When the Arkham War ended, Bane was the clear victor, but his reign over Gotham proves to be a short lived one in Forever Evil Aftermath: Batman vs. Bane, a one-shot epilogue to the Arkham War mini-series and Forever Evil itself. Oh, and in case you’re confused, no… no, Forever Evil still hasn’t had its last issue yet.
In what appears to be days or perhaps mere hours after claiming Gotham as his own, Bane discovers that the power is back on and that’s not all. Radios are functional and they say that the military are on their way, all bridges to the island are being rebuilt, and even the cable television is working again so folks can catch up on their DVR (not a random example, it happens in the comic). You’d think this might be a good time for Gothamites to really celebrate, I mean they play a big part in this issue despite being absent during the actual war (their presence during the main saga would’ve added some heft to all that action) but they’re all just kind of like “Oh, okay.” It’s clear that Gothamites are used to the ebb and flow of their city’s destruction and reformation. Perhaps they view announcements about escaped Arkham inmates the same way we react to forecasts for rain.
Even though things are going back to whatever Gotham sees as normal, it really doesn’t look like they were doing so bad under Bane’s rule. In the opening pages we see a Bane who sticks up for the little guy, believes himself to be the hero who rose up in Gotham’s time of need, and it seems like he really wants what’s best for the city. It raises some interesting points about Gotham gaining a new protector and what this could mean when Batman returns, but that’s all dashed away pretty quickly and it’s clear that there’s absolutely nothing complicated or complex about this story whatsoever. As soon as Batman shows back up the comic turns into an all-out slug-fest between him and Bane. Half the comic is images of them beating each other. And despite there being so little said, there’s still a lettering mistake where Gordon states “because only two words make sense day to us– to me–day in and day out.”
If all you’re looking for are some cool pictures of Batman and Bane brawling then this is going to satisfy. There are a few notable splash pages here, but more often than not the idea behind the action is better than its execution. For instance, there’s a scene where the Batmobile crashes through a truck to take out a Talon (they are taken down REALLY easily, by the way. Everybody is. Batman’s rescue of Gotham plays out with all the drama and suspense of watching someone dust-off their furniture after returning home from a week-long vacation). Sounds awesome, but the perspective is so tight that we lose a lot of context and there’s a lack of detail and a certain cleanliness to the impact that makes it seem tame and ultimately forgettable. It’s a problem that happens during the Bane vs. Batman fight as well. We’re so close-up with the punches that there’s no sense of the space they’re fighting in. There was also a scene with a little boy who looked like a small child in one panel and a teenager in the next, but that’s easily overlooked because Bane looks so cool in the very same moment.While the cover may show Bat-Bane, he’s nowhere to be found in this issue. I imagine someone at DC noticed how everyone was making fun of “Bat-Bane” and decided to cancel all future plans for that character design and go with the more crowd-pleasing Dark Knight Rises look. It definitely is The Dark Knight Rises too. Everything from the neck down, anyway. Comic Bane still does not wear the sleep apnea mask from the film.
Writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Scot Eaton’s Forever Evil: Arkham War was really disappointing in my eyes. We see a glimmer of introspection in the opening pages of this issue, but it’s just not enough. The mini-series as a whole was all about seeing images of lots of villains fighting each other and that’s all there is to it.
- All you care about is seeing pictures of Bane and Batman hitting each other. It’s not a deep book by any means, but when all you want is to see some hero vs. villain action this should make you happy
KOOM! WHAAM! NAARGHH! FRAMMM! That about sums up Forever Evil Aftermath: Batman vs. Bane #1. This one-shot epilogue to Arkham War sees Batman defeat Bane and catch any other remaining bad guys effortlessly. There are no consequences to be found, even in the action. It’s just a foregone conclusion that Batman’s going to win and can’t be stopped. He takes some incredible hits, but shows no injuries or the slightest signs of fatigue. The story gives you nothing to think about. It’s all about the big fight scene, which isn’t terrible. The book was better than expected, but still nothing I would ever go out of my way to read again.