Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Batman #18 Review

I Am Impressed

Written by: Tom King
Art by: David Finch, Danny Miki, Jordie Bellaire and John Workman
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: March 1, 2017

It looks like Bane is in town...with a few days to kill.  Actually, from the look of last issue's cliffhanger, the time is now!  While he was using the old "can't see me" tactic at the beginning of the arc, Tom King and David Finch have him front and center now and it's the old Bane that everyone...well, mostly everyone loves.  That's the thing, King's Batman run has been chock full of Bane to the point that it makes Scott Snyder's obsession with writing the Joker look paltry in comparison.  At least he's got some clothes on now, am I right?!?  To be quite honest, I was never a huge Bane fan, but I am counting on King to give me the best damn Bane story I have ever read.  Is this becoming just that or should Bane just go back to sitting on his throne of skulls butt naked in Santa Prisca?  Let's find out...

The issue starts with the past and the present and while the past seems to be a "been there, done that" proposition, it does veer off on a different path and is awesome.  Before getting to that, however, we get Bane telling Batman why he has come to Gotham and just when I expected Batman to say "Tell me something I don't know" in his most gravely voice, he just says "no" and Bane goes berserk!

Yep, Bane wants Psycho Pirate and Batman has other plans, but at the moment, those other plans include getting the living shit kicked out of him.  While this is going on, we do get the look at the past that I mentioned above and yes, it does involve young Bruce and Crime Alley, it also is about a young Bane and Santa Prisca.

If you ever doubted that Batman and Bane were just different sides of the same coin, you will have to reevaluate that opinion after this issue.  The crazy thing is, it's a story of the light and the dark with Batman being the light!  Batman is the light!!!  Well, at least young Bruce is.

The big bang of this issue is certainly the over the top violence that Bane is dishing out, but compared to the progression of the two young boys who lost their mothers, it's all pomp and circumstance.  I can't say I feel bad for Bane as he fights for his life every step of the way, but I did understand him better.  The funny thing is, I actually felt a little anger at Bruce for the easy life he had compared to the young child locked in the Santa Prisca prison.  I don't know if that was King's intent, but when Bane called Batman a "Rich Boy playing dress up" and tossed him like a ragdoll, I kinda of smiled for a second.  Just a second, though.

The best thing about all these combined flashbacks is that we really get to see the motivations, strengths and desires of each character and even a bit of where their paths veered in different directions.  The best was seeing that Batman gets his strength from his family while Bane gets his from Venom.

Like I mentioned, Batman get the shit kicked out of him and while he is lying there bleeding, he gives some sass and actually smiles.  Am I the only one who thought he looked like Midnighter in the smiling panel?  Why is he smiling?  Because Batman prepares for everything and as the issue ends we see that he also has plans within plans within plans.  It's an ending that made me cheer because it's just plain awesome, but also ties up some loose ends and misgivings with things I've had a problem with in this story so far.  Oh yea, there's also Bane going off to Arkham to get what he thinks is rightfully his.  Awesome!

Yea, this is the sort of issue that I've been expecting from Tom King every time out.  It is my favorite Batman issue since #5 and while it didn't quite top the emotions of that one, it came real close.  Seriously, the only thing keeping it from a perfect score was some non explanation about a gunshot wound and the setup nature of the issue.  Still, this is an awesome issue everyone who is a fan of Batman or Bane should read right now!

David Finch and the rest of the art team do an outstanding job with everything here, but fans of classic Bane should have a smile on their face the entire time.  The early flashbacks will also be a treat for those who loved the New 52 Batman as well.  It all looks fantastic.

Bits and Pieces:

Tom King gives fans a deep look at what made both Batman and Bane while showing the later beating the tar out of the former.  It's a really great issue with really great art and it's the type of issue I've been waiting for King to give us since the beginning arc of Rebirth.  Highly recommended.



  1. Great issue. I can agree with a 9.8; really really good, but not quite perfect. I think the best part is that the colors were dark enough that we weren't distracted by Batman wearing his Barney the Dinosaur Underoos cape.

  2. Finch's art was amazing in this book. He's right back to form.

  3. By far the best issue of the week in my opinion. Fantastic Art! Fantastic story! Great read! I left this issue caring more about Bane than Bruce...a must read

  4. Haven't we done this before... I guess if you are really into A New Hope then the Force Awakens is your jam.