“Shadow War” part 2 is underway today in Batman #122 and a major murder has taken place. Batman is attempting to figure out who did it while Deathstroke, the prime target, is an innocent man. There are a lot of moving pieces, especially with how writer Josh Williamson left the al Ghul family in Robin. With Damian on the run, Talia hurt, and the Lazarus Pits not functioning properly, key figures are in more danger than ever.
The plot thickens in this second chapter. The issue opens with the mysterious man who fired the shots that killed Ra’s al Ghul and the hunt to find out who it is continues. After that, the issue dives into a few directions, be it Batman doing some detective work or Deathstroke trying to keep himself alive. Damian is also off doing his own thing and one has to imagine all three will run into each other when the opportunity is right.
The action is where it’s at in this issue, though, with an excellent ninja fight featuring Batman, and a great escape by Deathstroke in one scene. To see a character run towards a rocket to avoid death is a pretty cool concept. Howard Porter gets three full pages to show off Batman’s skill at fighting multiple ninjas at once and it’s super fluid and cool.
Porter’s art is quite good in this issue with character faces looking like they were carved from stone. There are double-page splashes that feature tons of detail and Batman looks cool as hell. The draping of the cape in the opening looks very fluid, giving him a different feel. Tomeu Morey’s colors add a nice pop where needed as well as great lighting and shadow. While some sound effects are clearly by Clayton Cowles, props to Porter for some hand-drawn effects here as well.
Everyone will be talking about the final few pages and rightfully so — from the way Porter plays with a shadow to the big kiss and what that means for Batman, there’s a lot to chew on. It also gives the book a bit more purpose than table setting and action pushing it a bit over the edge into a great read.
But wait, there’s more. There’s also a backup titled “Secret Meetings” by Willaimson and Trevor Harisine with colors by Rain Beredo. It’s a tale about Batman encountering Deathstroke for the first time and his target is Robin. The art has an old-school look and feel that suits the time jump and there’s a cool twist that should have fans excited for more.
Batman #122 doesn’t suffer from the second issue story arc slump, delivering action, intrigue, and mysteries galore. We also get to see some cool bat-tech that has to be inspired by the video games and a big mystery in how the shooter showed up. This issue may as well feature Porter and Williamson screaming, “are you not entertained?!”
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