Publisher: DC Comics
Release: November 28th 2017
Issues: Batman/The Shadow 1-6 and Batman Annual 1
I received an advanced copy of Batman/The Shadow: The Murder Geniuses from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Batman/The Shadow: The Murder Geniuses is the complete tale of our two heroes in their struggle against a common enemy. The combination of two longstanding DC characters is breathtaking and brilliant. If you’re looking for a Batman series where another character can actually keep up with the way Bruce Wayne thinks, then this is the story for you.
For those that don’t know him; The Shadow came to DC in the 1930s, and has been a pretty popular hero in the past. He has many talents and claims to fame, and many students have trained under him; most recently is our own Bruce Wayne (while he was working to become Batman).
There’s a new killer in Gotham – he appears to be targeting specific people, but the pattern is unclear. The first kill (that we’re shown at least) is the city’s biggest philanthropist, and he just so happens to be a friend of Bruce Wayne (naturally). The second killer I was actually quite fond of – Lamont Cranston, the man in charge of feeding all of Arkham. He seems to genuinely care about the inmates and their specific dietary needs. I knew the moment I started liking him that he was doomed to die; it was actually a pretty brilliant ploy, as I’m now emotionally invested in seeing the killer taken down.
There’s some confusion about who the killer is, as the killer appears to have done a wonderful job framing another character (you can probably guess whom), sending Batman off on a wild goose chase for a bit. I’ll admit that I was fooled as well; having assumed the mask of the killer being shown was just another one of The Shadow’s faces.
Bringing the Joker into this story was actually really interesting – he’s drawn and portrayed in subtly different ways than standard, but I really enjoyed the changes. He seems a bit more focused on revenge (not even his in this case) than with toying with Batman – though perhaps that’s just part of his con. I did love the obvious jealousy the Joker showed when Batman focused the fight onto the killer; it’s everything I would expect from a Joker/Batman confrontation.
One of the highlights (for me, at least) was the conversation/confrontation that occurs between Alfred and the Shadow. I never would have anticipated that event, but man was it wonderful. Alfred is one of those truly underrated and underappreciated characters, but it’s moments like this where he really shines.
I loved the way that Orlando and Snyder wrapped up the plot arc. I sincerely was worried about what was going to happen next (especially for The Shadow). I hope this team-up occurs again, and in this case I’m referring to both the characters and the creators!