Comic Vine Review

34 Comments

Forever Evil: Arkham War #1 - Batman Death March Review

4

Bane has returned to Gotham and he has an entire army with him. Can the other Batman villains stop him from taking over the city?

The Good

ARKHAM WAR's premise had me absolutely stoked when it was first announced. I love me some Batman villains (who doesn't?), and out of all of them, Bane is without question my favorite. So, the concept of Bane essentially going to war with the other big bads in what remains of Gotham is beyond exciting. Sadly, Scarecrow and Bane's Villains Month issues left me disappointed (which were meant as teases for the event), delivering what were ultimately okay but forgettable reads. Naturally, this left me with a bit of hesitation going into the premiere issue of this story but thankfully, Peter J. Tomasi has kicked things off with a bang. As a big Bane fan, I'm honestly super pleased.

While Bane's initial takeover goes mostly as expected, it hardly feels as generic as it should because what unfolds is superbly badass. If you've been craving more of Bane in action, there's some seriously crowd-pleasing stuff to be found within this issue. Yes, a vast majority of this chapter is fairly predictable, however, Tomasi throws a major variable into the picture which is sure to be very interesting upon being fleshed out. It's just another piece on the board which is sure to make things notably thrilling as the conflict escalates.

Scot Eaton (pencils) and Andrew Dalhouse (colors) create a fine looking issue which is packed with more than a handful of praiseworthy images. Their work on Bane is most definitely worth admiring. As Tomasi shows off the villain's strategic mind, this duo makes it more than clear he's a physically formidable threat as well and is sporting a truly fearsome stature. It's also impressive just how many panels reveal scenes of chaos among various characters and there's never a standout lack of detail upon glancing through it. Even though there's three inkers, there isn't an especially noticeable or jarring change of quality during the experience.

The Bad

Bane's forces assaulting districts which belong to interesting characters are glossed over in one panel each, failing to really give me the true impact of the madness which is unfolding. Despite such an explosive cover and plot premise, the scale so far isn't feeling quite as grand as it could. Hopefully Tomasi will be able to juggle this huge roster of individuals well and give each at least a decent amount of the spotlight as the storyline progresses. An unexpected character receives a fair amount of attention this time around (which will hopefully serve a greater purpose) and it'll be interesting to see how much space is allotted to the others.

Minor gripe: Scarecrow's appearance is somewhat inconsistent and, truth be told, his role feels rather minuscule in this issue. Unlike his solo issue, he hardly comes off as a character who has what it takes to lead -- or at the very least, manipulate -- a true challenge against Bane's forces. To be fair, though, this issue seemed to primarily focus on Bane and is apparently only in the very early stages of Crane's plan. At any rate, it's clear this issue is all about letting the reader know why Bane's such a large threat. Hopefully the next issue will give Scarecrow a similar treatment because right now it's tough to believe this will be a war instead of a total slaughter.

The Verdict

Bane's actions may not feel like a large-scale war yet (despite some great panels of battles), but the pressure is certainly building and this was a good way to kick things off. This issue almost comes off as a love letter to Bane, showcasing why he's indeed a threat who has what it takes to rule Gotham now that Batman isn't around. Toss in an intriguing factor and some solid artwork and you bet ARKHAM WAR has me curious to see what is thrown our way next.

And yes, you don't really need to read the previous Villains Month issues (Bane/Scarecrow) to get a proper hold of what's going on. This is totally a serviceable jumping on spot for the story and rightfully so.

36 Comments
Posted by BR_Havoc

I am really getting sick of Talons. They need to stop relying on them so much.

Posted by thaalsinestro

I'm happy to hear this book turned out pretty good, I added this along with A.R.G.U.S. and Rogue's Rebellion to my pull list the same time I added Forever Evil but I wasn't sure if I should have... Alteast I know 1 of the 3 is going to be a decent read so far.

Posted by HollowPrince65

@br_havoc: This is mainly for Talon. I doubt you'll really be seeing much of them in Batman or anything.

Edited by Shallbecomeabattoo

Sounds great! I love me some Bane. Time to get Tom Hardy's voice in my head again.

Posted by timelord

It was fine for a set up issue. I hope it does pick up the pace a bit.

