Yesterday, I read two comic books.  One was Batman #26.  The other was this totally generic comic that lacked even a hint of intrigue and resorted to a paint-by-numbers approach that eliminated any sort of unconventional storytelling elements.  It’s not that this comic was bad (although it does have one very bad part), but the completely humdrum way in which it delivers the story is anything but fresh and exciting.

This story ends up being nothing but action.  Page after page of mind numbing action.  I’d be more forgiving if the action was somewhat engaging, but there’s nothing in here that stands out as anything more than your most basic comic fanfare action.  With issue #2, we at least had interesting character interactions and compelling dialogue.  But with this story, we are once again subjected to nothing more than watching the characters progress from point A to point B in the most tawdry of ways possible.

Let me break it down for you (major spoilers, obviously, as I’m about to tell you everything that happened in this comic).  Batman and Bane navigate the complex.  Batman goes in search of Dionysus, while Bane hunts down Damocles.  Both end up dispatching tons of dime-a-dozen henchmen in the course of fulfilling their primary goals.  Once Bane obliterates Damocles, he meets up with Batman who is about to depart with Dionysus in custody.  But Bane wants more blood.  Batman and Bane briefly fight, and amidst the confusion, Dionysus tries to escape.  Bane tackles Dionysus, sending both men plummeting down a gorge.  Batman flies off in a helicopter.  And Dionysus agrees to hand his criminal empire over to Bane if he promises not to kill him.

Like I said, 90% of this story is perfectly fine.  But that’s the thing.  It’s just fine.  Not amazing.  Not compelling.  Not interesting.  Just fine.  Except, of course, for that one really bad part I mentioned.  And that’s when Batman just takes off in a helicopter.  I mean, Batman’s whole point in being here to begin with was to take Dionysus into custody, and then he just leaves without making even the smallest attempt to see if Dionysus and Bane survived the fall?!?  That’s ridiculous!

It’s also supremely goofy that Batman allows Bane to kill a bunch of people.  After all, Batman typically feels responsible for any of the victims that occur as a result of his failure to stop his enemies.  Dionysus even brings this up, and Batman blows it off like it’s no big thing.  That’s pretty stupid too. These two elements alone are enough for me to say that Batman was massively misportrayed during the course of this story.

The best part of the story is probably Batman hunting down the generic henchmen.  We see the henchmen wandering down corridors as we get brief glimpses of Batman stalking them.  The actual attack takes place off panel, and we are ultimately shown nothing more than a pile of bodies, confused walkie chatter, and Batman’s shadow receding around a corner as he goes in search of more prey.  It’s a super classic Batman scenario that relies as much on our ability to fill in the blanks as it does on proper setup and pacing.  So yeah.  There’s at least that.  But that’s only one page out of twenty, and hardly worth the price of admission.

I said it before, but it bares repeating.  Nolan’s illustrations aren’t as clean as they used to be.  However, I know he still has it in him to be the artist he once was.  If you look at the panel above, it looks exactly like the work he was pumping out 25 years ago.  So, when he gives it his all, the quality is up to par.  Unfortunately, most of the panels in the book don’t live up to what I know he is capable of.

Interesting Facts:

  • When I first saw Dionysus, I immediately thought of Gearhead.  And really, I shouldn’t be all that surprised that these two characters bare so many similarities in common.  After all, Dixon created both and Nolan illustrated both.

Recommended if…

  • You want a quick distraction that you’ll probably forget about in less time than it took you to read it.

Overall:

Unfortunately, this was a meager entry in the Bane: Conquest maxi-series.  At its best, it’s little more than standard comic fanfare.  And once you throw in a very questionable character portrayal, it ends up being grossly substandard.  It’s a shame really, because part 2 was so much more promising than the premiere issue, but now we are right back to mindlessly generic action and severely plot heavy storytelling.

SCORE: 4.5 / 10