Friday, April 28, 2017

Batman / The Shadow #1

   In comics, time is the enemy of continuity.

   That's because, for "permanent" heroes like Batman, Superman and most heroes, they're stuck in time. They can only age a small amount - and that means, in the long run, writers must "adjust" their story to keep them in the modern day.

   So Batman has only been operating for the last five or 10 years - not since the 1940s, or the '60s, or the '80s.

   So the big problem arises when heroes are linked to a particular time. That's a burden The Shadow carries.

   Like Doc Savage, that hero is linked to his brutal crime-busting career of the 1930s and '40s - so it's difficult to bring him into modern times.

   DC actually did crossovers (of a sort) with the two back in the '70s, when it was still plausible that the two heroes could meet (heck, Batman even met Sherlock Holmes, compared to whom The Shadow is a punk kid).

   But for them to meet in modern times, The Shadow would have to be over 100 years old - so obviously he'd have to use some kind of mystic power to extend his youth.

   That's believable enough, but his assistants have no such dodge to avoid Father Time - yet in this story a couple of them are still around and, while aged, they're pretty spry for centenarians.

   While this comic doesn't specify its time setting, Batman uses advanced tech, so presumably it's set in the present - so it's a bit of a struggle for purists.

   Still, it's great fun to see the two heroes meet (especially since the one was based so closely on the other), and it's a hard-hitting confrontation that keeps each true to their (very different) characters.

   So it's a meeting that probably shouldn't happen in the modern day - but if you can relax that inner voice that objects to continuity problems, you're sure to enjoy this issue.

Grade: A


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