Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mikel Janin
Colorist: June Chung
Cover: Mikel Janin
Now THIS is how you begin a story arc the right way! First we have a villain who is being elevated above more just a muscle bound tank sized adversary for Batman. Bane hasn’t been fully utilized as a serious antagonist for some time but King is on the right path here. The flashbacks to his childhood are perfect in showing the setting that gives shape to a man like Bane. From here we see that Batman is taking steps to confront Bane and these extremes also hint at just how dangerous Batman considers him. King takes us through the recruitment of Batman’s own Suicide Squad type of team as he strolls through Arkham Asylum. It’s an odd assortment of criminals but Batman has a method to choosing this crew which most likely be revealed later.
The story itself wouldn’t have the weight it does if not for the dark and moody art of Janin along with Chung’s colors. The opening sequence sets a tone that carries through most of the issue. Only slightly changing for a moment as we see how Gotham Girl is recovering at Wayne Manor. There’s a brief bit of action and it’s a fight scene that not only moves well it reveals the connection between the two fighters. There’s also a standout sequence as Batman is reminding Jerimiah Arkham that he gets what he wants because he is Batman. Janin and Chung present an imposing and scary Batman with subtle body language and key facial expressions that clearly say “I’m not asking you. I’m TELLING you.”.
This wasn’t a title that I was enjoying when it began but this I Am Suicide arc has my attention. So if you’re a fan of Bane, great storytelling, with some intense and moody art then make sure you pick this one up.