“I am not a joke. I am not a riddle! I am not a bird or a cat or a penguin! I am not a scarecrow or a plant or a puppet! I am your broken friend! I am not your regretful teacher. I am not a child’s fairytale. I am not a circus act here to amuse and frightened you! I am not another one of your madmen howling at the moon! I am not some rich boy playing dress up! I AM BANE!” – Bane written by: Tom King
After reading this issue, I had to just sit back for a moment, and soak in what I just read. During that moment I tried to think of something catchy to write for this opening paragraph, and nothing quite felt right. All I can say is, this is by far the best issue of the Tom King and David Finch tenure. It was a very compelling and heartbreaking story, as you take a deep look into the lives of both, Bane and Batman. Their stories are so similar, and yet, so different. The core of their stories are essentially the same: a young boy orphaned by horrific circumstances, hell-bent on retribution, and trying desperately to regain what ripped from him. The only real difference between Batman and Bane is the environment. Obviously Bruce Wayne growing up a billionaire, had his entire life laid out before him. He also had a guiding light with a great moral compass in Alfred, to help steer his rage in the right direction. Establishing an ethical value in his life for what’s right and wrong. Helping him make the right life decision to bring justice to the criminal underworld. Whereas Bane’s landscape was completely different. He grew up in a prison, where the only thing he learned was, you either dominate and establish your power, or your dominated and considered weak. It was survival of the fittest. There wasn’t a guiding light, just rage. Not only for the loss of his mother, but a rage for the society above, that aimlessly stumble through life without worries. A rage for the ones who were able to have birthdays, holidays, and the simple pleasures in life that he never experienced. For his life was always filled with pain and loss.
It was really amazing to see Tom King bring so much commonality to these life long enemies. It made for such enjoyable read. You really get a sense that these 2 guys, even though stand on opposite ends of the law, share a respect for each other. I really enjoyed how Tom king particularly used the mothers in both their lives as the common ground in this issue, and the driving force for their determination and quest to be the best they could possibly be. Tom did a great job composing this story and explaining the hardships of their childhoods. It really conveyed what gave both, Bane and batman that drive to never give up. That they both needed to make their mothers proud. You could also feel the sense of responsibility they both felt for their tragic losses. Just when you think Tom King couldn’t get much better, he goes and writes something like this.
Let’s not forget the visually stunning work by David Finch in the issue as well. In my opinion, his art has really grown since his run on batman. Accompanied by the talented colors of Jordie Bellaire, Finch has created some of the best work of his career.
Conclusion: This was both, an entertaining issue, and emotionally gripping tale of two heartbroken kids. Set on making the world right from their own perspectives. It's an issue that excelled on all cylinders, and is a must read!