s colors, the two create the perfect tone for this crime, detective, noir, mystery. I’m definitely a fan, and can’t wait to see more!

Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.

Spoiler

The Good:

Batman and Robin. I’m happy to see Batman and Robin together considering we’ve barely gotten any of these two together in Rebirth. One of the reasons Damian is one of my favorite characters, is because of his complex relationship with Bruce. Bruce cares so much, and Damian doesn’t make it easy… But Bruce is also Bruce, and sometimes his “I know what’s best” approach isn’t actually what people need, even if he is right – something Alfred is well aware of. Despite the two not seeing eye to eye, nothing feels petty or forced. Orlando has set up a beautiful, damaged relationship, and I desperately want to read more! Also, DC, please give Orlando a Batman & Robin title!

 

Look at all of those Batmobiles! There’s actually more there, the guided view just cut them off!

 

Moriarty. Please… Please let this actually be a tease for what’s to come! I beg of you! If this is what’s in the pipeline, then I’m going to do a happy dance all the way to my comic shop, into my comic shop, out of my comic shop, while driving, back into my house, and as I read this book! I. Am. Psyched!

The Bad:

Honestly, the only thing I can think to say is that there could have been more of The Shadow… But for now, I’m fine with the exposure he got, and feel as though Timpano made his small moments so impactful that it just gives us something to look forward to next month!

Recommended if:

  • You like detective/ noir stories.
  • You were a fan of Batman/ The Shadow.
  • Batman, The Shadow, Robin, and Professor Pyg… Need I say more?
Spoiler

Fine…

  • You’ve frequented Baker Street a few times in your life…

Overall: If… IF this is leading where I think it’s leading, we’re in for one hell of a fun, psychological ride! This is pure detective, crime, noir and it’s perfect! The nods to the history of comics and inspirations for Batman are scattered throughout the entire issue, but they’re honestly just little touches of texture to compliment a great script with great characters! Go get The Shadow/ Batman #1!

SCORE: 9.5/10

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