By Tom King, David Finch & Jordie Bellaire
“I Am Bane”. With these words, Tom King debuts an exciting new arc for Batman and his allies, and now having re-established Bane as more than credible and terrifying threat, he’s set to bring him to Gotham in what should no doubt be a very interesting arc. Although much of Batman #16 is focused on laying the groundwork for the issues to come and setting the stage, it’s an effective way to build up the tension and make the audience anticipate Bane’s arrival all the more. Bane’s arrival is made all the more important especially given not only the background for this clash that King has been writing in the earlier arc, I Am Suicide, but also given the history of the character and his rivalry with Batman should no doubt have every Batman fan looking forward to this showdown.
We spent brief time with the various members of the Batfamily over the course of this week’s issue. Batman is fully aware of the dangers that Bane will present to Gotham and doesn’t want anyone to die, advising his sidekicks to abandon the city. The serious nature of this scene was juxtaposed incredibly well with it being set in the colourful, bright environment of a Batman-themed burger chain restaurant, The Batburger. The restaurant was something that wouldn’t look out-of-place in an issue of Batman ’66 but here King manages to make everything work really well, balancing humour with a serious tone effectively. The exchanges between Damian and Dick in particular are a highlight from this issue, and any scenes with them together are always welcomed. It was interesting seeing how Duke Thomas continues to interact with the others as well, especially given that he’s still a relatively new member of the Batfamily in comparison to the others. And Jason’s presence as well works, even if it’s like the others, limited as obviously, Bruce is the main focus of this issue.
The artwork for the most part is impressive from David Finch. His character designs, especially for those out of their superhero costume, are effective and really work with some nice attention to detail, especially in the background of certain scenes. There’s also Jordie Bellaire’s colours which are consistently exceptional throughout the issue and really help add that extra depth to the book. There is a particular highlight in that final page that is likely to be an eye-catching one, especially as its cliffhanger will no doubt leave fans eagerly awaiting the following issue.
There are a lot of things to love about Batman #16. It may not be the most action packed issue of the series ever but it doesn’t need to be, opting for a quieter issue that’s more focused on building up the tension and it does a good job. No doubt greater things are in store, but for now, I Am Bane is off to a very solid start.