Everyone has at least one character they're really looking forward to seeing more of in Villains Month. Bane is without question my pick. Luckily, Peter J. Tomasi shows he has a solid understanding of the character. A remark or two felt somewhat uninspired or cliche, but he conveys Bane's true colors in this issue fairly well. Brutal, merciless, a bold leader -- each attribute is given attention as we're taken through the steps of Bane's plans right before ARKHAM WAR begins.
Despite not being the biggest fan of the villain's redesign, I can't help but smile at some of artist Graham Nolan's work in this issue. As one of the co-creators of the character and the artist in 'Knightfall,' he once again provides a solid understanding of the character with his take on the foe's posture and presence.
I may not dig the new attire, but Graham does it justice more than a few times and his signature style adds a special flair to the book. The final page delivers a strong dose of nostalgia if you've read 'Knightfall' and has me truly excited for what's to come. This upcoming story has a lot of potential, so here's hoping it delivers and then some.
Bane punching a little girl in the face felt like it was a blatant attempt to put him a bit too over the top as a merciless dude. His threat alone and the ending would have more than sufficed in showing his true character.
Unfortunately, the retelling of his origin story feels completely forced and if you know the character remotely well, then there's nothing new to discover here. This holds true for the upcoming ARKHAM WAR as well. This just boils down to "here's Bane, here's his army and here's what he wants." It's all stuff we already know (brief reasoning for going after Scarecrow aside) and nothing ever happens to make it feel truly mandatory for the upcoming story. Everything here will likely be quickly addressed or pointed out in the first issue of ARKHAM CITY.
Also, there's a bit of a continuity hiccup. Bane's on the boat when Ultraman moves the moon, however, in FOREVER EVIL #1, Bane is at the meeting in Rhode Island right before that incident occurs. Also -- and please feel free to correct me if I'm totally wrong here -- but shouldn't Ultraman's actions give them an especially rough time at sea?
Bane's issue has all of the ingredients that should make me love it. Bane's my favorite villain, Graham Nolan provides the visuals and I really dig a lot of Peter J. Tomasi's work (I can't praise his opening BATMAN AND ROBIN story enough). Unfortunately, when all was said and done, I ended up feeling like the issue was just covering the basics and never really doing anything more than that. It randomly throws in Bane's origin story for those who don't know him well and everything else leading up to ARKHAM WAR plays out basically how you'd expect it to. It's not a bad comic -- it just doesn't really do much to make it standout, either.