The real measure of a story isn’t the hero, but the villain. What does the hero have to overcome to claim victory? In Batman #17, Tom King has done something I really wasn’t sure could be done. He made Bane into a villain worth of taking on Batman.
And he’s wearing clothes again.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Sure Bane broke Batman’s back, waaaaay back in the 90’s and unleashed the very 90s Azreal-Batman. And while that makes Batman wary of Bane, Bane is a pretty much one note, strongman, break stuff kind of bad guy. In my mind, he never really rose to the top-tier of the rogue’s gallery.
In this issue, King (Grayson, The Sheriff of Babylon) changed that. He’s still not near the Joker’s class, but then again, who is?
While Batman himself is pretty static on the roof of Arkham, Bane is the shadowy menace that is hunting down all of Batman’s friends. Gone are the comical elements of last issue. This is all darkness and dread.
All through the issue, Bane is always menacing, but never seen, He remains hidden, until the end of the issue. Batman is left pretty isolated. The Robins are all boxed up in the Fortress of Solitude. One by one, his other allies are stalked and taken down.
The only move that we see Batman make is using the Psycho Pirate to try to re-re-hypnotize Gotham Girl back into fighting condition. I’m not sure that I believe that is his best move. I would really like to see her overcome her problems on her own, rather than have a crazy person fix her.
David Finch (Cyber Force, Wonder Woman) continues to kill it with his exceptional art and giving us that gorgeous two page spread of Batman on the roof of the asylum so close to Valentine’s day… If he keeps that up, I’m going to want to marry him. If he just gave us that and the one page reveal of Bane, I wouldn’t blame him if he just drew stick figures for the rest of the issue.
But of course he doesn’t.
The art remains fantastic throughout the book and really sells the menacing tone of this book.
For once I am wondering and dreading what Bane will do next.
Writer: Tom King
Penciller: David Finch
Inker: Danny Miki
Colors: Jordie Bellaire