Review: DETECTIVE COMICS #956
Author: Peter Verra (Follow @PETER ILLUSTRATED)
Date: May 15, 2017

SYNOPSIS: “League Of Shadows” finale! It’s all out war against the single most ruthless villain Batman’s ever faced: Lady Shiva and her army of nihilistic killers! But at least one member of the team might wind up swallowed whole by the darkness of the League.

“League of Shadows” finale concludes this arc of DETECTIVE COMICS that is highlighted by Tynion's ability to write a beautiful story centered on Cassandra Cain. Last time we checked in, Orphan had just infiltrated Shiva’s base and freed the Bat-family singlehandedly for the final showdown. Cassandra comes face to face with Shiva and she’s out to prove that she is more!

This issue starts off with what I really cherished most though out the run, Cassandra and Shiva. I flipped through these pages while grinning reading the back and forth during the fight between these two. Every piece of dialogue was incredible; truly the best of this run was saved for last. Hearing Shiva speak her side, give her reasons with authority then Cassandra firing right back confident and strong, it was very impactful. You can sense that Tynion loves these characters and it comes out in his writing. Everything seems to just flow through this issue. Seeing the interaction between the team was tremendous; Azrael and Batwing share two panels that fit in humor perfectly like the best Marvel movie. I even enjoyed what I saw from the Colony in this issue. If you have been reading my reviews you know that the Colony has been a negative for me on this arc. We never do find out what Ulysses did with that Red Robin suit, I was hoping that would be of some significance. We get a double dose of Ra’s in this issue with a powerful flash back between Ra’s and Shiva. Then the ever-cunning Ra’s pops up at the conclusion with a weapon that I never would suspect him using but I’m not surprised. What’s not to be overlooked is just how much of this situation Ra’s actually controlled; he never ceases to amaze me with just how ahead of everyone else he really is. I have enjoyed Tynion’s run since REBIRTH; he blends an interesting cast of characters in these grand stories.

We get another superb artistic effort from Marcio Takara and Marcello Maiolop. Some of these panels are out of this world! The Cassandra/Shiva fight with the red and orange in the background is beautiful. Seeing Cassandra front and center of the team ready to take charge is powerful. This book is just beautiful to flip through, a stand out part for me aside from the fight scenes are the Batwoman/Clayface panels and it was pure genius. I’m really impressed with Takara’s ability to draw an awesome Clayface. While in action poses it reminds me of how the character would move on BTAS. Throughout the arc the art has been wonderful. Takara split the run with Christian Duce Fernandez and I do not recall major issues during the run.

Eber Ferreira and Eddy Barrows bring our main cover to us. We get a great fight scene between Batman, Orphan and Shiva in what looks like a sewer. The first thing that popped in my head was an old issue, Batman vol 1 #657. They are somewhat similar. Rafael Albuquerque draws our variant cover; this is a very ire cover. Looks like Batman has just jump out of the Lazarus Pit with sword in hand. The cover almost looks neon, very creative. Throughout the course of the run the covers for the main and variants were really fantastic. If I had to pick my favorite it would be #952 draw by the earlier mentioned Eber Ferreira and Eddy Barrows, they gave us this real scary cover of Batman being dragged down in a crowd of hands in panic, I really love that cover.

Overall, I genuinely enjoyed this issue and this story. Seeing this side of Cassandra was really a pleasure, Shiva was a real stand out for me as well. I can’t recall liking a better interpretation of Shiva’s character before. They really carried a strong emotional story that captivates you. Tynion balances out the team very evenly, it never seems like he spends too much time with one particular character. They all get their time to shine when the timing is right.

Now things are going to change up a bit in the next issue. According to DC Comics, #957 has Tyinon will be sharing writing duties with Genevieve Valentine while the drawing will be taken over by Carmen Carnero in a Stephanie Brown/Spoiler story. I’m looking forward to see what the new additions to the creative team will bring. If Tyinon can do for Stephanie Brown what he just did with Cassandra Cain I am all aboard. - Peter Verra

GRADE: A-


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