Batman/The Shadow: The Murder Geniuses by Scott Snyder & Steve Orlando

details
Title: Batman/The Shadow: The Murder Geniuses.
Writer(s): Scott Snyder & Steve Orlando.
Illustrator(s): Riley Rossmo.
Colourist(s): Ivan Plascencia.
Letterer(s): Clem Robins & Deron Bennett (prologue).
Publisher
:
 DC Comics.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: January 8th 2019.
Pages: 168.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401285616.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.

thoughts

What happens when a classic noir character from another publisher knows a resurgence and crosses over into the DC Universe? A whole lot of adventure. While these crossovers are not unfamiliar to DC Comics, they have tended to be of lesser quality to what fans often crave for. Occasionally, there are writers and artists who find the right mix to deliver stories that are unexpectedly a match from Heaven and those moments are what keeps fans on the edge of their seats hoping that what they are about flip open will be the magical story they have never thought of wanting so much. If there’s one hero that is, however, easy to integrate with other comic book publishers, it’s Batman. From heroes from the Marvel universe, Hellboy, Judge Dredd to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, there is no shortage of ideas that can be thoroughly explored, but there’s one mix that surprisingly goes quite well together and that might not have worked so well if it didn’t have a particular creative team on it and it’s with Batman and The Shadow.

What is Batman/The Shadow: The Murder Geniuses about? Collecting issues #1-6 as well as stories from Batman Annual #1, iconic authors Scott Snyder and Steve Orlando join forces to explore an uncanny duo whose encounter will unveil a supernatural universe with deadly forces at works and who seek refuge in an ancient and powerful prophetic location that could either be the beginning or the end of everything. It is during the investigation of the murder of a Gothamite that Batman identifies Lamont Cranston as his prime suspect only to discover that he hasn’t been alive for over half a century and now usurps his way through life as the alter ego and master detective known as the Shadow. Their confrontation will, however, lead them in a clash of ideologies that will either turn them into friends or foes, but a tirade will be necessary for anyone of them to realize anything about their ways of life.

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With a collaborated effort, Scott Snyder and Steve Orlando draw upon Batman’s and The Shadow’s most fundamental philosophies to connect their very distinctive realities together. In fact, The Shadow has always been a part of the Dark Knight’s life although Bruce Wayne has never been aware of his influence on his growth. While Batman’s rational and grounded interpretation of reality has often been put against mysticism and paranormal activities, it has often served as a wonderful moment of introspection for the Caped Crusader. In this story arc, The Shadow’s universe comes to engulf Bruce Wayne and Gotham City in an envelope of mysterious and inexplicable occurrences that blends perfectly with the exploration of the judgment of criminals. The whole story takes on Batman’s non-lethal crime-stopping methods and puts it up against The Shadow’s lethal and deadly vigilantism to have them both try and understand each other’s vision of criminality.

The artwork works wonderfully with the story and is consistent from cover to cover. It is a style that reminds me of Takashi Okazaki’s character design in the animated movie Batman: Ninja, but something less strict in the contour of characters and objects. It is sometimes rough and grainy but does a great job in capturing the ideas conveyed by the writers. There’s also an underlying cartoon vibe to the story that is particularly observable in action sequences that can be sometimes bothersome in its ability to convey realism in its more fantasy-oriented ideas. The splash pages are however stunning and do wonders in delivering insanely wild moments that seems completely preposterous, but its the colours and transitions from panel-to-panel that aid readers in being immersed by the story. With an inclination towards action sequences rather than intrigue development, the mystery also permeates throughout the art and story.

Batman/The Shadow: The Murder Geniuses is an exciting and mythical crossover event that leads vigilantes to reassess their respective approaches to ridding the world of crime.


EXHIBITA

 

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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and DC Comics for sending me a copy for review!

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25 comments

  • Rats, Ichabod beat me to it! I love that phrase.

    My only “in”to the Shadow are the references I’ve heard to the old radio plays and the terrible Baldwin movie from the 90’s.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Intriguing! I’ve never read a Shadow comic, and the movie from the 90-ties was not very good, but this looks like an interesting encounter. I’ll re-visit the classics before, though, I’m re-reading Miller’s Year One this weekend.
    What did you think about Batman: Ninja? Netflix tries to make me watch it, but I’ve read bad things about its script…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It indeed is! The character didn’t get as much spotlight as other characters, but the radio program and comics definitely turned him into an American icon! 😛 Sweeeeet! I love Frank Miller’s Year One classic. One of my first Batman comics in fact.

      Oh boy… I wouldn’t exactly recommend it. The art style is different and unique to what DC animated movies are usually like, but the story in itself has a lot of flaws. The thing is, the movie knows that its plot is insane and plays on that. It knowingly goes over the top in every way possible. It’s a mash-up of a bunch of iconic things from different Japanese/American shows (i.e. the whole mecha-fighting was very Power Rangers-esque). If you ever do watch it, you’d have to turn your brain off and just enjoy the craziness hahah

      Liked by 1 person

  • Super write-up Lashaan, I’ve always enjoyed Dynamite’s Shadow titles and a team-up between Batman and the Shadow is definitely a no-brainer. I was initially going to get the single issues but opted to wait for the collected edition which I’ll hopefully check out eventually.

    Have you read any of the Batman/Turtles crossovers? I enjoy a bit of the Turtles (mainly the original Eastman/Laird stuff and the 1990 movie and I was a fanatic of the 90s cartoon growing up). I’m not sure if that would work myself but it seems to have been well-received as they’d announced a third mini-series and an animated movie – man, I’d love to see them adapt Batman/The Shadow into animation that could be pretty good!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve never tried the original Dynamite’s Shadow titles myself. But after this crossover I definitely felt compelled to give them a go. I was going to get them in single issues too but I think I had too many comic titles in my reserve at that time (I believe it was around the whole Metal even too… or a bit before).

      I wanted to give those Batman/Turtles series too but I couldn’t tell if it would be worth it. They sound fun but something tells me the quality wouldn’t be as great or something. I heard about the animated movie too! Although the visual style (based on one of the pictures they showed with the announcement) reminded me of Batman Brave and the Bold, which isn’t exactly a good thing hahahah But I’m glad to hear you’re a TMNT fan! Did you hear about an upcoming TMNT live-action reboot post-Michael Bay? I hope it’s better than what Michael Bay had to offer….

      Like

  • Oooh you watched Batman: Ninja?? How did you like it? It was a crazy experience for me, that’s for sure; for a long while I couldn’t believe my eyes 😉 The story is totally out of whack, but the art is just amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haahahahaha it got more insane by the minute. 😛 I won’t lie that it probably had one of the weakest plots of all the animated movies so far, but the movie itself knew that it was being insane and with the pretty artwork, it was hard to not want it to become as far-fetched as possible. It was fun, but filled with plot holes. The art style really saved it. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

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