It’s all been building to this across Josh Williamson’s multiple DC Comics titles as “Shadow War” officially kicks off with the Alpha issue. Stories taking place in Deathstroke Inc., Robin, and even Batman to some extent all come together in the crossover starter out today. The crossover has promised major deaths, major revelations, and growth. As we learned in Robin #12, the al Ghul family is making big moves.
This issue opens with Ra’s al Ghul not doing so well and a reminder of what Williamson revealed in Robin: He’s dying. Meanwhile, Damian is trying to make it work with his mom while his father is back on the scene protecting Gotham. Overall, this one-shot is well-crafted with a story that moves forward nicely.
Somewhat surprisingly, a lot of this issue takes place in the light. That gives a different vibe to the one-shot in general and makes Batman and others come off as less shadowy. Much of the action takes place on city steps and there’s a decidedly political element to the story. A major theme about protecting your family is floated around multiple characters which connect loosely to politics.
Everyone will be talking about a major moment involving a murder which is well drawn by Viktor Bogdanovic. There are a few splashy pages littered throughout the issue that are impactful and huge in scope. Backed up by Daniel Henriques on inks with colors by Mike Spicer, the book in general looks great. It has a bright look that’s not hyperrealistic and suits Bogdanovic’s style.
Some panels can feel a bit empty, though, and there’s a splash with Batman hugging Robin that is oddly replicated twice to create some impact. It ends up looking like it needed more, which can happen here or there. Another gripe is the page count not quite maximizing the issue’s potential. The one-shot certainly is served by the death, but it’s a little quick and could use a bit more meaty conversations or confrontations.
Shadow War Alpha #1 sets up a showdown between an unleashed Damian in a case of misunderstanding that could mean more bloodshed. As a one-shot, there’s a major death that readers will want to snatch this up for and there are key pieces that’ll get you ready for the biggest crossover event of spring.
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