Batman #82 – Tom King, Writer; Mikel Janin, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: Bane has been lurking in the background of Tom King’s Batman run since the beginning, first tormenting Batman in Santa Prisca and then executing an elaborate plot to ruin Batman’s life and his relationships one by one. Now in Batman #82, Batman and Bane finally face off one-on-one, or so it seems – there’s a clever twist to the main showdown, which starts with Batman taking off his utility belt and Bane removing his Venom pump.
We’ve seen this story several times – the hero and villain agree to settle their differences one-on-one. But Batman’s smarter than that, and his reunion with Catwoman has given him the opportunity to pull a dirty trick on Bane – putting him in a no-win situation. I could see some people quibbling with Batman winning a battle through deception, but this is no ordinary battle and Batman’s been pushed past his limits. This is a dramatic fight scene that delivers some satisfaction and a callback to one of the most iconic Bat-fights of all time.
But the problem with this narrative is that for all the hype over City of Bane, it doesn’t feel like Bane is the ultimate arch-villain of this story. This showdown almost feels like a Mini-Boss, with Thomas Wayne lurking in the background. Bane’s motivation is simple revenge, while Thomas is the one with the elaborate plan to end Batman and regain “his son”.
Thomas singlehandedly taking out the Bat-family last issue stretched belief a little – especially given just how skilled Cassandra and Kate are. Now he’s ready to face his son personally, and the end of the issue makes it seem like Bane has been taken out in a bit of an anticlimax. Next issue we’re supposedly going to see Bruce find out about Alfred, which should deliver some emotional punch, but as good as this story’s action scenes have been, I’m still not sure I buy just how far gone Thomas is. The Flashpoint version was ultimately a decent if a completely broken man. This version is a monster and I’m still not sold on how it happened from “The Button”.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.