Batman #23.4: Bane
By Peter Tomasi & Graham Nolan
When Villains Month was first announced, fanboys everywhere raged on about how it was nothing more than a gimmick. As we got closer to September, some of the stories were looking pretty great. Now that we’re at the last week of Villains Month, it can be said that it was a success from a financial standpoint, but as far as quality goes, that is certainly up for debate. My opinion is that half of them were good or great, while the rest were either bad or horrible abominations. Bane is not great, but not bad, leaving it somewhere in the middle.
Bane is something of a prelude for Arkham War #1, so at least it has a point. We get a lot of somewhat unneeded Bane backstory, trying to show how much of a badass he is. Everybody knows that Bane is one tough dude – we don’t need to be beat over the head with it.
What’s worse is that Tomasi seems to not have a grasp of Bane’s character. Tomasi has proven to be a vital ally in the writing of great Batman stories, but maybe we should keep him away from Bane. His actions are flaky and inconsistent. He even gets around to smacking around a little girl who creepily adores him. He demands respect, yet he kills people without prejudice whether they are his followers or not. You may think that this makes him a complicated character, but it’s not portrayed that way; he feels like a psychotic moron who has no clue what he really wants.
Graham Nolan’s pencils are decent, but nothing spectacular. It has a certain nineties touch, which is only fitting, since Bane was born in the decade of glut and foil covers. The art is very over-the-top and violent as heck, but works well with whatever the heck Tomasi was trying to accomplish.
Villains Month had its moments, but I’m glad to see it leave. Bane is a shining example of some of the mediocrity that this gimmick brought us. As a huge DC fanboy, I would love to see DC focus on creating incredible content instead of crappy covers and shorting stores to create scarcity.