He was “The Man Who Broke The Bat”. He was King of Santa Prisca. He was Bane! And he was free.

Free from the nightmares of the bat-demon that plagued him since childhood. Free from the fears that drove him to escape from the prison that was the only home he’d ever known and seek out and destroy The Batman. Free from the doubts that he was strong enough to face any foe.

That changed when Batman stormed his fortress and stole a captive out from under Bane’s nose. More, he stole the hard-earned peace that Bane had worked so hard to build both within his home and within his soul.

Now, once again taking the super-steroid Venom which gives him super-strength and a berserker fury to match his mighty intellect, Bane has returned to Gotham City with one goal—to prove to The Dark Knight that Bane is still his better. First he will destroy all that Batman holds dear, starting with his young squires. Next he will destroy The Batman’s enemies, who in his weakness he could not kill. Then and only then will Bane grant The Batman the mercy of the grave.

I am Bane continues the epic tale which writer Tom King started with in I Am Gotham and continued through I Am Suicide. While a new reader could start with this volume, they would miss out on the deeper meaning of the story as the plot continues directly on from Batman’s raid on Bane’s headquarters in I Am Suicide and the significance of Bane once again turning to the drugs that made him capable of breaking Batman’s spine with his bare hands.

Unsurprisingly, King continues to write epic action sequences with ease. The best parts of the book, however, are the quieter, more character-driven moments. These include a sequence in which Batman’s sidekicks force him to meet them at a local Batman-themed fast-food joint. (“Do you want to Jokerize those fries?”) and a back-up story detailing the origins of Ace, The Bat Hound. These scenes, as well as a further back-up tale teaming Swamp Thing and Batman, showcase King’s versatility as an author.

That sense of variety also extends to the artwork for this volume. While David Finch—who also drew I Am Gotham—does the lion’s share of the artwork, Mitch Gerads lends his grittier style to the Swamp Thing story—a fitting choice given the tone of the tale, which almost seems more like something from Vertigo Comics than the mainstream DC Universe. In addition to artist Clay Mann, a team of six inkers, three colorists and three letterers added the finishing touches to the absolutely fantastic artwork that makes this one of DC Comics most popular and most critically acclaimed series.

I Am Bane is rated 12+ for teen audiences and I consider that ranking largely fair. As with previous volumes of Batman: Rebirth, the largest problem is sensitive subject matter covered in the story that teens may not be equipped to handle rather than foul language, nudity or sexual content. The chief offender in this regard is a sequence which lays out the lives of Batman and Bane and their respective childhood trials, panel by panel.

Batman, vol. 3: I am Bane 
by Tom King
Art by David Finch and Mitch Gerads
ISBN: 9781401271312
DC Comics, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: 12+

  • Matt

    | He/Him Librarian

    Reviewer

    A librarian with over 10 years experience in public and academic settings, Matthew Morrison has been blogging about comic books for nearly as long as they’ve had a word for it.  Over the past two decades, he has written regular columns, commentary, parodies and reviews for such websites and blogs as Fanzing, 411 Mania, Screen Rant and Comics Nexus.  He has served as an Expert in Residence for a seminar on Graphic Novels and Comics for Youth and Adults at the University of North Texas and has given several lectures on the history of comics, manga and cosplay culture at libraries and comic conventions around the country. In addition to his work for No Flying No Tights, he is the Contributing Editor of Kabooooom.com and maintains a personal blog at MyGeekyGeekyWays.com.

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