batman the shadow #3
BATMAN/THE SHADOW #3 by Scott Snyder and Riley Rossmo
The newest installment of BATMAN/THE SHADOW is an exciting one that will keep you engaged in the developing story of this crossover!
87 %
Compelling and Innovative
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In BATMAN/THE SHADOW #3 and previous issues, Scott Snyder and Riley Rossmo have succeeded in merging the worlds of the Shadow and Batman. The Shadow is a notable vigilante and master of disguise that originated in 1930’s pulp magazines. The character is featured in a 1994 film that was a critical and commercial failure. We don’t need to talk about that though.

The previous two issues of this crossover series successfully establish Batman as the Shadow’s foil. Previous issues depict the Shadow as a former murderer who has atoned for his sins by taking up this mantle. In doing so, he satisfies his bloodlust by killing the worst of the worst. So, even though these characters are on the same side, their differences contribute to conflict between their perceptions of justice. Batman’s no-killing rule leads him to deem the Shadow as untrustworthy. This dynamic and the development of an engaging narrative continues into the third issue of the series.

BATMAN/THE SHADOW #3 page 9. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

What’s The Dealio?

The issue commences with Batman’s predicted meeting between the Stag and the Joker. The Stag is an immortal monster who preys on the noblest of individuals. As a result, he seeks out allies who match his cruelty. On the other side of this war, Batman has captured the Shadow to keep him from killing. Though Batman believes in his capability to overcome the Stag alone, Alfred Pennyworth counters his master’s hubris. He details a story to the Shadow regarding his own experience with dark forces. Believing that these influences can corrupt the best of people without explanation, Alfred affirms that some evil cannot be fought. With this, he believes Batman is making a mistake in underestimating the Stag.

READ: Missed the last issue? Take a look at our review for BATMAN/THE SHADOW #2!

I always enjoy a story that puts focus on Alfred. Not only is he loyal, but he maintains insight into situations that may blind Batman himself. In this issue, Alfred isn’t a supporting character who’s incapable of contributing to the story. It’s nice to see him get some attention when so many other works fail to do so.

The Many Hues of BATMAN/THE SHADOW #3

This issue explores interesting aspects of the Shadow and the Stag’s backstory. The reveal of the Stag’s ancestor as Cain, the first murderer, was an interesting inclusion. In regard to the Shadow, I’m glad Snyder digs deeper into his origin by delving into his past as a ruthless murderer, for I found his backstory lacking in previous issues. In addition to this origin, the Shadow affirms that he trained various superheroes such as Batman, Crimson Fox, Reaper, and Green Arrow. This new information provides a layer of complexity to the reader’s understanding of Gotham City and the characters who’ve passed through it. It also makes it seem as though the Shadow maintains an omnipresent nature in Batman’s life.

BATMAN/THE SHADOW #3 page 11. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Though I found BATMAN/THE SHADOW #3 to be a cohesive entry in the series, I missed the interaction between Batman and the Shadow. The two are different exemplifications of the archetype of a hero. Also, Bob Kane and Bill Finger drew inspiration from the Shadow to create Batman. Seeing these vigilantes interact was exciting, so the absence of this interaction is a bit of a letdown. I also missed some of the noir aspects that were emphasized in the second issue. Of course, there are multiple issues to follow this one, so I am sure these aspects will soon return.

READ: Are THE INCREDIBLES and WATCHMEN the same movie? Find out here!

The artwork Riley Rossmo is certainly one of the standout aspects of this issue. In my personal opinion, it’s reminiscent of a work by Tim Sale or Alex Maleev in its sharpness. For a modern Batman work, the issue is quite vibrant in color, which is refreshing.

BATMAN/THE SHADOW #3 page 23. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

In Retrospect…

Though BATMAN/THE SHADOW #3 isn’t the best entry in this series, it’s certainly a worthy one. The dynamic art, backstory on the Shadow, and emphasis on Alfred are definitely standout elements of this issue. Ultimately, Snyder and Rossmo succeeded in bringing the Shadow into Batman’s world. As a result, the following issues are sure to build towards an exciting climax!


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