After a highly engaging Batman #122, writer Joshua Williamson and artist Howard Porter return this week with the “Shadow War” part five. Williamson continues to explore the mystery surrounding who killed Ra’s Al Ghul while also bringing Damian and Batman back together again. If you liked Batman #122, believe me, you will love Batman #123.
This issue opens with Batman and Damian interrogating a prisoner in order to get some leads in figuring out who pretended to be Deathstroke and took the kill shot. This is a relief since previous chapters have been more focused on the confusion and attacks on the real Deathstroke since he was framed. This scene is a great opener as it shows Damian and Batman work well together, and they also use the shadows well too. Porter continues to amaze with his draping of the Batman cape and costume. It looks alive.
And that’s only the first five pages. This issue is jam-packed with good scenes, plot progression, and action. Batman and Damian have a battle of their own while Deathstroke is attacked by some uniquely armed ninjas. There is definitely a lack of answers as far as the bigger mystery, but it’s so good to see Batman and Deathstroke interacting with their kids in the field.
Porter is backed up by color artist Tomeu Morey and letterer Clayton Cowles who do a lot to bring Porter’s flowy costuming to life. The opening scene plays with shadow very well while the colorful streets and play of light on costumes are great too. There are great sound effects throughout that amp up the action along with good color effects.
Speaking of the action, Porter maximizes the energy of movement with good swooping lines. There’s a great example of this with Respawn jumping down to protect his dad Deathstroke. The immediate next panel has bullets flying coming right at the reader. If comics could ever somehow make the jump to 3D, Howard Porter should be the first artist to draw them.
Closing out this issue is the second and final backup chapter by Josh Williamson and artist Trevor Hairsine. Deathstroke has been contaminated by the Joker toxin and Batman must stop him from blowing Joker’s brains out. The art is detailed and old school with a good sense of pace. The story in itself is a fun side adventure that adds a layer to Deathstroke’s distrust and disgust with Gotham.
Batman #123 is another great issue with fabulous art and color. Batman looks fantastic under Porter’s lines and this issue furthers the mystery plot and the good vibes of Damian and Batman fighting together again.
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