by Michael DeLaney
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
After Frank Miller turned Batman into an angry grumpypuss, many modern Bat-tales involved The Dark Knight’s allies showing him that there might be a better way than un-trusting ultraviolence. In Batman/The Shadow 5, Scott Snyder and Steve Orlando place Batman on the opposite side of that dynamic while embracing another trope of the character: Batman is always right.
Batman has been playing in The Shadow’s mystical world of ritualistic killing, but now he drags The Shadow into the real world. Though he is slowly dying from being stabbed by a mystical dagger, Batman proves to The Shadow that the villain Stag is not an immortal, but multiple people.
The tone of this issue is set on the first page. Riley Rossmo depicts Alfred tending to Bruce’s wounds — his favorite pastime — and arguing with The Shadow.
Up till now, The Shadow has been a smug, cold, all-knowing force of justice (sound like anyone?) and is humbled by the revelation about his deadly foe. Batman and The Shadow have another discussion of their methods as they prepare to take on The Stag and The Joker again.
Both have valid points: Shadow would’ve solved the mystery of The Stag ages ago and Batman could’ve spared Gothamites from so much death and suffering. Nevertheless it feels like Batman has won this debate of dueling philosophies. As he is battling the legion of shiny Stag-men, The Shadow opts for non-lethal wounds. In addition, I believe this is the first issue of the series where The Shadow’s face is uncloaked for its entirety. He’s becoming a little more human.
Snyder and Orlando have done a great job at balancing the scales between the worlds of The Shadow and Batman but it’s always been clear that their allegiance lies with The Bat.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?