[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Scott Snyder, Steve Orlando
Artists: Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascencia
Their mission is now on the line, Shamba-La has been breached by the Stag and Joker, and the murdering has begun. Inside of the holy place there are warriors waiting to defend their gods but they have never seen the likes of the Joker and Stag teamed up before. Luckily The Shadow shows up in time to slow their progress, but alone he is not enough.
Batman, dead, now drifts to the afterlife in Shamba-La and meets those that rule. The Teachers. They tell him of their intent for the holy place and how it is not paradise, but a trap for evil. It was conceived as a trap, legends of untold power to draw in those twisted enough to seek it out for evil deeds. Once they had proven they were the worst of the worst, as the Stag has done by killing thousands, they would be admitted and given an ultimatum. Seek redemption, or be cast to hell.
Those that seek redemption are later turned into The Shadow and given powers beyond mortal men to do what is right and destroy evil. At the beginning of this series The Shadow claimed to be in Bruce’s life from the beginning as multiple people, teaching him to become the Bat. The Teachers seem to agree for Batman has perfected on the skills of The Shadow and is offered the chance to have those powers to fight against evil and be immortal.
Will Batman take up the ultimate tools to fight evil and become The Shadow? Will he accept returning to life to fight for Shamba-La? Will the Joker be able to ever leave the trap wrapped in a legend?
Right from the get go this issue goes places I didn’t think it would. The Teachers feel and look like they could be the Orgdu Jahad from Hellboy. Having them be the opening page of this issue is a great twist to throw off the reader. Further, the legend of Shamba-La and the trap that it is was a fun twist that is fairly rare to be used and links it with such other stories as Cain and Abel from the bible, fusing them in an interesting way.
While the art, and the events in this story are entertaining, I do continue to like Riley Rossmo’s take on the Dark Knight. However, the conclusion of this issue and arc are somewhat empty. Batman is revived, of course, and even with all of the ways he, and his beliefs, have been challenged he doesn’t change his opinion. He still believes that he is right and that even when he does finally die, some how countless issues from now, another Batman must replace him.
While it is inevitable that this quirky mini-series can’t change main continuity, It feels as though this story had the ability to add something to the Batman mythos and change his methods, ideas, or mentality.
Batman/The Shadow #6 was an exciting, extradimensional thriller that took Batman out of his comfort zone. He once again proves to us that when it comes to saving lives or vanquishing evil forever, lives are more important. The art and script through out this series have been great and readers should look for this series as a graphic novel soon!