Batman: Rebirth: Volume 3: I Am Bane Review By Deffinition
I seem to be in the minority that really enjoyed Batman: Rebirth: Volume 2: I Am Suicide. After scoring it a 9/10 I was lambasted across forums and reddit alike by many who thought the book disappointed on several levels. Whilst I can admit there were problems with it, I also think that Tom King found his footing with the work and delivered a solid storyline that played heavily on Batman’s past whilst introducing several new aspects and interesting takes.
It finished on a huge cliffhanger and heavily set up this book, I Am Bane. I cannot wait to see what Tom King delivers and I am very hyped to jump into the final book.
However, I have to be considerate of those who may think the writer is overrated and I will be trying to score this as fairly as possible, all bias aside. There will be heavy spoilers in this review so those who want to go in with fresh eyes should skip to the final score and read this review at a later date. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
With that out the way let’s dive into Batman: I Am Bane!
Days Of Our Lives
Taking place over five days, I Am Bane centres around the titular characters quest for revenge after the events of I Am Suicide.
Batman, ever the strategist is wary of his nemesis returning and uses the first issue in order to warn his allies away from the fight. Taking place in a Batburger, this meeting allows King to flare his comedic chops whilst delivering the plot in the usual dour Bat Tone. There is an exceptional level of dark humor to the work and I laughed out loud throughout this hilarious opener. I loved seeing the bat pun-laden fast food joint as a place for the Batfamily meetup and this Gotham locale definitely deserves to become a mainstay of the new Rebirth run.
‘It seems I heard you ask for help’
As Bane and his forces annihilate the Bat family members one by one it seems that the Caped Crusader may be in over his head. You really get the feeling that for once in his life Batman is truly afraid and the imposing threat level the villain poses is alarming for both the characters in the book and it’s readers. This is a credit to King as in my opinion Bane peaked during Knightfall and since then has been rather under-utilised. King successfully places the one man who beat the Bat back at the top and the intimating reputation that he possesses once more makes the villain completely enamoring.
As Bane and Batman begin their first battle during the book’s midpoint, artist David Finch really gets a moment to shine. His iconic artwork beautifully brings to life their showdown and as the narrative jumps back and forth in time to showcase the juxtaposition between their childhoods you really get the sense that this is a battle of poverty vs privilege.
It’s this thought-provoking aspect that elevates the book and I found myself tussling with who to really root for. Batman is, of course, the hero but Bane is and always has been the underdog and readers will be torn on which side to support. Of course, things do pretty much stick to the status quo but it’s an achievement to even challenge this and the book allows readers to really cheer on its villain as we head into the climax.
‘I am Torment, I Am Ruin, I Am Plague…’
With Batman’s back against the ropes he flees to the sanctuary of Arkham. Enlisting the help of his rogue’s gallery he attempts to slow the onslaught of Bane. It’s fascinating to watch the hulking antagonist battle his way through the asylum and I loved seeing him dismantle some of Gotham’s best one by one.
The final battle feels epic and has one of the best lines from a Batman book ever. All of the titles of the previous storylines feel like they’ve been building to this moment and the punchline feels impactful and well worth the journey. It’s an incredible end to the story that beautifully capitalises on all the narrative in King’s run thus far and instantly cements itself as one of the best Rebirth books to date.
The Brave and The Mold
The two epilogue chapters, whilst short in length definitely provide the book with more value.
One centres around Batman and Swamp Thing tracking down the murderer of the latter’s father and the other continues the Selina and Bruce romantic storyline that was started in Rooftops.
Both have their standout moments and are definitely worth your time. Whilst they fail to match up to the fully fleshed out over-arcing storyline that proceeds them they definitely compliment the book and make it a worthwhile addition to your bookshelf.
I Am Bane tops the trilogy off in an epic manner that secures it as the best King book thus far. Beautifully paced and illustrated, it feels like the quintessential Bane story that arguably ranks up there with Knightfall. Time will tell as to how this is perceived as a whole but right now in 2018 and I absolutely in love with the Batman series.
I can’t really fault the book except for that I wish it was longer, so for that reason, it gets an amazing…