Batman: Detective Comics, Vol. 3: League of Shadows by James Tynion IV

Batman: Detective Comics, Vol. 3: League of Shadows

The sweeping new chapter in writer James Tynion IV’s acclaimed saga—featuring a league of talented artists including Marcio Takara (THE FLASH) and Christian Duce (BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL)—is here, in BATMAN: DETECTIVE COMICS VOL. 3: LEAGUE OF SHADOWS.Batwoman, an accomplished crime-fighter who’s overcome the darkest of betrayals. Clayface, a reformed villain whose potenti...

Title:Batman: Detective Comics, Vol. 3: League of Shadows
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Edition Language:English

Batman: Detective Comics, Vol. 3: League of Shadows Reviews

  • Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)

    .

    If I had to bet money on the Batman-related Rebirth series that would thrive first between James Tynion IV’s Detective Comics run and Tom King’s Batman run, I would’ve thought Tynion IV was on track to delivering the better content. While his run is still highly entertaining and generally much more intriguing than what Tom King has to offer, there just seems to be roof that his run can’t seem to burst out off in order to place a mind-blowing sto

    .

    If I had to bet money on the Batman-related Rebirth series that would thrive first between James Tynion IV’s Detective Comics run and Tom King’s Batman run, I would’ve thought Tynion IV was on track to delivering the better content. While his run is still highly entertaining and generally much more intriguing than what Tom King has to offer, there just seems to be roof that his run can’t seem to burst out off in order to place a mind-blowing story arc out in the market. Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 3) League of Shadows is the third main story arc by James Tynion IV within the Rebirth era. Collecting issues #950 to #956, the story explores one of the most well-known group of villains within the Batman universe: the league of shadows. Unfortunately, this secret organization remains a myth to the eyes of most individuals until now. Presenting us a rabid introduction of the league of shadows, James Tynion IV also places Cassandra Cain, also known as Orphan, at center stage and dives into her origin story with sheer brutality.

    Giving Orphan a voice was probably the best story-telling decision in this arc. For those of you who don’t already know, Orphan is not exactly a character that says a lot. Most of her dialogues are just a word or two long. To compensate for her lack of communication, she’s a natural dancing assassin. Every single one of her takedowns are lethal and merciless. This volume explores her personality as well as her way of life as her origin comes hunting her through a villain who matches, if not outdo, Orphan’s own viciousness: Shiva. The introduction of this Big Bad villain was pretty well done and conveys that urgent threat that is sure to come soaring into Gotham. There’s also a certain war for power that seems to surge within Shiva and one of Batman’s greatest villain, but its inclusion never felt quite poignant. In fact, after the first two issues, the story started to become very stale and uninteresting. The major problem that is presented is the Dark Knight being blackmailed for the death of an important individual and leaves everything on territory a bit less uncharted.

    What really stood out from this volume is the artwork, and not in a good way. One thing I really hate is the change of style from one issue to another, especially when there doesn’t seem to be any effort put into cohesion or transition. The first issue had the strongest artwork with Marcio Takara as the artist. Then the job shifted into the hands of Christian Duce for two consecutive issues. You’d think that things would quickly find consistency after that, but all we get is a hectic division of labour. With Christian Duce and Fernando Blanco sharing artwork duty and finally a return of Marcio Takara as lead artist for the final three issues. When the artwork becomes such an evident flaw throughout the story, you know something is wrong and that all you’ll get from it is a an obstacle that will hinder the experience of the reader. For me, the decline in quality that often arose throughout some of the later issues made me dislike the stagnant story-telling that was slowly floating to the top of this story arc.

    The artwork wasn’t this volumes forte and the story-telling felt a bit messy with multiple subplots and a rather incoherent main plot, but things don’t really find a balance with the characters either. The highlight definitely remains Orphan as James Tynion IV explores her past and her identity crisis throughout this volume. The arrival of Shiva launches Orphan on an even more complicated path as she tries to understand why Shiva does what she does. I did however enjoy all the analogies and development that was put into Cassandra Cain’s character. Unfortunately, while she does start and end strong, there still seemed to be some very hazy and blunt moments regarding her character in the middle. Nothing however compares to how atypical Batman seemed throughout this story arc. In fact, Batman never seemed to be any steps ahead of anything. He was lost and everyone managed to surprise him in ways that only Batman should be able to do. The only upside I saw from his character was his psychological support for Cassandra Cain, but sometimes, even that felt off; maybe just out of the blue.

