Monday, October 19, 2015

Batman: Arkham Knight #35 Review

Fear Itself

Written by: Peter J. Tomasi
Art by: Viktor Bogdanovic, Richard Friend, John Rauch and Deron Bennett
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: October 16, 2015

You might have heard down at the five and dime that I kind of like this book.  It's true and while you drink your malt, I'll tell you why.  Guest stars...each more fantastic than the last.  It's almost as great as the Love Boat...almost.  In the last arc, Tomasi gave us Calendar Man and this version was no joke.  In fact, he probably would have killed Batman if the next great guest, Scarecrow, wouldn't have talked him out of it.  Now we get to sit back and see what Scarecrow's big plan is all about.  Of course, I don't know what it is, but my guess is it will be intense, scary and involve the word "fear" at some point.  This issue puts us in the middle of the "Scare Tactics" arc and after the hint of Bane joining in, I have been waiting all week to get to it.  Was it worth the wait?  Let's find out...

The issue opens with a very familiar scene to any fan of Batman and also to Bruce Wayne himself. The act that inevitably made the Bat is obviously still on Bruce's mind, but he's not the only one in Gotham relieving the horrors of his past.

Tomasi cuts to an even darker scene (yes, that is possible) that shows a little boy in a dark hell being twisted and turned by someone he should be able to trust.  It's another scene that leads to something great since evil can be great as well.  The little boy is Bane and this isn't a flashback in the proper sense, it's a Fear Toxin induced hallucination.   

If you were around for last issue's cliffhanger, what is happening to Bane shouldn't be a shock.  The Arkham Knight promised Bane to Scarecrow for his Fear experiment.  It's all part of Dr. Crane's plan to make Batman have everything to fear including fear itself.

Of course, this book does have "Arkham Knight" in the title so he has something to say about who will get the privilege of taking down Batman.  We get a little more of his plan which includes thugs with guns and underground tunnels.  It's not the flashiest of schemes, but when the Knight and Scarecrow put their heads together, they come out with something that seems pretty damn cool.  How could something involving all of Batman's villains joining together not be?

We then see Bruce Wayne conducting a short and not-so-sweet business meeting with Simon Stagg.  When he withdraws Wayne money from Stagg's business because of questionable morality, Stagg immediately wants to talk with Scarecrow.  Something tells me that meeting will not go well for Stagg.

Then, after a really cool shoutout to the Knightfall Protocol, Bruce suits up and heads out on patrol. After talking a bit with Oracle, he is surprised by a massive fellow speaking Spanish, who lifts him in the air by the leg.  I usually try not to spoil everything, but it is indeed Bane and it's awesome!

This issue is another setup issue, but when we get the main villains plans, some awesome flashbacks and an ending that has our hero dangling over the city below, I'm all in. 

Viktor Bogdanovic's art is as good as ever and I hope he takes as much pleasure drawing Bane as I do looking at his results.  That's not saying that every other character looks bad, because they all look great...just not as great as Bane.

Bits and Pieces:

I'm guessing this issue is the quiet before the storm as the Scarecrow, The Arkham Knight and Bane are gunning for Batman.  The best part is that it looks like even more villains are on their way.  This issue may be setup heavy, but if you are a fan of this book, you will not mind one bit.  Peter Tomasi keeps giving fans a great Batman story while Viktor Bogdanovic's art continues to impress.


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