Writer: Tom King/ Artist: David Finch/ DC Comics

The best moments of Tom King’s run on Batman have been spent filling out parts of the Batman mythos that you didn’t even realize could be added to. The next character up for a surprising deep dive is Bane.

Batman has the best group of villains in comics and a prime reason for that is that most of them represent what Bruce Wayne could’ve become – and still could – had some small changes been made in his past. If he never discovered the vast grey area between right and wrong, he’d be Harvey Dent. If he took a deep dive into the chaos that seemed to surround him at every turn, he could’ve very well been the Joker. Batman #18 shows the slight differences that prevented him from becoming Bane, which are much more subtle than one might expect.

Bane has always been one of Batman’s most formidable foes. While he isn’t the strongest or the most intelligent, he’s the perfect balance of both that makes him difficult to deal with. This was put on full display in #18 as Bane gets an entire issue to thrash Batman in whatever way he could think of. [It’s almost as if he wants to break him on sight.]

The choice to depict Bruce Wayne and Bane’s pasts directly next to each other forces readers to view them in ways they never had before. Despite one boy growing up in an empty mansion and the other growing up in an empty prison cell, their lives mirrored each other up until their fated collision.

Appearances from all of the people who affected Bruce along the way are always welcome, including a touching panel of him speaking with all of his costumed mentees over the years. However, the thing that sticks you the longest is how Bane’s story is even more heartbreaking due to a few subtle differences.

9.5 Hours of Prison Crossfit out of 10

Reading Batman? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.

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