    While the artwork sometimes had some pretty original moments (see that moment where it shifts into landscape), there was a steep decline in quality throughout most of those middle issues that really killed any vibe the story wanted to convey. Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 3) League of Shadows however remains fun and interesting as it explores so many characters at the same time. I do love it when two members of the team would have their own moment and have their chemistry developed in an instant (i.e. Batwing and Azrael with the whole science versus religion/faith dialogue, even if it wasn’t exactly part of the main story). Speaking of things that weren’t part of the main storyline, the first issue is an oversize anniversary special and includes a couple of mini-stories, including one that serves as a nice little unexpected teaser to DC’s next huge Batman-related event (Dark Nights: Metal). In the end, this third volume remains a nice Orphan-centric story that unleashes a bunch of different new threats for future volumes to explore. Fans will want to stick around as James Tynion IV will surely have something up his sleeves in volume 4.

    Yours truly,

    Lashaan | Blogger and Book Reviewer

    Official blog:

  • Chris

    There was a time when i'd have given League of Shadows a generous three star-rating and hoped that the next volume would be better, but that was before I grew tired of poor fill-in artwork, particularly on flagship titles such as Detective Comics.

    I mean no disrespect to Christian Duce or Marcio Takara (they both draw better than I ever could) and I appreciate that fill-ins are necessary on the comics that DC release twice a month. However, neither of those points change the fact that this price

    There was a time when i'd have given League of Shadows a generous three star-rating and hoped that the next volume would be better, but that was before I grew tired of poor fill-in artwork, particularly on flagship titles such as Detective Comics.

    I mean no disrespect to Christian Duce or Marcio Takara (they both draw better than I ever could) and I appreciate that fill-ins are necessary on the comics that DC release twice a month. However, neither of those points change the fact that this pricey collection (£17.99 here in the UK) just wasn't worth the money and their artwork was a big reason why.

    I did enjoy Fernando Blanco's pages (yes, the fill-in artists needed a fill-in and were outshone by him) and Marcelo Maiolo colours the hell out of the last few issues. Tynion IV's story also has it's moments (usually the ones with Lady Shiva and Cassandra Cain), but is neither as enjoyable or compelling as the first two. I enjoyed Rise of the Batmen and The Victim Syndicate to the point that I almost completely overlooked their flaws, but that just wasn't possible with League of Shadows.

    Both of the main art teams return at the end, but only for a couple of short teasers. Their work looks amazing, but i'm not sure which I care about less, the Azrael story for the next volume or the Dark Days lead-in for...The Forge? Dark Knights? DC Metal? I don't care.

    Fortunately, there's another gallery of variant covers by Rafael Albuquerque (imagine how good this arc would have looked with some of

    artwork) so the book doesn't end on a completely sour note. However, when all is said and done I think I might be finished with Rebirth's Detective Comics and I couldn't be more disappointed.

  • James DeSantis

    This is right around a 3.5. I think Detective Comics remains engaging and fun throughout it's series run though the best part is still the first arc for me. This one brings in the league of shadows. For some odd reason Batman believes they aren't real. Then we find out why he believes that. Then we have some side story with Batwing and Clayface which is entertaining but feels like a afterthought. The main event is Cassandra and her life as Orphan.

    What I liked: Anything to do with Cass is GREAT.

    This is right around a 3.5. I think Detective Comics remains engaging and fun throughout it's series run though the best part is still the first arc for me. This one brings in the league of shadows. For some odd reason Batman believes they aren't real. Then we find out why he believes that. Then we have some side story with Batwing and Clayface which is entertaining but feels like a afterthought. The main event is Cassandra and her life as Orphan.

    What I liked: Anything to do with Cass is GREAT. The moments of quietness for the character really help grow her. I also love any fight scenes with her because she's the most vicious fighter on the team. Add on the fact her relationship with different people is always interesting. I also like Batwomen alot in here, she came across most relatable here. Also thought Clayface was adorable here, as he is becoming one of my favorite characters.

