More Than Just A Prelude
This is already the final round of Villains Month. How does the Batman series bring this spectacular period to a close? The villain in this week’s spotlight, Bane, might be the last, but he is certainly not the least.
First of all, this issue features Graham Nolan as the artist. Graham Nolan. As one of Bane’s creators, Nolan knows how to make the character feel genuine better than anyone else. This is truly Bane looking at his best, combining a perfect mixture of realistic details and over-the-top brutality. Yes, there is a lot of beating and pounding in this issue, but it never feels forced or uncalled for. The brilliant mind of Peter J. Tomasi has made sure of that. The comic is well-written and adds to the Bane mythos, declaring him a hero of Santa Prisca and posing him as a fearsome army commander. Furthermore, it contains many references to Bane's past and other Batman storylines, sometimes subtle, sometimes not so much.
The issue is very clearly a prelude to Arkham War and as such it does a great job in getting you pumped up for the inevitable clash of Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Prison. Whereas Detective Comics #23.3 tried to depict Scarecrow recruiting his army, this issue shows you exactly how Bane prepared for the clash. From the Venom-infused army he has shipped from Santa Prisca to the Blackgate Prison breakout, it is all revealed within these pages.
The worst thing about this comic is the fact that it gets the reader completely riled up for Arkham War, making the wait for October 9 that much longer.
If you go into this comic with no prior knowledge and expect a stand-alone story, like many issues in the Villains Month run, you might end up disappointed. But if you realize that this issue is a prelude to Arkham War then it will deliver everything you hoped for, and more.
Batman #23.4 is a great prelude to Arkham War, telling you Bane's side of the setup. But the clever writing of Tomasi and the genuine art of Nolan make sure that it is so much more than just that. While the reader should not expect a self-contained story, even Bane-fans who aren’t up to speed on Arkham War will find this issue inspiring. It really adds to the character, showing a bloodthirsty brute on the one hand, and an intelligent leader on the other.
Highly recommended for everyone who is a fan of Bane and for everyone who is looking forward to Arkham War. October 9 is painfully far away.