The Shadow may take the leading credit in this title, but this issue is all Batman!
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.
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.
- You like detective/ noir stories.
- You were a fan of Batman/ The Shadow.
- Batman, The Shadow, Robin, and Professor Pyg… Need I say more?
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!