Synopsis: The Silent Seven fight a war on multiple fronts. But if you follow the strings high enough, are Batman, the Shadow, and Robin still just puppets? Robin and the Shadow fight for their lives, while the actions of the Seven leave Batman unsure if he can trust anyone, including himself. Three generations of crimefighting are deserted and alone, but if they can come together to finally confront the Seven where they live, is it their final victory, or is it exactly what the Seven has wanted all along?
Review: The Shadow/Batman #5 was, again, a transition issue setting up the final confrontation. I felt sure that issue #5 would be the final confrontation as it felt like the heroes’ were at their lowest ebbs in the previous issue. I had forgotten that Damien had to be brought to heel before that would be true.
Unfortunately, I enjoyed this chapter even less than the previous one. Writer Steve Orlando doubled down on The Shadow’s I’ve-Been-An-Evil-Weak-Hypocrite-All-Along Angst. The result was seemingly endless villain monologuing that I couldn’t have cared less about.
The duel between Damien and his grandfather was much more interesting, as it wasn’t just talking heads. Moreover, Ra’s al Ghul’s villain monologuing actually demonstrated how effective The Secret Seven, or I should say The Secret Two, had become. I particularly enjoyed how Giovanni Timpano’s art highlighted the scope that Ra’s described.
I also commend Timpano for the panels depicting life in Shamba-la on page 4 and 5. There was a storybook quality to them that worked well in contrast with the rest of the story. Once again, the artist’s other achievement was dynamically rendering Shiwan Khan’s monologuing with copious split and inset panels. While all the split panels caused me some eye strain, I don’t honestly know how else Timpano could have drawn those sequences to maintain momentum.
All in all, The Shadow/Batman #5 did more place setting. Hopefully, readers will get the pay off soon.
- The themes and villain monologuing are getting too trite.