Writer: Tom King / Artist: David Finch / DC Comics
The use of Arkham Asylum as a storytelling tool in the current Batman run has been genius. It gives Tom King all he needs to fill 22-pages with 17 cameo appearances from heroes up and down the list of Batman’s most recognizable rivals – such as Two-Face and Mr. Freeze – to some of the ones you’ve surely forgotten – Mazie Zeus…?
Their brief appearances were welcome as they were mostly punching bags for a Venom-induced Bane. As Bane spent hours working his way deeper into Arkham with the wounds of his one-man war multiplying by the page, all I could hear in my head was “Bodies” by Drowning Pool. [Note: It really helps that the music video takes place in an asylum, by the way.]
If “I Am Bane” accomplishes anything, it’ll be cementing Bane’s spot in Batman’s top three villains in any list that’s worth a damn. Not only is he capable of destroying 90% of his rogue’s gallery on his own, but he has the single requirement of any good villain – justification.
Sure, the means in which Bane tried to achieve his non-violent solitude were in the wrong. But, as far as he’s concerned, Batman fired the first shot by breaking into Santa Prisca to take back Psycho Pirate. This gives him the ability to do whatever he has to and that’s terrifying when he can do so much.
Also, it was so shocking that it’s taken me a few months to let it soak in as reality and not a fever dream. Bane actually left the Robins, including Damian, hanging almost lifeless in the Batcave, waiting for Batman to come find them. That moment needs to go down in the books.
Reading Batman? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.