By Tom King, David Finch, Danny Miki & Jordie Bellaire
The long-awaited showdown between Bane and Batman has arrived and Tom King delivers with one of his best issues of Batman yet, not holding anything back. Whilst this issue isn’t the all-out action blockbuster that some may have expecting, it spends a lot of time examining the parallels between both Bane and Batman. King contrasts and compares their early years in some great flashback sequences that explore just how similar their origins actually were. It adds depth and atmosphere to this showdown that makes it much more than just another Batman/Bane fight, which is something that King is able to bring to life incredibly well.
The artwork by David Finch is really impressive here and is one of his best issues in years. He is able to make Bane look incredibly intimidating, giving the tone of the book a very cinematic feel and you could almost imagine this taking place on screen. There’s a series of powerful panels where Bane is beating Batman to a pulp in the rain that are really well constructed. They benefit from the superb additions inks of Danny Miki and the colors of Jordie Bellaire that help really flesh out the morose ambiance of the book, defining its tone particularly in the flashbacks.
The detail in the pages of this issue as well is ever-present and it’s clear that Finch is bringing his A-Game to the table. He’s able to make the most out of using Gotham City as a backdrop to how things play out here, as well as really fleshing out Bane’s character design in the process. There isn’t a panel here that feels wasted and the artwork is overall one of the main draws of this book. The much-anticipated showdown between Batman and Bane is executed incredibly well by King, whose script finally brings Bane into the spotlight after several issues of near-constant build-up. Sometimes when the villain is revealed after staying in the shadows for so long, it is far scarier if he is best left to the unknown. However, King really makes the most out of Bane’s appearance here and it’s genuinely frightening to see him unleashed in full fury on Batman.
On the whole, Batman #18 is an excellent chapter that is a worthy addition to the “I am Bane” arc that continues to be an incredible success. It’s bold, clever, and empahtically visceral as the creative team pulls out all the stops to give readers one of the best portrayals of Bane yet.