After a fantastic issue last week, Batman Arkham Knight returns with a story arc focused on one of the Caped Crusader's greatest foes: Bane.
The hulking, venom-infused strongman has broken free from his cell and taken control Gotham Stone Ridge Penitentiary, much to the misfortune of the prison warden and guards.
It is of course up to Batman to save the day, but first the Dark Knight investigates the Penguin's old hideout. The whole place goes up in smoke soon after, with Penguin's true intentions still unclear.
Before long the Batsignal can be seen in the sky. A nice little touch here is that Bruce instantly recognizes that the Batsignal he is seeing isn't the one used by Commissioner Gordon. So he goes to check it out.
Turns out it was a makeshift signal made by a prison guard, seeking help from Bane's rampage. Bane isn't messing around here and shows that he truly is a force to be reckoned with. He also proves he isn't the dumb brute that some mistake him to be, as he surrounded Batman with dozens of armed guards. Why fight Batman alone when Bane can bring backup? It all sets the stage for a major brawl in what looks to be a multiple issue arc involving Bane.
Last week moved the plot forward in some truly interesting ways, but as we've seen before, writer Peter Tomasi seems content to leave certain plot threads hanging for issues at a time before returning to them later. It's hard not to feel like this whole Bane scenario is nothing more than filler for the larger story to come, especially when we could be reading about Gordon's thoughts on running for mayor of Gotham City or learn more about Batman's hunt for his look-a-like, the Arkham Knight.
Perhaps that is to be expected coming from a weekly, digital-first comic. But what is here is the same quality you've come to expect from this prequel series. Solid art, good action and on-point writing. Tomasi makes great use of Batman's various gadgets as seen in the Arkham games and continues to weave in characters left and right. Even if it doesn't tackle the big questions as quickly as some of us might like, it's hard to deny this book's appeal week after week.
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