Batman and Bane have been at it for three issues now, and this issue is no exception. It hasn't been one of the stronger arcs of the series so far, and this issue likely won't change any minds.
Bane has escaped prison. Batman is attempting to bring him in, but so far is finding that extremely difficult. He's needed help first from a prison guard and now Poison Ivy in order to avoid Bane beating him to a bloody pulp.
Batman, however, doesn't know how to quit. Last issue, we saw that somehow, Bane breaking free is all according to Arkham Knight's plan. He sends Ivy, Batman and Bane plummeting beneath the streets of Gotham into the tunnels below for unknown reasons.
It's a realm in which Bane is most comfortable and he quickly begins hammering on Batman once again. Almost as quickly as she appears, Ivy saves Batman once more before disappearing.
Her introduction and subsequent departure feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. She doesn't add much to the story, at least at this point, and it just seems like chance that she stumbled upon Bane and Batman fighting in the first place. Why include her in this story arc at all? Perhaps writer Peter Tomasi has bigger plans for her down the line, but he doesn't drop any hints here.
With Ivy gone and no backup in sight, Batman of course decides to do the reasonable thing and hunt Bane through Gotham's undercity, where he spends most of this issue tracking the villain.
It's a mostly inconsequential issue that does manage to remind us where a few other characters are. After it was revealed several issues back that Barbara and Bruce wanted Commissioner Gordon to run for mayor of Gotham, Tomasi has left the subject alone. We finally get some acknowledgement of that moment here, as another police officer talks as if Gordon is a sellout for trying to run for office. Harley Quinn also makes a brief but welcome appearance this issue. She is one of the standout characters of the series so far, so a little reminder that she is still working on plans of her own goes a long way.
Next week's issue will conclude this overly long Bane-centric story arc. If we are lucky, it will end with a bang.
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