Intense Fight Scene
I was reading all of the books leading up to this issue. Of course, after Bruce was broken and Bane had already shrugged of Valley a few times before, it never occurred to me that Bane would lose to Valley of all people. Nevertheless, the slow build-up towards the final fight had pretty unexpected elements. The exposure of the mysterious System that Valley relies on, the psychologically aggressive behavior that he exercised whenever hunting criminals, going so far as to alienate both Gordon and Robin altogether. Not to mention the gauntlets, the drawings, the plans, and of course finally, the armor.
This book featured 2 important aspects. 1 was how the Bat Family was dealing with the new Batman. It wouldn't have been long before Nightwing would have entered the fray, therefore his discussion with Robin about Bruce's apparent overlooking of Nightwing and choosing a complete outsider like Valley. Whatever reason's Bruce had, Nightwing couldn't help but feel like Bruce's tough love playing out like it always does. But obviously Nightwing couldn't fathom that Bruce would have this much trust over someone he met only a while ago over someone who's practically his son.
Part 2 was the final showdown, where Batman or AzBat, if you will, appears for the first time, in all his shining armor glory. The whole leadup and captions leading towards the final confrontation with Bane made it almost look like an epic. At least that was the eerie feeling and vibe one would get out of it. Still, I was pretty much skeptical that Valley would actually beat Bane. But with all the new changes, not to mention getting under Bane's skin one too many ways changed the ball game.
The match was indeed epic. Gordon, Bullock and Robin all had ringside seats as the two went at it. By all accounts, this is my all-time favorite comic book fights ever. The battle was intense indeed, and both new characters put on a show in the absence of the real Batman. That's been one of the biggest criticisms I hear about this issue that the 500th issue without Bruce is pointless. I say NO, because this is Batman, not the man but the symbol. And this has probably been the most intense moment for Batman during that age, when Batman takes back his rightful place as the protector of Gotham.