Review: BATMAN/THE SHADOW #1

BATMAN/THE SHADOW #1
Written by Scott Snyder and Steve Orlando
Art by Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascencia
Published by DC Comics/Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: April 26, 2017

***SPOILER WARNING***

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows! Batman crosses over with a legendary pulp classic, a hero who aided in forming the hero archetype that influenced Batman himself in this first exciting issue of Batman/The Shadow!

I’m super lucky that I managed to snag this review, since after I started reading the review copy, I noticed immediately that the shadow the title is referring to is radio drama staple of from 1937-1954, The Shadow, my second favorite radio drama detective show from that time only slightly behind The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes! And trust me when I say it does the character justice!

Snyder and Orlando prove once more to be storytellers of epic proportions. The pulp-noir oozes throughout the story, especially as Batman tries hard to outmaneuver the Shadow with varying results. The Shadow is as insane as he is a tactical genius and a master of disguise. The mysteriousness of the Shadow’s “justice” in this first issue is one I look forward to unraveling in the issues to come. I love that the Shadow is also giving Batman a run for his money when it comes to world’s best detective.

Rossmo delivers the pulp-y, early comics style with a modern gloss to it. While the characters are of our present time period, there’s this feeling in how Rossmo draws the comic that creates a strange sense of a past time period displaced in the present. I especially love how he draws the Shadow as if he can bend reality to his will, control when, where, and how people can see him, which falls in line with the Shadow’s usual abilities of stealth, deception, and disguise.

Plascencia’s grasp on three dimensional light and shading adds depth to the coloring of the issue and provides layers that create a more polished and shadier world for these two dark knights to inhabit. His overarching understanding of how subtle changes in shading can create ample amounts of amplified drama bring a finesse needed for such a clash of titans and is much appreciated.

My favorite scene within the issue is a quick fight.

Two men of the dark fight on a rooftop.

The ominous intruder manages to find himself behind Batman, blindsiding him for a moment with a powerful kick to the back.

“You’ve fallen to a world bigger and darker than you can imagine…‘No world is beyond reach, except that which we turn away from’. Patrick would be proud, Bruce.”

Batman pauses for a moment.

“…the letter. No. There’s no way you could know that.”

A swirl of laughter floats around the treacherous man, a gust of wind blowing dust clouds around him, his cape and long scar flapping darkly around. There is no facial expression. There is no defining feature one his face. Because he is not merely a man. He’s more than that.

The Shadow knows.”

He is a force of nature.

I can’t say how much I recommend reading this. Buy it. Buy it, buy it, buy it, steal it from your friend or “borrow” it from your older sibling, because this is a fantastic comic and everyone should be reading it.

The Verdict: 10/10

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