DC Comics reviews 4/5/17

Batman #20

Batman #20 cover

Batman’s brutal encounter with one of his greatest foes comes to a close in the thrilling final chapter of I Am Bane.

Once again, writer Tom King opts for a less traditional narrative structure as this issue plays out like a clip show framed around the Batman/Bane conflict. King examines Batman’s actions and mindset from the opening chapter of I Am Gotham to this fateful encounter. It’s interesting getting this inside look at Batman’s thought process, especially given the unexpected narrator and what that says about his psyche.

I’d still like to see King show a more cerebral side to Batman. Playing Bane’s punching bag doesn’t seem like a particularly smart strategy. To an extent, King’s Batman relies more on luck and determination than methodical planning and outwitting his more powerful opponent. It somewhat diminishes Bane’s threat if he constantly batters Batman while hopped up on Venom and is unable to take him down. Admittedly the fight has a great payoff, but there was a nagging sense King could have achieved it differently. With a lot less physical damage.

Batman #20 interior artDavid Finch has to judiciously advance the Bane/Batman battle with every panel without taking the brutality of the fight to absurd levels. He’s largely successful, since the plot has Batman operating at near Superman resiliency levels. But Finch’s up close and personal framing of the fight makes readers ‘feel’ every punch, kick and head butt. Jordie Bellaire’s colors really do an outstanding job of capturing Batman’s mood and setting the Batman/Bane battle against a green backdrop made for a bold and appropriate choice.

I Am Bane restores the tarnished luster to the man that broke the Bat. Bane is cast once again as arguably the most formidable physical threat of all of Batman’s Rogues. Hopefully with the start of The Button crossover next issue, King puts more of a spotlight on Batman’s brains than his brawn.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

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