    What I didn't like: Batman's plot felt uneven. I also felt Batman was kind of dumb? Like he just seemed to be surprised and confused at everything. Also his reaction with the mayor felt offbeat. I also still don't care about Batwomen's father. So anything with him was mehish. The art seemed to be pretty bad at certain points too.

    Overall Detective Comics is still a must read for Batman fans. I think it balances a lot of characters pretty wall. Also the character growth of people like Cass make it well worth reading for fans of the character.

  • Blindzider

    This volume focuses mostly on Orphan/Cassandra, with Tynion trying to develop a character that doesn't speak, no easy feat. He pulls it off well, and with lots of action, so this arc was fairly well rounded with the exception of not a lot of Batman. Primarily at the end, there's a tidbit at the end which seems to lead into the Dark Metal crossover. I really appreciate the writing spending time getting to know the characters in this series.

  • Chris Lemmerman

    [Read as single issues]

    Here they come to wreck the day/town/entire Bat family - it's the League Of Shadows!

    This six part story brings the League of Shadows as well as their illusive leader Lady Shiva to Gotham, and then it's up to the Tec team, including new member Luke Fox, to get them the hell out of dodge. Of course, the fact that Shiva could potentially be Cassandra's mother complicates matters, as does the re-emergence of the Colony. Oh, and there's Ra's Al Ghul to deal with too. This arc i

    [Read as single issues]

    Here they come to wreck the day/town/entire Bat family - it's the League Of Shadows!

    This six part story brings the League of Shadows as well as their illusive leader Lady Shiva to Gotham, and then it's up to the Tec team, including new member Luke Fox, to get them the hell out of dodge. Of course, the fact that Shiva could potentially be Cassandra's mother complicates matters, as does the re-emergence of the Colony. Oh, and there's Ra's Al Ghul to deal with too. This arc is busy.

    And yet, this still remains the most consistent and most enjoyable Rebirth book that I'm reading. The characterization is always on point, every character gets time to do something awesome, and there are multiple storylines at play all at once - this is what happens when you give a creator a book for a long term project, and allow them to seed ideas early on that don't come to fruition until later.

    The art on this one is divided up between Christian Duce and Fernando Blanco for the first three issues, and Marcio Takara for the final three and the prologue story from Detective Comics #950. Takara's a little more fast and loose with his linework than I've seen before, while Duce and Blanco have very different styles that don't really gel as well as you'd hope, but overall the aesthetic of Detective Comics is preserved by the three artists, and it works very well.

    3 volumes in, and still my favourite. You go, Tec.

  • Chelsea

    *** Received an ARC review via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

    4.5 stars.

    So, this volume centers around Rebirth! Cassandra Cain and her meeting with Shiva.

    So, I’ll get the negatives out of the way upfront: (1) This is not my favorite art. Something about it just isn’t as pleasing to the eye, to me. (2) I’m still majorly bummed that this version of Cass is not Bruce’s daughter. This version of Bruce is wary of her and she chose to name herself after David Cain, something Cass woul

    *** Received an ARC review via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

    4.5 stars.

    So, this volume centers around Rebirth! Cassandra Cain and her meeting with Shiva.

    So, I’ll get the negatives out of the way upfront: (1) This is not my favorite art. Something about it just isn’t as pleasing to the eye, to me. (2) I’m still majorly bummed that this version of Cass is not Bruce’s daughter. This version of Bruce is wary of her and she chose to name herself after David Cain, something Cass would never do because her father was an abusive prick. Sigh. (3) All of Cass’ portions are told through narratives and boxes because she barely speaks because they regressed her. While I liked the choice to use movement and art to tell her story, i’m still not pleased with these choices as a whole. (4) There’s another fade to black scene when Shiva’s fighting. Why?

    Onward!

    I loved that they gave us more of Cassie and ballet. I loved her sneaking into the studio to learn and watch the dancers! She's fascinated by people using body language to create art and not pain. I also loved Cass using the dance moves to inspire her fighting style. It was heartbreaking to see Cass unable to communicate with Harper even though she so badly wants to. This friendship remains interesting to me.

    I liked seeing Bruce's proud little smile when he’s talking about Cass. Bruce admits Cass would beat him. Batwoman worries about her. Bruce also talks about them taking her out to see ballet. Again, wish she was still his adoptive daughter but this was cute to see. I also really liked the relationship between Cass and Basil.

