“Shadow War” continues in this week’s BATMAN #123, and while the stakes are raising for others, and this is a Batman title, the war is more focused on Slade Wilson/ Deathstroke.
Writer Joshua Williamson has done a great job thus far adding layers to this crossover tale. This issue of BATMAN is chapter 5, and I’d argue each part has been important to what he’s building. Here, we have an excellent interrogation scene to open up to, featuring the Dynamic Duo. Damian gets a great moment, which is left to our imagination of how intense it really is. Add into the mix a massive moment with the Wilson family and that about sums up the issue.
While I understand we need all components to build upon each other to tell this epic, I felt Batman got a little short-served in his own title. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed what we got, it just didn’t feel like enough for this book. Williamson does do a great job of raising the stakes though, building this war between Deathstroke and Talia al Ghul, and I’m excited to see where it’s all heading.
Artist Howard Porter continues to be a fun talent to follow, no matter what world he joins. I like how he takes advantage of the comic book medium and really goes all out with his illustrations. The fighting is pretty clear, but also has a dark edge and grittiness to it. The smaller moments are also focused and contained, really drawing you into character interactions.
Overall, BATMAN #123 worked well and moved this “Shadow War” saga along quite nicely. It just may have worked better under a different title, as the Dark Knight seemed a little second-fiddle in his own book.
But I’m still looking forward to the next chapter. – Ryan Lower