Article written by: Jay Christoph
As I picked up issue 10 of Batman on its release date, I anxiously awaited the confrontation of our Caped Crusader and the back-breaking criminal named Bane. What I got was almost hard to read. As a huge fan of the eleven issues prior to this one, a mis-step in the series was hard to believe. Tom King did a phenomenal job in “I AM GOTHAM,” but he will need to bring his game back up in issue 11.
As the issue progressed, we were constantly seeing Batman saying the words “Bane, I’ve come for Psycho-Pirate. I need him to save someone who needs to be saved. Turn him over, I go away. Refuse to turn him over.. And I will break your damn back…” What seemed quite poetic the first couple of times became stale and overused. Though, the symbolism within the phrase is not lost on long-term viewers of the Batman: Rebirth title.
The one in need of saving is indeed Claire (a.k.a. Gotham Girl,) who was deeply traumatized and continues to have night terrors. The only one who could relieve her from this hell, is the person who caused it. First, Batman has to get through Bane.. Bane has been off of his strength-enhancing drug venom and needs Psycho-Pirate to make him emotionally stable.
The words Batman spoke were effective and assertive the very first time, but the repetition of the statement began to irritate me. Although it was supposed to show Batman’s bravery against Bane, it ended up making me cringe.
Bane tried to break the Batman once more before throwing him into a room where Bane spent seventeen years of agony and torture.
It should be noted that the artwork by Mike Janin at this point, is very much so, in need of praise. Batman does eventually get back to his feet, proving Bane could not break him. With that fact being brought into play.. Doe this mean that Bane’s true power source was always venom, and that he could never break the Bat again?
Bane’s amazing portrayal in Batman #9 is without a doubt the best part of the current I AM SUICIDE arc. King ended up disappointing me in that he did not delve into the characterization of such an iconic character once more in this issue.
King, however, did not disappoint with Catwoman’s letter to Batman, which appeared in captions all throughout the issue as Batman was on his mission. It is an unnerving look into her character and says a lot about her in the process. She talks about her catastrophic experiences growing up inside a foster home and then escaping to an orphanage funded by the Wayne family. The greatest telling of the story was how she spoke of the bombing on the orphanage.. Although she survived, hundreds of people were killed, including a janitor that always gave her a thumbs up when walking into class.
She explains how her and Batman are alike and yet so different at the same time. They both had tragedy within their childhood, and roam the city dressed as animals, as she said. Whereas the Bat wants to save people, the Cat wants to kill. She speaks of how their similarities once gave them a relationship, but it could not withstand their differing views on life. It is a very intriguing and provocative look at how people can experience similar things, but yet their endgame can be so vastly different from each other.
I AM SUICIDE part 1 was a promising issue, but the end result of the second part left me dissatisfied. The whole issue focused around Batman’s overused words of courage and how he escaped the room. Despite the fact that I did not enjoy the main plot, the sub-plot of Catwoman’s back story, I thoroughly enjoyed. King is a very talented writer and I am hoping the next issue continues where #9 left off. The fact that the issue is titled “Breaking Bane”, sounds like a lot of action will be in the issue. Look for it on sale, this Wednesday!
Issue 11 is critical because King needs to correct his path on the story. It seemed so played out in this issue of Batman.. It is a pivotal point for the comic. This next issue, no pun intended.. Will make or break the Batman…
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