In a day and age when crossovers are abundant (Batman/TMNT, Archie vs. Predator, etc.), Dynamite Entertainment presents another that rises to the occasion: Batman/The Shadow. In it, the Dark Knight gets back to his past as an antihero saving the streets of Gotham.
The Shadow was a collection of serialized dramas in the 1930s. He has been in magazines, comics, TV, video games, and film. The Shadow developed from a radio narrator to a literary icon. He also inspired the creation of Batman, so it makes perfect sense that these two would be in a crossover together.
Snyder and Orlando write this script with a lot in mind, particularly the time gap between Batman and the Shadow. Instead of making this issue confusing or nonlinear, the writers use the time gap to their advantage, treating the Shadow as if he were a supernatural entity. Within the context of the series and outside of the book, Snyder and Orlando explore the effect that the Shadow had on Batman. In keeping with the Shadow’s stealth, he is a master of disguise and can essentially control when he is and isn’t seen. Putting him and Batman together makes for a very entertaining story.
Rossmo’s illustrations are perfect for the antihero/pulp crossover event. The panels show a lot of movement and fluidity, but are still filled with the gritty artwork, messy lines, and heavy shadows that we’re used to seeing in Batman comics. The characters are represented in a modern time period, but Rossmo’s illustrations have an old timey, classic pulp noir look to them. Plascencia’s coloring adds a lot of depth to the issue, whether it is from light sources or shading.
The only down side of this issue is that we don’t get to see things from the Shadow’s point of view—only Batman’s. I’m sure subsequent issues will have more of the Shadow in them, but I would have liked to see both title characters represented more equally.
First and foremost, this is a detective story. Most Batman books are action-focused, but this one gets back to the roots of both characters. It’s a great introduction to the series, which looks promising thus far. So, head to your local comic shop and give this issue a read!
Written by: Scott Snyder & Steve Orlando
Illustrated by: Riley Rossmo