So Batman is going to die in 'Death of the Justice League,' but apparently before he does he's got unfinished business to take care of in 'Shadow War,' the March-launching Batman-Robin-Deathstroke crossover that begins with Slade Wilson's assassination of the usually immortal Ra's al Ghul, Batman's arch-foe and his son Damian Wayne's maternal grandfather (see below for more details).
'Shadow War' continues with parts two through four of the storyline, including Batman #122 on sale April 5, then Deathstroke Inc. #8, and Robin #13 - both on sale April 26.
They're all written by the increasingly-prolific Joshua Williamson.
In Batman #122 with art and main cover by Howard Porter, Talia is out to avenge Ra's' death and Batman races against time to find Deathstroke before Talia's League of Assassins staffers do. But as Batman begins piecing the clues together, he realizes that there might be more to the story than meets the eyes and the World's Greatest Detective has questions for Talia herself, putting a strain on the volatile relationship between Robin's biological parents.
And in the backup story by Williamson and artist Trevor Hairsine, the secret first-ever fight between Batman and Deathstroke is revealed.
Batman #122 also features a variant covers by Gabriele Dell'Otto, Roger Cruz and Victor Olazaba, and Jock.
In Deathstroke Inc. #8 by Williamson and artist Paolo Pantalena, it's said a majority of all new businesses fail in the first year, and Deathstroke Inc. has been destroyed already following the death of Ra's. And if that weren't enough his villain associates have been killed by the Demon's Shadow (who or whatever that is), and Respawn and Slade are on the run from of wave of assassination attempts. Can they survive long enough for Deathstroke to explain to Batman why he killed Ra's?
Deathstroke Inc.#8 features a main cover by Jonboy Meyers, and variant covers by Chris Burnham, Cruz and Olazaba.
Finally, Cruz and Norm Rapmund join Williamson for Robin #13, as Damian and Ravager try to convince Deathstroke to turn himself in, even if that means a fight to the death? But Robin learns a startling revelation that "rocks Shadow War to its very foundation."
Plus, Batman (before he dies in Justice League) digs deeper into the conspiracy of Ra's' death and discovers that it's bigger than he expected. And DC says the backup he calls in to help isn't who or what readers will expect.
Cruz provides the main cover, with variants by Crystal Kung, plus Cruz and Olazaba provide art for the variant image that completes the three linked images.
Look for DC's full April 2022 solicitations later his week on Newsarama.
Orginal story follows...
Deathstroke will assassinate Ra's al Ghul in what we now know is the surprise kickoff to the upcoming 'Shadow War' crossover. The upcoming event begins March 29 with Shadow War: Alpha #1, before crisscrossing the Batman, Robin, and Deathstroke Inc. titles for the following three months.
'Shadow War' was originally announced on December 9, but the inciting incident was kept vague - purposely vague, as it turns out - only to be revealed in the listing for the first issue in the just-released DC March 2022 schedule.
This revelation puts some other recently-announced elements into context, such as the February 2022 Deathstroke Inc. #6's description that Slade Wilson would become a "king" with an army of his own. If he's killing Ra's al Ghul, that certainly sounds like he could be taking over Ra's League of Assassins, doesn't it?
Also, Deathstroke has killed Ra's Al Ghul before. In the 2014 film Son of Batman, Slade Wilson acted as a mentor to Ra's Al Ghul's grandson Damian Wayne/Robin, but ended up killing Ra’s after being jealous that Damian, and not Deathstroke, was chosen to be his successor.
If you're saying to yourself, "waitaminute, don't Batman, Robin, and Deathtroke, Inc already have something in common?" you'd be right. It's the prolific Joshua Williamson who writes all three series and of course is writing Shadow War.
The publisher promises William's epic will have "major ramifications" for the DC Universe.
Written by Williamson, the 48-page Shadow War Alpha #1 (cover price $6.99) is drawn by Viktor Bogdanovic (Detective Comics).
When Slade Wilson commits his latest 'unthinkable act', Talia al Ghul and the League of Shadows are out to end Deathstroke and Deathstroke Inc. for good. Only Batman and Robin can track down Slade down and bring him to justice before Talia gets his hands on him.
The special features a main cover by Jonboy Meyers (see above), with variant covers by Bogdanovic and Dan Mora.
Check out all the covers here:
Shadow War Alpha is proceeded by a couple of preludes - March 22's Robin #12 by Williamson and artist Roger Cruz and Deathstroke Inc. #7 by Williamson and artist Stephen Segovia.
Robin #12 features a Damian Wayne finally returning to Gotham City after the end of the Lazarus Tournament a changed man, but according to DC have on more opponent to battle to the death - Damian Wayne!
Robin #12 has a cover by Bogdanovic with variant covers from Francis Manapul and Crystal Kung.
Check out all the covers here:
Then Deathstroke Inc. #7 guest stars Slade Wilson's daughter Rose Wilson, AKA Ravager (AKA a cast member of Robin) in a father-daughter face-off. Rose wants to know why her old man has proclaimed himself "King of the Super-Villains," and the mysterious Respawn (also from Robin) comes along for the ride to find out!
DC promises this is the issue where "past secrets are exposed," leading to a cliffhanger leading directly into Shadow War.
Howard Porter provides the main cover, with variants covers by Ivan Tao and Acky Bright.
Check out all the covers here
Interestingly, Shadow War doesn't hit the Batman title until April, so the only information you get there is the story continues in Aprils Batman #122, along with Deathstroke Inc. #8 and Robin #13, and then concludes in May with Batman #123, Shadow War Zone #1, Deathstroke Inc. #9, and Robin #14, and as you promised guessed, wraps up in the bookend Shadow War Omega #1.
Look for DC's full March 2022 solicitations late this month on Newsarama.
Does Deathstroke rate as of the best DC supervillains ever?