Shadow War’s Lines Have Blurred – And That Means More Casualties

The following contains spoilers for Deathstroke Inc. #8 and Robin #13, on sale now from DC Comics.

"Shadow War" was always going to be a violent undertaknig for all involved. Deathstroke's alleged murder of Ra's al Ghul would always bring Talia's League of Shadows into direct conflict with Slade's Secret Society of Supervillains. When it comes to comic book wars, villains versus villains is a far worse combination than heroes versus villains, as neither side has any qualms about killing. However, despite "Shadow War" being Talia versus Slade, the fight itself is not as black and white as one would expect.

Batman observed the latest developments of the conflict in Deathstroke Inc. #8 (by Joshua Williamson, Paolo Pantalena, Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Steve Wands) and Robin #13 (by Joshua Williamson, Roger Cruz, Norm Rapmund, Luis Guerrero and Troy Peteri), as he investigated Slade's alleged murder of Ra's al Ghul. This whole case has turned out to be an even more complicated one than he suspected though.

During his visit to Talia al Ghul, the two former paramours were interrupted by Talia's newest Shadow, Angel Breaker. She came in with Raptor as her hostage. Although he joined the League of Shadows after the Lazarus Tournament, his former allegiances to Deathstroke put his loyalty in doubt. However, as this was the League, he wasn't simply detained until the conflict was over - they decided to kill him.

Batman pleaded for Raptor to be spared, saying that once he brought Deathstroke to justice there would be no need for violence. Unfortunately, that's just not how these global criminal organizations operate. Although he helped Raptor escape in Deathstroke Inc. #8, he failed to save another villain caught between both factions in Robin #13.

When he caught up to Deathstroke, the Dark Knight learned that Slade was not responsible for Ra's al Ghul's death. Nevertheless, the League of Shadows would not listen to reason. Angel Breaker caught Dr. Moon, who is currently a part of Slade's Secret Society, and threatened to kill him unless the King of the Villains gave himself up. Interestingly, Dr. Moon's situation is the complete opposite of Raptor's. He's a former member of the League of Assassins who now works for Slade. His former allegiance to the al Ghuls didn't save him in the end. Angel Breaker killed him as mercilessly as she would kill any of Slade's associates.

Both Raptor and Dr. Moon didn't choose to be in this position. The Secret Society of Supervillains barely stood a chance when they were initially attacked. There have been multiple, often brutal casualties to both sides. However, it appeared clear who was on whose side. With this revelation, anyone who has had any association with both groups at some point in the past could find themselves in trouble.

It makes it all the more important that Batman solve this mystery now. A bloodbath between villains is bad enough, however, a bloodbath where any of Slade's old associates is far worse. As of now, the killings on both sides were perpetrated because they directly involved themselves in the conflict. But Talia and Angel Breaker just may decide to target those who have no stake in the feud or are even reformed. Clearly this would be a disastrous development and would be far too much death for the Dark Knight to stop on his own.

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