In Review: The Shadow/Batman #1

“…Would you know you were living in a cypher if you didn’t have the keyword?”

Synopsis: The World’s Greatest Mystery. The World’s Greatest Detective. They can barely stand each other, so how will they possibly deal with the World’s Greatest Evil? What legacy can two of the world’s most enduring icons of justice leave once they discover an ancient evil has been living inside the world they protect for centuries, attached to its heart. Can Batman and the Shadow save the world without killing it in the process? Writer Steve Orlando (Batman/The Shadow, Justice League of America) and artist by Giovanni Timpano (The Shadow, Transformers) unite to tell an instantly classic tale of noir, mortality and generational heroes and villains.

Review: “…Would you know you were living in a cypher if you didn’t have the keyword?”

With those words, Bruce Wayne summed up The Shadow/Batman #1. Writer Steve Orlando crafted an ominous exposition-heavy first chapter. We have The Shadow, Batman, Damian’s Robin, Pyg, and forces connected to no less than Moriarty. We have the cypher, but not the keyword.

However, in Orlando’s hands, the cypher is compelling enough on its own…for now. He understood the various character dynamics well enough to simply let them play out and drive the narrative.

I do have one major issue with Orlando’s narrative choices, though, and it’s the fact that he has apparently killed off Margo Lane. I realize that she was a retcon for the radio show, but she was a retcon that defied the odds to become an important part of The Shadow’s story. I truly hope Orlando’s rationale for her death is solid and her end doesn’t serve some hackneyed purpose.

Giovanni Timpano‘s art was wonderfully evocative. I particularly appreciated the opening panels depicting Batman and Robin’s confrontation with Pyg’s unfortunate Dollotrons.

All in all, The Shadow/Batman #1 was a solid start. I’m looking forward to seeing if Batman can find the keyword and if The Shadow knows.

Written by

Steve Orlando

Art by

Giovanni Timpano

Published by


The Shadow/Batman #1
  • Story, Art
  • Margo Lane is apparently dead.
  • Story
  • Art
  • Lettering
  • Cover

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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