Batman/The Shadow Issue #1
Published by DC Comics and Dynamite Entertainment
Writers: Scott Snyder and Steve Orlando
Art by: Riley Rossmo
Colors: Ivan Plascenia
Letters: Clem Robins
Cover by Riley Rossmo
Variant covers by, Tim Sale & Brennan Wagner, Cliff Chiang
There are currently six issues scheduled for this series.
The history of how Batman creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger were influenced by Walter Gibson’s The Shadow, particularly the plot of Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics #27, has been covered by the likes of Anthony Tollin and William Murry. So it does not need repeating in detail here. I only mention it now in the off chance that a Batman fan picks up a copy of Batman/The Shadow Issue #1 and does not know who The Shadow is or the history of the character.
Which now brings us to Batman/The Shadow Issue #1. Scott Snyder, Batman scribe extraordinaire, and Steve Orlando do not disappoint with this first issue. It has a murder mystery. The Shadow is involved. There is a possible connection to Bruce Wayne’s Grandfather. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot because you should read it for yourself. There are enough references to the Shadow’s various identities and agents to satisfy the casual fan. For those of you already shaking your head saying “C’mon, the Shadow would be like a hundred years old now,” his close friend and confidant Margo Lane sums up the suspension of disbelief the best. She says, “I’m still alive but I got old. All of his agents got old. He didn’t. His hate kept him young.”
The art is by Canadian artist Riley Rossmo whose work has been previously seen in Constantine Issues #1 to 12, and various titles published by Image comics including Proof, Cowboy Ninja Vikings and Green Wake. Rossmo’s art was sufficient to convey the murkiness of the two characters without it becoming leaden.
I enjoyed the book a great deal and it lived up to my expectations. This is high praise considering some of Dynamite’s previous forays into translating Pulp characters into comic books have fallen short. I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
The idea of a team up between the Batman and The Shadow is not new. There have actually been two previous comics starring the two characters. The first was Batman #253 in 1973 and then the second was #259 in 1974. For the purposes of DC Comics’ post-Crises, Post-Zero Hour, Post New 52, and now firmly into the Rebirth era, we are going to pretend those two comic books don’t exist. Hopefully those two stories will be reprinted in the inevitable trade paperback of this series.