March 17, 2017
Batman # 19
“I am Bane, Part Four”
Written by: Tom King
Pencils by: David Finch
Bane is angry and he’s in Gotham City. Looking to retrieve the Psycho Pirate, he has let nothing or no one stand in his way to get him back. He’s beaten and hung all three former Robins in the Batcave. He’s kidnapped Comissioner Gordon, Batwing, Bengal Tiger and Catwoman and held them for ransom. What's his price? The Psycho Pirate for them all. You see, the Psycho Pirate had allowed Bane to detox his Venom addiction. Sure, you can kick the Venom. Batman did... a long time ago, but Bane? His body has been wracked with unbearable pain since. What can you expect from being on the highest dose of the drug that a body could withstand? The only thing that took the pain away was the Psycho Pirate but Batman came, took the Pirate. Why? To fix Gotham Girl.
To Batman’s estimate, it will take five days of sessions for the fractured Gotham Girl to be made whole again. Five sessions with the Psycho Pirate and then Batman will destroy the Pirate’s mask. He knows Bane has come to Gotham and he’s prepared for him, waiting for him at Arkham Asylum’s belltower. When Bane reveals himself to Batman, he is clear of his intentions. Surrender the Pirate, or the Cat, the Boy, Gordon and the Tiger will die. Batman tells him no. What?! Didn’t he hear him?! Bane reacts the same way and hes not going to let it go. Batman taunts the enraged Bane who is clearly back on the juice...back on the Venom and he’s already pissed off. Pissed that his home was invaded. Pissed that his back was broken. All by this rich boy who plays dress up. Batman is beaten up by this Venom engorged hulking beast, yet can still tell Bane to shut up. Bane calls his men to kill the hostages but is greeted by Catwoman on the other end. It’s especially satisfying to hear her purr, “I just loved breaking your back in Santa P. Hope we can do it again sometime.” It was all just part of the plan. Batman’s defeat in order to distract Bane, so that a seemingly captured Catwoman could turn the tables on her captors.
Issue # 19 begins with Bane entering Arkham Asylum, not knowing what awaits him, but sure of what he wants. If you have read the past Batman storyline, Knightfall, which detailed Batman’s and Bane’s first encounter, you know that Batman had to run the gauntlet of battling his entire rogues gallery before meeting up with Bane…and, well, we all know how that turned out. This time, its Bane’s turn to run the gauntlet, only this time, the inmates are still in the asylum. Did I also mention that they’re armed? To think this is all part of Batman’s plan. There’s still one more day left until Gotham Girl is cured.
The Verdict: If you’ve been a faithful reader of Batman since the “I Am Gotham” storyline, then you know that this issue is a must read. There’s only one more issue to end this arc and thus, the big showdown between these two giants. The story by Tom King remains solid and art by David Finch is nicely detailed and appropriately dark for the mood. It’s a pleasure to see so many of Batman’s villains under one roof and one cover, though my only complaint is that we didn’t get to see more interaction between each with Bane. Also, Batman has been on the wrong end of the beatings when facing Bane thus far, so I’m sure everybody is ready to see Bane get what’s coming to him. It is interesting to have a front row seat in witnessing the struggle between these two uncompromising and willful men, whose lives have been shaped in similar manner from an early age.