Shadow War Alpha #1
Shadow War hasn’t been the kind of lengthy event that was begging for an anthology special, yet we get one with this issue.
While its need is still debatable, readers invested in Shadow War will get served some solid stories featuring some of the non-Batman/Robin/Deathstroke players in this crossover event.
Shadow War architect Joshua Williamson teams with Otto Schmidt on the Black Canary lead feature. Seeing Schmidt drawing Canary brings back warm feelings of the excellent Schmidt/Benjamin Percy DC Rebirth run of Green Arrow. Along with some Birds of Prey interaction, Williamson also pits Canary against her mentee, Angel Breaker.
The other strong story finds Ghost-Maker and Clownhunter trying to keep Black Spider alive reform Talia’s ninjas. Writer Ed Brisson quickly established a Darker Duo dynamic with Ghost-Maker and Clownhunter. Of the numerous characters James Tynion IV introduced during his Batman stint, these were two of the more memorable and it’s nice to see they haven’t been forgotten already.
Mike Bowden’s crisp style provides some engaging action sequences. Since Batman theme books tend to have the most staying power, Brisson and Bowden collaborating on a book with Ghost-Maker and Clownhunter has some potential.
Harley Quinn hardly needs a feature, but writer Stephanie Phillips shows Harley tangling with more of Talia’s forces. Ann Maulina’s artwork is appropriately more animated and cartoonish than the other stories. The payoff to this story is intriguing with a character that’s been on the bench since Tynion’s Detective Comics run ended asserting themselves for an exciting idea.
As the case with most anthologies, it’s a variety of quality. There’s nothing outright bad and the tease for future exciting developments makes this a worthwhile read.
Rating: 8 out of 10