“Batman/The Shadow” Finale
Writers: Steve Orlando, Scott Snyder
Artists: Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascencia
The conclusion! (Spoilers) Thus far, this series was running beautifully and smoothly. It was a dark noir, murder/mystery, but I felt it ended in turbulence. This might to due to the method of story-telling as issue #6 is filled with flashbacks and dream-like scenarios, it certainly feels like a different narrative. There is too much going on, however, the lessons of persevering through trauma and tragedy are still bold and strong. It becomes exciting once Shamba-La is found to be a trap.
I miss the torture and anguish. Orlando and Snyder gave the series a strong sense of mystery and left us with mystery. The Shadow constantly challenges Batman’s identity, and even the monsters in the dark try and tell him who he is. The Shadow serves as a conscious for him at times. I am slightly confused why “The Teachers” are telling Batman that he can succeed the Shadow, but I’ll roll this off to an attempt at brainwashing him. The Shadow’s life isn’t meant for Bruce Wayne. It’s way too ominous, even for Batman. Still, the story is entertaining, my particular favorite scene is when Batman asks the true identity of Shadow.
This scene was beautifully planned and written. There are things that even Batman can’t know.
The art is gorgeous. This is what wins the series. The action scenes are compelling, and during explosions and climatic moments, I can feel the ringing in my ears due to the way Plascencia does colors. Rossmo’s lanky features are suited for a series like this, the Joker and Shadow both look as if they’re malnourished, but this enhances the insanity in the series. All characters presented here struggle with demons. Monsters don’t live in closets or under bridges, they live in your head. The layouts of each page are brilliantly placed, one can really imagine how the art could play out if animated.
My only disappointment is that I wish the series was less supernatural. They’re both detectives, and Batman has a habit of not staying in his realm. Magic, dreams, and otherworldly experiences are not things new to Batman, his world is a trip, but supernatural evil teaming up with the Joker gave it an insane aura that felt like overkill at the end. Still, the art and writing conveyed a good unreliable narrative which I believe is part of the message. No one can rely on their mind. All members of the party, Joker, Batman, Shadow, the Stag, were pulled into a dark place in their minds and some just never got out if their heads. DC did an amazing job setting up the art duo, it’s dynamic, amazing, top notch! Creepy and eerie, and if you’ve kept up with the series, the finale is worth it.
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment