Review: Batman #23.4
Villains Month is almost over, and thank god October is almost here. I’m about villains-ed out by then of all of this. Bane, one of Batman’s mightier foes, ends up being a main example of too much of a good thing.
Batman was one of the few titles to get four issues this month. Most got one or two, and Batman probably should have stayed at that level. Joker didn’t fare well, but Riddler and Penguin did decently enough. Bane gets the worse story yet. The entire thing has little to do with plot of Forever Evil or even advance the character of Bane. He is supposed to be a god to these people, but he’s nothing more than a smart thug. It just doesn’t hit home. Peter Tomasi is a better writer than this. What this really feels like a set up for is Forever Evil: Arkham War. Never good to send someone to another title to finish off the story. This happened quite a bit during villains month. End of the issue comes around, and it’s directing you to a miniseries coming up during the Forever Evil event. Again, DC isn’t accomplishing anything, just teasing for the next event.
One thing that Tomasi gets right is showing why Bane is a formidable foe for Batman. His characterization is a bit off, but the reader does get a sense of why Batman had so much trouble with him during Knightfall (which is referenced heavily). Bane was at least somewhat likable in Secret Six though, and that has all but gone out the window. Even a little girl, who for some reason seems to love Bane, is hit in the face. Part of me wants to say this is a reference to The Dark Knight Rises, but I’m not sure. Why didn’t Tomasi give us a legitimate back story for Bane in the New 52 instead of just teasing an upcoming miniseries? Either way, Batman #23.4 was a wasted issue that could have been a deeper look into the mind of Bane as a character.
Graham Nolan’s artwork is commendable, but seems rushed. The first page is a great example of this. While Bane himself looks muscular and strong, the rest of the characters lose detail as they move around the panel. The panel flow is off as well, as a few times my eyes were drawn to the wrong panel instead of guiding me to the direction I should have been going. Quite a few of the artists slated for these Villains Month issues have been switched around, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Nolan didn’t have as much time as needed to make this issue look the best it could.
Batman #23.4 gets 2/5.