Friday, June 5, 2015

Batman: Arkham Knight #16 Review

Written by: Peter Tomasi
Art by: Ig Guara, Julio Ferreira and Andrew Dalhouse
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: June 5, 2015

A(rkham) K(night) A(ction)

I have really enjoyed Batman: Arkham Knight from the first issue on.  While we haven't gotten much of the character the book is named for, we have seen a bunch of cool guest stars jump in and out of the story.  Barbara Gordon, Tim Drake and Harley Quinn are a few that come to mind right away, but there have been Bane.  If you are a fan of the big brute, this current arc should be a dream come true.  I am and it is.  We've watched Bane go from a mysterious prisoner to beating the crap out of the Bat and it's all just getting started.  I don't want to spoil too much in this introduction, but we get even more Bane this week, but we also get another cool villain entering the fray and get this...we get some major Arkham Knight action.  That's right, Arkham. Knight. Action.

The issue opens with Bane's awful origin.  He was the victim of the worst dead beat dad ever, but he was a trooper.  The little guy hung in there (by chains, mind you) and learned to adapt.  Did I say adapt?  I meant kick ass.  While this is going on, a the prison priest is filling his head with thoughts and nightmares that eventually lead him to seek out Gotham City and it's "flying monster".  These couple of pages were simply awesome.  The story and art combined to make you feel bad for Bane and show you exactly why he is doing what he is doing...which at this moment is trying to break the Bat.

In fact, Bane looks poised to do his famous (only?!?) finishing move when he notices the battlefield is getting more viney.  I know that's not a word, but I like it.  It's not a big shocker that Poison Ivy is in the house, but it was surprising to see her stand toe-to-toe with Bane.  She's not a bit afraid and if you ask me, came out on top.  After sending Batman off to dreamland she deals with Bane.  It's Brute strength versus weeds, but after a few panels, most readers will be distracted to the point of not worrying about who wins.  Why?  Because we get some of the best Arkham Knight action of all-time.

While Ivy and Bane do their dance, the Arkham Knight grabs the sleeping Batman and we not only get a full page view of him, we see how he works as well.  He is cold and calculating and knows his way around Gotham.  He's familiar with it's heroes and villains and likes wearing camo shorts.  He also likes puzzles, but I'm not talking Sunday paper style here.  No, I'm talking setup and clues that lead you to your death kind of puzzles.  With Batman waking up, he sets one of those in motion.  I could say that the issue ends with a bang, but I'd be lying.  It's more like a boom and while I don't think it will turn out to be as catastrophic as it looks here, it was still pretty damn cool.

Now this is the kind of issue I think most readers of this book have been waiting for.  Everything came together to give us the Arkham Knight and then he took it all, rewrote it and turned everything upside down.  I want more of this!

Ig Guara jumps in on art duty this week  and while I'm a huge Viktor Bogdanovic fan, I actually like Ig's Bane better. It's all about the mask.  However, everything else is a tie and that's the best compliment I can give to either artist because they are two of the best.  Kudos also go to Julio Ferreira on inks, but especially Andrew Dalhouse on colors.  His awesome work has helped this book remain consistently great while jumping between two artists.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue gives us some Bane backstory, another awesome guest villain and the best Arkham Knight action since this series began.  Yea, this is a great issue thanks to strong writing and awesome art. Seriously, how can you go wrong with strong writing and awesome art?  The answer is, you can't.  If you have been on the fence with this book, climb the hell down and start reading it!.  Who sits on fences nowadays anyway?

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