Written by Tom King
Art by Mikel Janin
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by Clayton Cowles
There are shades of Knightfall in this new issue of Batman.
Batman has entered Arkham Asylum on a mission. One that will put him in direct conflict with the guards and administration of the institution.
The Penguin has information for the dark knight about the murdered women that put him on a collision course with Freeze and the info that he has is explosive. He tells Batman that Bane has taken over Arkham and is running the criminal underworld of the city through it. It’s a brilliant plan that is reminiscent of the Knightfall storyline from the early 90’s. There are definite parallels with the emotional toll his relationship with Selina caused him.
When Batman confronts the mastermind, he continues to behave in a manner that is consistent with his diagnosis by the doctors and when Batman attacks Bane, Gordon intervenes and Bruce turns on him violently.
King has taken the character Bane back to his roots as a master strategist and tactician. His keeping Batman on edge with satellite attacks and investigations are staples of the character and they work in this story. It will be interesting to see what King has in mind for an endgame with the character and what Bane wants from both Batman and Gotham. If there is one thing that seemed off it was Bruce’s quick reaction to Penguin’s news. If it’s part of a strategy then, as a reader, I’m in the dark and that’s good. If it isn’t, then it strains credibility a little both in how he enters Arkham and what he’s allowed to do when he gets there.
Mikel Janin’s art is great in this issue and there are some beautifully brutal moments between Bruce and Bane.