By Dustin Cabeal
Lately, DC has been teaming up a lot of character with other companies. It’s not a bad play as it was a heavy staple of the 90s and I doubt anyone would argue that it was a business practice that sunk the industry. If anything, it was a decent practice that made comics fun so in a lot of ways, it’s nice to see it back. Now, that’s not to say that they’ve all been hits or even interesting.
The idea of Batman and The Shadow is an interesting one, but I will fully admit that the creative team instantly had me worried on this title. As much as I like Riley Rossmo’s artwork, it’s not the perfect fit for this story. I know that I will be in the minority on this, but I don’t care. While I loved his designs, his style doesn’t match either world that’s being intertwined in this issue.
The other issue is that I’m not a fan of Scott Snyder’s Batman and I’ve yet to read anything from Steve Orlando at DC that I’ve liked. With that said, this is okay. It’s not great. For the sake of the story they blow up Batman’s origin, and now some other dude (or at least a Dude I haven’t heard of) has trained Bruce. Then the story backtracks, pointlessly I might add since the opening didn’t add any shock or awe. We see a guy that hands out food to all the inmates and Arkham, and he gets their orders right. It’s all ridiculous stuff that he A) wouldn’t have the budget for or B) have the time and resources to procure. I know it was supposed to be cute and whatnot, but I find it cheesy and illogical.
This dude is then murdered, and then Batman shows up only to be confronted by The Shadow, and then he drops some “I know” knowledge on Batman, and that sends him spiraling after The Shadow. The rest of the book is just that, Batman trying to find the Shadow and talking to all of the familiar pulp characters and supporting cast. Which intertwines the two worlds pretty nicely, but isn’t very interesting. Eventually the two come face to face again, it should be obvious, it was to me, but not Batman.
When you bill a character as being, “The World’s Greatest Detective,” then there’s a catch… they have to be the world's greatest detective constantly. Even in a situation like this, they can’t drop the ball or “still be learning.” The Flash doesn’t suddenly stop being the fastest man alive when he’s a rookie in a story, so why they do that with Batman is just beyond me. The writing is okay. The dialogue is decent, none of it is particularly interesting, and I found the Batputer to be goofy and annoying more than anything. None of this seems sincere, but rather, “Hey let’s do this it’s pretty cool, right?” I’m not a fan of that, but I know that most readers will enjoy it for that reason. That doesn’t, however, make it particularly great, just okay. The story does its job and plays it safe, and I don’t know if you can ask for anything more than that.
I wanted to say one more thing about the art; I didn’t want to spoil too much of the book, especially not at the start of the review. I hated the fact that Bruce’s mustache kept falling off, not one, but twice in the book. It was ridiculous and added this goofy element that frankly doesn’t belong with either character, which again, is why Rossmo wasn’t a good fit for the title.
More than likely you’ll buy this if you’re a fan of either character, either writer or the artist. I’m not trying to stop you either. It’s a safe, entertaining story, but it’s not groundbreaking, and I’m not going to over hype it. It is what it is, and much like the crossovers from the 90s, in twenty years it will be forgotten or looked back upon in a list and nothing more. It also doesn’t need to do anything more than that and hit its sales target.
Batman/The Shadow #1
Writers: Scott Snyder & Steve Orlando
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Colorist: Ivan Plascencia
Publisher: DC Comics/Dynamite Entertainment