    Shiva has always been a very dynamic character. Watching Cass go through this situation where her mother, who she’s been dreaming of meeting, tells her she’s not worthy was heartbreaking. As were the flashbacks of her father’s abuse.

    So, when you separate Cass’ superior history (had to say it) and just appreciate this as a story for an entirely separate character, it’s pretty interesting. If I didn’t have the context of her past incarnation, I would probably love this even more. As it stands on its own, it’s pretty moving. Cass is a little more trusting of others, especially considering the scene with Claire, the dancer. I loved their interactions and I really hope Cass stays in touch with her.

    The crux of this story is Cass’ relationship with autonomy. While it isn’t as progressive as Puckett’s run, it does obtain some autonomy for Cass. She discerns, from a story read to her, that she can choose her own destiny. Not fighting to kill doesn’t make her weak: it makes her strong. She defines who she is; not her father and not Bruce. It does make me question whether they’ll let her have a real code name after this. Orphan. Especially after David Cain makes no sense at all.

    I’m still a little fuzzy as to what Shiva’s goal were but the ending was satisfactory.

    My daughter is a total badass!!

    There’s a short interlude with Luke and Azazel that surprised me. I was actually charmed by it and want to see more of them working together. I love the idea of an atheist/agnostic scientist that trusts in logic and reason working with a religious person. They have an interesting chemistry and I hope to see more of it in the future.

    The end with Tim kind of served no purpose other than to hint, once again, at the war coming.

    So, in some ways, this was probably the strongest, well put together arc of the series. I say that not just because I love Cass and it focused on her but because it had a beginning, middle and end and by focusing more on one character, it felt more cohesive. Still bummed that this version do Cass speaks in sentence fragments and isn’t Bruce’s adoptive daughter and the Batfam’s adoptive sister. However, as I said, if I remove that context, it’s a very powerful story.

  • Batastrophe

    I realized today how very behind I am in all things Rebirth when I sat down to read the latest Super Sons event and found myself missing quite a bit of context. So it seemed like it was time to start playing catch up, so here I am, beginning with Detective Comics Volume 3.

    I wasn't a big fan of the last volume, and I wasn't really a big fan of this one either. Something really fractured with the loss of Tim at the end of the first volume, and I don't think the book has ever really recovered from

    I realized today how very behind I am in all things Rebirth when I sat down to read the latest Super Sons event and found myself missing quite a bit of context. So it seemed like it was time to start playing catch up, so here I am, beginning with Detective Comics Volume 3.

    I wasn't a big fan of the last volume, and I wasn't really a big fan of this one either. Something really fractured with the loss of Tim at the end of the first volume, and I don't think the book has ever really recovered from that. The team doesn't really act like a team, and it's easy to forget about certain members. It's a shame, because I did really enjoy the first volume.

    Cass is the star of the show in this volume, which was one of the pros. The first issue with her dancing was a clear stand out, and was probably the best full issue in the book. The plots with the two evil leagues, though...not so much.

    I do like Cass a lot and I liked some of the points made about her here, but the story where she learns the truth about Shiva wasn't very interesting to me because I already knew Shiva was her mother. It's not a secret, and they really needed to make the reveal interesting in some other way. The whole plot with Shiva wanting to destroy Gotham felt very trite. Like, oh look, a villain wants to destroy Gotham for unclear reasons...again...I just couldn't get interested.

    Azrael, Batwing, and Clayface were hardly in this volume. And whenever Batman was around, it was usually just him being surprised and unprepared, which was very tiresome. He's supposed to be the world's greatest detective, in a book called Detective Comics, so why is he constantly being being outsmarted? It'd be really nice if he had he upper hand or a surprise advantage for once.

    I do still enjoy Batwoman a lot in this title. She didn't do much in this volume, but I really like how Batman treats her as an equal, and he doesn't do that often with others.

    I sort of hate to say it, but I'm mostly reading this to get to the good stuff, when this will all tie in with the larger plot of Rebirth. And as such, the final four pages actually felt more interesting than the whole rest of the book combined, which is just a little flashback to Tim (who I just have to say, actually showed more detective skill in those four pages than Batman did in this entire book) seeming to hint at the larger plot.

