Bane falters in latest “Batman” comic
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 22:10
Closing off a series of monthly villain one-shots set in the middle of the main “Batman” run, which focused on the Joker, the Riddler and the Penguin in issues 23.1, 23.2 and 23.3 respectively, writer Peter Tomasi and artist Graham Nolan team up for issue 23.4.
Using the main “Batman” series to showcase some of the Caped Crusader’s greatest foes, (while negating some of the lesser ones to special issues of “Batman and Robin,” “Detective Comics” and other spin-offs), the issues focused on Joker and Riddler were nothing short of outstanding, with Penguin’s offering a decent tale.
Issue 23.4, the final installment of the series features yet another of the Dark Knight’s greatest adversaries, none other than Bane himself.
Unfortunately, whereas the other issues this month provided entertaining, self-contained stories, this one shot has next to no major plot development, simply serving as a bloated extended prologue of the upcoming “Forever Evil: Arkham War #1” storyline. Even so, the title has some fairly exciting and downright brutal action sequences that make it at least worth a passing glance.
Basically, writer Peter Tomasi has given us a tale wherein we witness Bane prepare his followers for an all out assault on Gotham City, a prize which had been denied of Bane time and again thanks to the efforts of the Batman. Plot development is rather light. Much of the title features Bane reminiscing on his past dealings in the city and subsequently rallying his men for the fight they are all about to undertake. The most important plot points in the issue only occupy a few pages, those points being where Bane’s men successfully take control over Blackgate Penitentiary.
While Bane himself is a brutal and cunning villain, a particular scene which sees the criminal sinisterly assault a young girl felt somewhat out of character for the villain.
Despite all this, some of the action scenes featuring Bane and his associates in brutal combat are quite entertaining if not somewhat unsettling.
The art in the issue is one of its more brilliant aspects. The foreboding color palette lends itself nicely to the story, with heavy uses of red backgrounds. The depiction of Bane himself is also a welcome addition in the title. Artist Graham Nolan’s approach really is reminiscent of the original depiction of the character in the early 1990s, and its more appealing in the end when compared to other recent artistic interpretations of the character.
In short, issue 23.4 doesn’t quite live up to the standard set by the other villain centric titles we’ve seen over the past few weeks, and its plot will most likely be largely avoidable in the upcoming “Arkham War” storyline. But if you really need you fix for a Batman spinoff to pass the time, I’ve seen far worse.