Batman/The Shadow #1 Review

While some may not know it, The Shadow has been around for 87 years at this point. Making his name on pulp novels and radio shows in the 30s, with a fandom larger than arguably anything since. Batman himself was largely a copy of The Shadow or a heavy inspiration if you will. These two have crossed over in the past making for a great comic, so seeing it here again is always a pleasure. The story is setup with a murder in Gotham City and Lamont Cranston aka The Shadow appears to be the culprit.
Batman The Shadow #1

From the outset, you can see Snyder’s fingerprints all over this and I mean that in a good way. This story reads as a true detective style comic, with most of the issue being dedicated to the sleuth, Batman. Following leads, dressing up as Matches Malone, and starting to scratch the surface of this mystery. That’s not to say there isn’t any action here, as we do see a quick brawl between The Shadow and Batman. Although you can clearly tell that Batman is playing catch up here with Cranston clearly having the upper hand.Batman The Shadow #1

However, the best part of this comic has to be Snyder’s and Orlando’s characterizations. Being a crossover they get to play with many different characters and have some fun with them. From Batman, we have Pamela Isley, Maximilian Zeus, Harvey Dent, and Victor Fries, as they are all in Arkham Asylum getting their food for the night. Miss Isley getting deep fried tarantula, Harvey wanting whiskey but settling for a stadium dog, and so on. Not to be left out we also see characters from The Shadow, such as Shrevnitz (daughter to the original Moe), Margo Lane, and Clyde Burke to name a few. While most of these are nods, they are welcome additions to the story, even though they may be short lived.

Batman The Shadow #1The artwork here is perfectly matched to the noir detective style story. Rossmo’s pencils have a retro pulp feel to them while still being clean and modern. Further adding to that classic pulp feeling Plascencia uses halftones in the color, another nice touch. While I do have a side nitpick about Batman’s cowl ears being very tiny, that’s just me being obsessive.

Batman The Shadow #1 is one of the hidden gems this week. With Flash #21 and other major titles, it would be all too easy to overlook this book as just another crossover. Do yourself a favor and go pick this up, even if you know nothing about The Shadow, you can still enjoy this. With a great cliffhanger ending and possibly changing a Batman character forever, I can’t wait for number two.

More Info

Reviewed by Tim Montoya
Batman The Shadow #1
Written by Scott Snyder and Steve Orlando
Art by: Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascencia, Clem Robins

Published by DC
Release Date: April 26th, 2017

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