Posted by Wilbertus

This issue almost comes off as a love letter to Bane

Now that's an interesting way to describe it!

Truth be told, I picked it up but haven't gotten a chance to sit down and read it (Batman #24 had my priority!) Nonetheless, from what I glanced over, I felt the same way as the review characterizes. However, I can hardly express ho excited I am for the whole story to unfold and I always love the big "can you name them all?" kind of art, as on the cover for this issue. I hope Scarecrow will gain more prominence over the course of the war and I am confident he will. You might prefer Bane, but I am with team Crane!

Posted by cobra88king8

Kind of surprised that Pyg has such a prominent role in this issue. I understand they needed a rogue to fall under the bus for Bane's first assault but I think the impact would be more prominent if Bane took out a more iconic rogue

Posted by Darklexeus

Wait, didn't the whole taking over the city thing happen before in No Man's Land? I may just check this book out to see how it is if I happen to find a comic book store that sells it. But hopefully I won't wind up being disappointed.

Posted by Marionettegeist

Kind of surprised that Pyg has such a prominent role in this issue. I understand they needed a rogue to fall under the bus for Bane's first assault but I think the impact would be more prominent if Bane took out a more iconic rogue

Probably but, I don't think it was supposed to have that much impact. Bane just wanted someone to inform the others that he's taking over. Plus it was kind of nice seeing Pyg again.

Edited by saoakden

Man I want to read this. If it has Bane in it, I'm sold.

Online
Posted by jwalser3

Great issue! I felt that the distract battles were done okay, kinda like how a movie will show flashes of battle taking place.

Plus the art was great!

Posted by Protoflash

I thought this was an awesome issue! I felt as though professor pyg's shall we say "Experiments" were a little over the top but it was pretty good. But this had me asking the same question I ask myself on a daily basis as a comic reader: "Why does anyone live in gotham. Like, ever?" Just because there was this massive myriad of s*** going down and it seems a little unbelievable that anyone would want to live in gotham these days. Also I feel like they could've touched more on what happened to nightwing, but still a good book.

Posted by Dark_Guyver

@protoflash: Actually, Bruce Wayne gives a speech in Batman 24 about why people choose to remain in Gotham.

Posted by CrazyScarecrow
Edited by Eivion

Wait, didn't the whole taking over the city thing happen before in No Man's Land? I may just check this book out to see how it is if I happen to find a comic book store that sells it. But hopefully I won't wind up being disappointed.

Its a good first issue. It seems to take aspects of No Man's Land and Knightfall.

Posted by kaiklown

@br_havoc: But they are one of the few good things about new52 Bats

Posted by Veshark

I really love the premise and the idea...plus the solicit for #3 has Bane fighting Croc in HTH! I'll probably wait to get this in trade.

Edited by Saren

Penguin would have been far more logical an opponent for Bane than Scarecrow. When's the last time Crane actually led anything? I still don't understand why the Society went to him to be their Gotham representative.

Moderator
Edited by Veshark

@citizenbane said:

Penguin would have been far more logical an opponent for Bane than Scarecrow. When's the last time Crane actually led anything? I still don't understand why the Society went to him to be their Gotham representative.

I read in a Tomasi interview that the idea behind it was the crazy lunatics from Arkham on one side vs. the hardcore killers of Blackgate on the other. I guess Penguin doesn't fit the crazy bill as well as Crane?

Posted by mcbean

Has potential

Posted by BR_Havoc
Edited by Protoflash

@dark_guyver: I know. But still, that was BEFORE people went and tainted the water supply and blew up the banks and stuff. Like, if bane started fighting killer croc down the street from me, i'd get the HELL out

Posted by War Killer

I like the idea of the villains dividing Gotham up among each other, while Bane tries to take it all for himself. I'm excited for this and find the concept of the villains fighting for control of the city when Batman is taken out of the picture. All I know is that I'm rooting for Bane's army and seeing the Talons being brought into the mix, I'm looking forward to seeing where this storyline goes.

Posted by TDK_1997

I liked the first issue a lot but as you said k4tz Scarecrow didn't felt like the leader type.I don't think that Bane is going to have any problems at all with crushing Crane and his men.

