The warden threw a party in the county jail.  The prison band was there and they began to wail.  The band was jumpin’ and the joint began to swing.  You should’ve heard them knocked-out jailbirds sing. Let’s rock, everybody, let’s rock!
Sorry.  I know that’s probably a dated reference that many of you won’t get, but since this entire issue took place with our characters confined to a cell, I couldn’t help but have prison themed songs going through my head.  Chain Gang by Sam Cooke was also a contender to open this review.  But wow, I’m really digressing here.
In any case, Bane: Conquest #2 was much more enjoyable than the premiere issue.  It’s still very plot centric, but a much needed layer of enjoyment is brought about by the inclusion of Batman and the back and forth banter Bane and he share.  An added hook has also been included to ensnare those readers that can’t resist the draw of the unknown.  As it turns out, Damocles isn’t the head honcho.  He’s simply a higher level underling.  Which means, we could be in store for the return of a major Dixon baddie….or perhaps just another new creation.  Either way, it’s something to look forward to.  When they introduced Damocles at the end of last issue, I was like, “That’s the big bad for this series?”  So yeah, I’m more intrigued by either of those prospects than I am with Damocles.  Although, there’s something to be said about a guy that can kick your butt while wearing a tie and vest.
 
As I said, the most enjoyable part of this story is the banter shared between our two protagonists.  Most of their quips can be seen as halfhearted challenges to the other’s competentness, involving anything from digs at intelligence to questioning the other’s physical superiority.  But it’s not really the specifics of the insults they are bandying about that got my attention.  It’s the way they reacted to them.  While Bane has varying degrees of emotional responses to Bruce’s comments (laughter, anger, contempt), Bruce is always shown completely in control and Bane’s comments flow right off him with seemingly little to no effect.  It’s interesting, because even thought Bruce isn’t in the Batsuit throughout the story, I never saw him as anything other than Batman.  The persona he exuded was so powerful, that in my mind’s eye, he simply was in the suit.
This is a little throw away moment, but I really loved it.  And it just goes to show you that sometimes the devil really is in the details.  Sure, its inclusion didn’t change the story, but it helped to quickly illustrate just how intelligent these two individuals are.  It also served as an explanation as to why they would speak so openly without fear of being overheard by their captors.  The story goes on to further spotlight their intellectual nature by having them elaborate on Roman parables and their significance to Damocles and his potential boss.  It’s a nice little moment that’s equal parts fun and informative.
I think the only part in the story that gave me a moment of pause is when Bane tears a toilet out of the floor and uses it to hold an opening ajar so that he can escape.  My issue isn’t with Bane being able to do that, however.  It’s with the fact that this cell even has toilets.  Seems to me like this is more the kind of place that should have squat toilets, or even just the drainage hole where the toilet should be.  I mean, doesn’t that toilet seem a little too nice for a place like this?
This image totally screams 90’s comics.  Doesn’t it?
Art for this issue is handled by Graham Nolan, and now that I’ve had a chance to settle into the way he currently draws (as opposed to foolishly thinking it should look the exact same way it did 25 years ago), I’m quite enjoying it.  I can still see enough of who he was in what he is doing now that I can appreciate what he is currently dishing out.  I particularly liked the group of images in which Bruce is rendered partially in shadow and is obscured by his sleeping-nook.  The first glimpse of him in the comic basically covers the top half of his face, the same way the cowl would do if he were wearing it.  It’s just a nice touch.
Interesting Facts:
  • At the end of the issue after Bruce and Bane escape from their cell, they find their gear, but there’s another familiar outfit sitting right next to their costumes.  Long-time Batfans will probably recognize it as the uniform worn by the Silver Monkey.  I wasn’t too surprised to see it since it’s another character that was created by Chuck Dixon, but it left me wondering if it was just a little tip of the hat to the character, or if he would be showing up elsewhere in this story.  Considering that the Triad was also casually mentioned, and Silver Monkey had connections with them in past stories, that’s double the reason for me to expect his future involvement in this storyline.  But, like I said, it could also just be a cameo.

Recommended if…

  • You like seeing Bane and Batman working together against a common foe.  I think they work better as begrudging allies rather than straight up enemies.
  • You like when entertainment is also informative.
  • You want to see Bane take out his frustration on a toilet….

Overall:

While much better than issue #1, I’m still waiting to be wowed.  To be honest, there’s nothing I can specifically point to and say, “This is what I don’t like.”  Or, “This is what is wrong with this comic.”  It’s more just a feeling in my gut and simply not being completely on board yet.  I may get there and I may not.  But even if I don’t, I still quite enjoyed the interactions between Bane and Batman that were presented in this particular issue.

SCORE: 7.5 / 10