With so many major comic books coming out last week I realized I didn’t get a chance to review the latest chapters of the Shadow War crossover event with Batman, Deathstroke Inc., and Robin. This past week both Deathstroke Inc. #8 and Robin #13 gave us chapters three and fourth, respectively, of the Shadow War crossover. To make sure these chapters are covered I’ve put together a review round up for these specific issues.
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Paolo Pantalena
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
I’ve never been a big fan of reading Deathstroke as a protagonist and thus far Deathstroke Inc.’s chapter of the Shadow War crossover did not change my mind. Every scene with Deathstroke and his new son Respawn are by far the weakest parts of Deathstroke Inc. #8. Both Deathstroke and Respawn are one-note characters whose father-son bonding time does nothing to make them particularly interesting. Its just time waster until they are found by Robin and Ravager at the end of the issue. Its not until this ending that it really felt like we were getting some progress on Deathstroke’s side of the Shadow War crossover.
That said, the Batman and Talia Al Ghul side of the Shadow War story is what really lifts up Deathstroke. Williamson plays up how there is a level of respect between Bruce and Talia that continues to drive them back to each other. At the same time, because of who they are at their respective cores as people it is tough for them ever to be truly united. Which we see here with how quickly Talia’s own vision of how to get things done with hunting Deathstroke and other decisions goes against Bruce’s ideology.
In the end, the third chapter of Shadow War in Deathstroke Inc. #8 was a big miss. A few things happened that pushed the narrative forward but more than anything this issue just pointed out how dull of leads Deathstroke and Respawn are. Luckily the ending to this issue does tease a big improvement for chapter four of Shadow War.
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Roger Cruz
Inker: Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Luis Guerrero
Right away Robin #13 fixed all the problems with Deathstroke Inc #8 by having Damian Wayne and Rose Wilson clash with Deathstroke and Respawn. It made such a big difference to have Damian and Rose involved that it actually made both Deathstroke and Respawn more fully realized characters. This issue really pointed out that left alone Deathstroke and Respawn have a Dr. Evil/Mini-Me dynamic without the comedy.
The big development in this fight using the twist that Respawn is a genetically created kid using Slade Wilson and Talia Al Ghul’s DNA was also well used. This development fed into how much more open to being part of a family Damian was. If this was Damian before becoming Robin he would’ve likely killed Respawn. But now having learned the value of family we see how far Damian has come as a character who is open to having a blood-related brother now in his life. This also was able to highlight how different Respawn is as he is much more like Damian used to be before being influenced by Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, and the rest of the Batman Family.
Cruz’s artwork also plays well into how alike and different both characters are. Even there fighting styles come across as mirror images with Damian having the advantage as he isn’t blinded by rage.
This all led in well into the rest of the Shadow War story as Batman, Robin, and Ravager learn that someone set-up Deahtstroke to be seen as Ra’s Al Ghul’s murderer. While this would usually mean there would be an alliance created I’m glad Williamson didn’t go that route. Instead we see Deathstroke stay true to his antagonist self with how he gets Batman and Robin into hero mode so they get off his back. Which helped to bring Bruce and Damian back in a way that while not fully reconciling gets them on that path now that they are operating as the Dynamic Duo for this story. This in turn sets up how now we have three different parties each pushing the story forward for the second half of the Shadow War story.
Robin #13 was a big improvement over the previous chapter of Shadow War. Joshua Williamson and Roger Cruz brought all parties of this Batman, Robin, and Deathstroke Inc. crossover together in a way that made every character shine. Now the second half of Shadow War is set-up to, hopefully, be even better than the first half of this crossover event.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10