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Edited by Dark_Guyver

@protoflash: oh yea! I'm with you, I'd be out of there too!

Posted by detective38

If your looking for a deep intellectual look into the inner workings of batmans greatest villians then this series will probably not be for you but if your looking said villians to beat the living guano out of each other for 6 issues then pick up this series

Posted by BigCimmerian

I thought this was an awesome issue! I felt as though professor pyg's shall we say "Experiments" were a little over the top but it was pretty good. But this had me asking the same question I ask myself on a daily basis as a comic reader: "Why does anyone live in gotham. Like, ever?" Just because there was this massive myriad of s*** going down and it seems a little unbelievable that anyone would want to live in gotham these days. Also I feel like they could've touched more on what happened to nightwing, but still a good book.

It's one of the biggest mysteries in my life lol. They have Court of Owls attacks, Talia's Leviathan, Bane's army, Atlantis drowned half of the city lol, Wrath killed half of GCPD, Joker did the same as Wrath, every month they suffer Arkham and Blackgate massive breakouts, not to mention other psychos, criminals, street thugs and gangsters. It looks like 1000's of people die every day in Gotham, and things I mentioned happened only in New 52 lol.

Posted by MonkeyToe

I agree with the issues you point out, Greg, but for me they keep me from enjoying this issue as much as I want to. The idea is awesome and I want to see more, but this issue doesn't make me feel like Bane is wise enough to win this war or to really be that major of a threat. But his opposition doesn't seem that much smarter! This should be building up to an epic battle. Instead it left me scratching my head. I only gave it 3 stars, mostly for concept.

Posted by BigCimmerian

I agree with the issues you point out, Greg, but for me they keep me from enjoying this issue as much as I want to. The idea is awesome and I want to see more, but this issue doesn't make me feel like Bane is wise enough to win this war or to really be that major of a threat. But his opposition doesn't seem that much smarter! This should be building up to an epic battle. Instead it left me scratching my head. I only gave it 3 stars, mostly for concept.

I think he's already the ruler of Gotham, they will now try to take away Gotham from him.

Posted by MonkeyToe

@monkeytoe said:

I agree with the issues you point out, Greg, but for me they keep me from enjoying this issue as much as I want to. The idea is awesome and I want to see more, but this issue doesn't make me feel like Bane is wise enough to win this war or to really be that major of a threat. But his opposition doesn't seem that much smarter! This should be building up to an epic battle. Instead it left me scratching my head. I only gave it 3 stars, mostly for concept.

I think he's already the ruler of Gotham, they will now try to take away Gotham from him.

That's not what I got from the book. Point 1.) Gordon says "Gotham's been split between a dozen homicidal Arkham escapees." Point 2.) Even Bane says, "What Arkham and its mad idiots thought it controlled is now mine."

So I don't see how you come to the conclusion that he is already the ruler.

Posted by BigCimmerian

@bigcimmerian said:

@monkeytoe said:

I agree with the issues you point out, Greg, but for me they keep me from enjoying this issue as much as I want to. The idea is awesome and I want to see more, but this issue doesn't make me feel like Bane is wise enough to win this war or to really be that major of a threat. But his opposition doesn't seem that much smarter! This should be building up to an epic battle. Instead it left me scratching my head. I only gave it 3 stars, mostly for concept.

I think he's already the ruler of Gotham, they will now try to take away Gotham from him.

That's not what I got from the book. Point 1.) Gordon says "Gotham's been split between a dozen homicidal Arkham escapees." Point 2.) Even Bane says, "What Arkham and its mad idiots thought it controlled is now mine."

So I don't see how you come to the conclusion that he is already the ruler.

I meant that he became ruler after the end of issue. Arkham psychos controlled it and now they lost it all to Bane.

Posted by MonkeyToe

@bigcimmerian:

That would be less a war and more a rebellion really and if it were true it would make me like the issue even less. The whole point of the series is to be a war for who controls Gotham in the wake of Forever Evil, plus there was all that stuff about the Penguin getting ready for Bane's attack. If that issue summed up Bane 'taking control' I will be severely disappointed.

Posted by andrewwann7
Posted by Jake Fury

Finally got this and I wasn't disappointed. Loved seeing Professor Pyg get such a starring role in the 1st issue.