[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers!]
Writer: Scott Snyder & Steve Orlando
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Bruce, like all great people, know when they are beat and how to ask for help. In Gotham a murder has the detective scratching his head. Lamont Cranston, an orderly at Arkham Asylum, was stabbed in the head in his apartment after returning from a shift at work. No evidence was left except an attacker on the scene! But who could go unnoticed by the dark detective?
The second issue has Bruce investigating a shadow society of hidden agents and long stored arsenals. This organization seems to not be fighting against Batman though, in fact they have an enemy all their own who is threatening Gotham. The fight gets personal for Bruce however when Leslie Thompkins becomes a target in this hidden war.
The first thing readers will notice about the Batman/The Shadow series is the colorful and humanizing art. The characters are drawn in a very human and life-like way, not as godly or stylized as in some of the bigger DC titles. The emotive faces drawn by Rossmo are the best part. Each character looking and feeling unique with distinct features and expressions.
The character designs for both Batman and The Shadow are a joy to see. While not changing their costumes, simply exaggerating or minimizing certain aspects, they both become tied to this series. The shortening of Batman’s ears and widening of his body, and the exaggerated flow of The Shadows cloak make these heroes truly stand out and become eye catching.
The scrip and dialogue of Orlando flows extremely well in these issues. Each character feels distinct in their dialogue boxes and phrasing. More importantly, the dialogue is perfectly spread throughout to never bunch up and bog down the flow of the book.
In the first issue we also get to see another appearance of the infamous Matches Malone, who is always a fun alter ego to see in the Batman universe.
With this story, Snyder and Orlando are taking certain liberties with the history of Batman and many hardcore fans may find it unwelcome.
Batman/The Shadow #1 & #2 are fantastic reads, they take into account various aspects of Batman’s skill set as he investigates his latest mystery. The Shadow is a looming and ethereal figure presenting a great challenge to the Dark Knight. These issues have set a high bar for the rest of the series but there is no doubt that the series will continue to be just as great!