Comic Book Review: The Shadow/Batman #1

“…My God. The breadth of the crimes. It’s been right there all along. In plain sight.”

The Shadow/Batman #1 is brought to you by the mind of Steve Orlando. He has a penchant for the weird and eccentric. This story brings two antiquated heroes together, making Orlando a surprising choice. His inclusion of Damian gives the story a fresh and modern feel. The interiors by Giovanni Timpano are just as pleasing as the script they depict. Timpano’s work resembles a more straightforward Fernando Blanco, with deep shadows at the corners of every character’s eyes.

The meeting of these two characters is worthy of an entire series, let alone a 6-issue mini-series. Luckily, Steve Orlando is a master of the structure. Creating several short-form series is one of Orlando’s many talents. The Shadow/Batman #1 is another excellent brainchild from one of comic’s best creatives.

Partners in Cr…Comics

A good creative team is the backbone for any great series. The artists who collaborate to bring a story to life need to match each other’s sensibilities and tone. Orlando and Timpano must be becoming fast friends.

Together the writer and penciller deliver an enthralling beginning to this story. Without revealing the entirety of what’s to come they manage to craft a more captivating opening. The entire story isn’t spoiled by too many details. Panels introduce as many questions as they do answers. It works wonderfully.

Shadow/Batman #1

The jokes are funny; the action is entertaining. DC and Dynamite have clearly found the right men for the job.

I Just Can’t Get Enough

Orlando has been an incredible asset for DC. His work on Midnighter is some of the most inventive work in recent memory. This has led to more than a few gigs for the writer in the post-Rebirth world, and with good reason. Orlando has a great mix of 80’s action and humor with modern sensibilities.

The Shadow is not dissimilar to DC’s Batman. A loner bent on vengeance, who fancies standing in the darkness with a cape and mask. The likenesses that unite them are more than the powers that divide them.

Shadow/Batman #1

Grant Morrison’s precocious Professor Pyg is a highlight of the issue. Timpano and colorist Flavio Dispenza do particularly detailed work on Pyg’s attire. His visage is always frighteningly grotesque, and Timpano’s work is no different. The faces of his dollotrons are as hideous as ever. Just one of many haunting yet striking images to be found throughout these pages.

The Verdict

Modern comics have it hard. They need to appeal to young audiences while remaining exciting enough to garner mature readers too. Steve Orlando knows just how to hit all the demographics. The story elements can be weird or traditional. The dialogue can be witty or blunt. The plot can be simplistic or wonderfully complicated.

He pulls out all the stops to create a truly engrossing 1st issue. The Shadow/Batman #1 is both an explosive introduction and an emotional tease. Both characters look gorgeous under the careful hands of artist Giovanni Timpano.

It can often be difficult to interpret scripts with such varying tones. Balancing the sometimes slapstick humor with a deft hand and delicate details. The two titular heroes are a brooding bunch, but this team knows just how to delight. Together, Orlando and Timpano make a campy concept into a captivating read.

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