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.
Release Date: January 8th 2019.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
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.
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.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and DC Comics for sending me a copy for review!