    Overall, I would be dropping Detective if it weren't that I want to see this whole fake-dead Tim plot through. And what's most unfortunate is that it seems as though the writers are aware of this, and have gotten a bit lazy because they know people will hang around for that. I did like Cass in this volume, but that's not enough to make up for all its other flaws.

  • Rory Wilding

    At the beginning of DC Rebirth, both Tom King and James Tynion IV were putting new spins the Bat-mythos with their respected runs of

    and

    . Based on their first volumes, Tynion’s Detective was more ambitious in making it more about the sense of family with Bruce Wayne pairing up with his cousin Kate Kane/Batwoman to recruit a team of vigilantes that would protect Gotham. However, it’s been over a year since DC did their big relaunch and although the Dark Knight Detective wi

    At the beginning of DC Rebirth, both Tom King and James Tynion IV were putting new spins the Bat-mythos with their respected runs of

    and

    . Based on their first volumes, Tynion’s Detective was more ambitious in making it more about the sense of family with Bruce Wayne pairing up with his cousin Kate Kane/Batwoman to recruit a team of vigilantes that would protect Gotham. However, it’s been over a year since DC did their big relaunch and although the Dark Knight Detective will always come out on top, every subsequent installment from this run fails to stay strong.

  • Wing Kee

    3.5.

    World: The art is dark and brooding and it does work well for a Batman book, that being said I did find it a bit too muddy during action sequences to really see what was going on. The world building is solid, it comes from all the Batman books and the past which is good cause I guess that stuff all happened even in the New52. The focus in characters is also great. The pieces at play and the larger picture really makes a good stage for future books.

    Story: Paced alright but I did find the di

    3.5.

    World: The art is dark and brooding and it does work well for a Batman book, that being said I did find it a bit too muddy during action sequences to really see what was going on. The world building is solid, it comes from all the Batman books and the past which is good cause I guess that stuff all happened even in the New52. The focus in characters is also great. The pieces at play and the larger picture really makes a good stage for future books.

    Story: Paced alright but I did find the dialogue a bit much and sometimes fairly redundant. I also found the emotions to be a bit fragmented and unearned especially the ballerina stuff. I love that this is a Cassandra story, she's important to Batman lore and her run in the 2000s was great and it was such a shame of what happened to her during the New52. This is the new origin and her being still tied to Shiva is perfect. Tying use League of Shadows even better. The cast was a but too big though as I've found with this book so I think more time with Cass and Shiva would have been better. The end was good leaving the stage set for more. Solid, this teams best arc yet.

    Characters: I love Cass and her story and her struggles and I wish we had more time with her. I kinda wish the Detective Comics book was able to pull away from the team and have more small intimate street level stories and character stories for each of them. Make this series an anthology for the Bat family. Okay sidetracked but yeah Cass is good. I just want more. The rest of the cast had little development this arc and pretty much acted as they do. The Colony stuff so still iffy to me and making Kate have that relationship with Dad is not something I'm enjoying.

    It was the best arc so far, Hey DC I wonder if you'll do what I suggested with this book.

    Onward to the next book!

    *read individual issues*

  • Chad

    The League of Shadows comes to town with Lady Shiva in charge and is looking to destroy Gotham. The League's plot to sow discord with Gotham was very interesting. However it soon devolved into the plot of Dark Knight Rises. The focus on Orphan was great. Making her fascinated with ballet makes complete sense. A genius idea. I'd love to see her become Batgirl again. Hipster Batgirl Barbara Gordon grates on my nerves.

    The art on this book was OK to subpar at best and didn't mesh together well at al

    The League of Shadows comes to town with Lady Shiva in charge and is looking to destroy Gotham. The League's plot to sow discord with Gotham was very interesting. However it soon devolved into the plot of Dark Knight Rises. The focus on Orphan was great. Making her fascinated with ballet makes complete sense. A genius idea. I'd love to see her become Batgirl again. Hipster Batgirl Barbara Gordon grates on my nerves.

    The art on this book was OK to subpar at best and didn't mesh together well at all. Even the coloring had glaring changes with each different art team. Marcio Takara's art was particularly awful. This was one of my fears with DC going to a biweekly schedule on its bigger titles. Artists wouldn't be able to keep up and the art would suffer.

    Received a review copy from DC and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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