This Issue ends with the Night echoing with Caw’s that act like a road map leading Batman to the monster standing in the dark. Bane gazes across at Batman, with a red illuminating light from the burning flair in his hand, displaying Batman’s captured allies. This is Bane bluntly saying, check mate. Now the fate of what happens next, falls once again on Batman, because now, the next move is his to make.

Tom King’s approach on Bane is brilliant. It’s easy to have him showcased as the door busting, back-breaking venom enraged mindless gladiator. Who will stand toe-to-toe with you that’s ready to rip your heart out. Not here though, this issue, along with the previous have played out like a horror film. You know the monsters there, and that he’s out to get you, but you rarely see him until the end, until he’s ready. All the while intricately weaving conflict all around you, he’s seemingly one step ahead at every turn. It’s a marvelous approach to Bane, and it’s intriguing to ponder how this story will eventually end.

Let’s also not forget how much of a boss Alfred is in this issue. Near the beginning of the story you see Alfred sneaking around Arkham in disguise, just to bring Gotham girl in front of Psycho Pirate, and ordering his cooperation while holding a gun to the side of his head. That’s an Alfred I can stand behind. It was a pleasant surprise throughout the issue to see the use of some old, but familiar faces too like – Trogg, Bird, and Zombie who haven’t been used in quite a while.

I was also equally impressed with David Finch’s art in this issue. Finch is one of those artist you either love him or hate him. It’s hard to find that middle ground when it comes to his style, but the way he visually constructed Bane in this issue, is everything I envision him being: A towering behemoth, God like man. The mere look at him screams evil. The last person you would ever want to run into down a dark alley. Plus, I don’t think you can ever complain about a Finch splash page, and this issue really played into Finch’s wheel house, which made it visually stunning.

Grade

A-

Conclusion

This is everything you hope for in a Batman story: A monstrous dark villain, methodically planning Batman’s demise, with everything hanging in the balance. Tom King and David Finch, through some trial and error, have really found their stride. Which adds to the lure of this issue, and the remaining issues of the “I am Bane” story arc.