“I Am Bane” Review

By Andrew Kiess

Tom King is a brave man. Yes, he’s served America as a counterterrorism CIA operative, but his most recent challenge in life has been filling the role once held by the great Scott Snyder writing Batman. Snyder’s run as the lead writer on Batman lasted the entire fiver year lifespan of DC Comics’ New 52 line, and was its bestseller, as well as one of the most critically acclaimed books of the line. But, Snyder left shortly after the Bloom arc, and when DC was looking to relaunch the line, Snyder was moved to All-Star Batman, and King was asked to step up to the plate.

Spoilers for Batman #1-15 to follow.

King’s run debuted with I Am Gotham. This story, found in issues 1-6, featured the mysterious appearance of two super-powered beings called Gotham and Gotham Girl, who were being manipulated by the Psycho Pirate. In the sequel arc, I Am Suicide (issues 9-14), Psycho Pirate is being protected in Bane’s fortress, and Batman recruits a Suicide Squad from Amanda Waller in order to extract the Pirate so that he can cure Gotham Girl. The plan is successful, which obviously does not sit well with Bane.

batman-11-coming-november-16-from-writer-tom-kingIf I’m being honest, I have struggled to get into this new run on Batman. David Finch’s art has been great, and Tom King is a great writer, but it has felt like Batman has taken a backseat to the characters around him throughout the entire Rebirth line. And as great as Rebirth has been for most of DC’s characters, I have felt like Batman has not benefitted from Rebirth. That was until I read I Am Bane.

Bane is on his way to Gotham to exact revenge for Batman infiltrating his sovereign territory, and Bruce Wayne is preparing for war in a way that only Bruce could—by sending all of his soldiers away from the battlefield. Bruce warns Dick Grayson/Nightwing, Duke Thomas/Lark, Damian Wayne/Robin, and Jason Todd/Red Hood to stay out of Gotham until Bane is dealt with. But, his warnings fall on deaf ears for the Robins, and Bruce finds them hanging, barely alive, in the Batcave with the words “I Am Bane” spray painted across their chests. Bruce and Alfred must get Gotham Girl and the Psycho Pirate out of Bane’s path of destruction, and so they barricade themselves deep within Arkham while Bane’s warpath leads him through all of the inmates Batman has put there over the years.

Three issues into this run, I finally understood what King was doing. It’s no coincidence that the main three arcs of King’s run so far have been titled with the words “I Am…”. He was re-forging Batman’s identity as Bruce. Or Bruce’s identity as Batman. Either way, the end of the New 52 saw many changes for Bruce Wayne, not the least of which included being raised from the dead (kind of) and becoming the god of knowledge (really.) Despite all the good that happened for the character during the New 52, it didn’t leave the character with very many directions to go. Is Batman Gotham, or are there other heroes better suited for that task? Is Batman suicide, willing to sacrifice himself for the cause? Or is Batman like Bane, steeped in tragedy and loss? In the last half of I Am Bane, something beautiful happens with the character that I think that if you haven’t been paying attention, you might miss.

Batman is taken out of the tragedy that inspired him, while Bane is haunted by his own tragic past that holds him back. While the death of Bruce’s parents may have started his quest to rid Gotham of crime, it is now his own heroic nature that keeps him going. He is pulled out of the muck of being a crusader for justice, fighting an unwinnable war—he’s a man, who sees that being Batman and doing Batman things, saving Gotham Girl, stopping Bane, and doing these things with every drop of sweat and blood he can give, as the right thing to do. And because being Batman is the right thing to do, he is going to do it. This is Tom King’s Batman. And, even though I’m late to the party, I’m a fan

 

Shanlian On Batman Episode 72 Wsg Hope Larson

On this weeks episode the guys and Rheanna sit down with the writer of Batgirl, Hope Larson. Hope tells us a little about her childhood and what it was like growing up over seas. We talk about her day to day as a writer and her creative process. She tells the story of how she became writer of Batgirl and how it has changed her life. Hope was a great guest and very fun to talk to, so put those ear-buds in and listen to Episode 72 of Shanlian on Batman with Hope Larson!

Shanlian on Batman Episode 54 wsg Jay Oliva

We got Jay Oliva on the show to discuss his insanely impressive career in the DC world. Everyone is familiar with Jay’s work from Batman the Dark Knight Returns pts 1 & 2, Batman Assault on Arkham, Justice League Wars, Batman vs Robin, pretty much all your favorite animated DC films! Dont miss this one, we even talk about the newly released Batman Bad Blood, So strap in with Shanlian on Batman and enjoy this fine interview with Jay Oliva!

Shanlian On Batman Episode 52

This week the guys are back in the podcast cave and they are talking anything and everything that is going on in the movie/tv/comic world! Also a ton of your questions from twitter and our website get answered. Strap in and get ready for this blabber fest action packed episode of Shanlian on Batman.

Shanlian On Batman Episode 48 wsg Greg Rucka

This week’s SoB features comic book writer Greg Rucka! He has written many novels and comic books including the series Gotham Central, Batman: No Man’s Land and the ongoing Lazarus. Sit back and enjoy listening to what the man has to say about all sorts of different topics ranging from his early career, the TV show Gotham, and much more!

Shanlian on Batman Episode 46 wsg Athena Finger

This week the guys talk some Batman and DC news that has been going on in the past few weeks. Jared Leto talking about the joker, Batman V Superman trailers during Super Girl, and Batman Beyond news. Then SoB gets an interview with the Granddaughter of Bill Finger, the co-creator of Batman. Athena’s story of what she did for the credibility of her grandfather’s name is quite an amazing one.

Shanlian On Batman episode 45 wsg Jorge Corona

This week the guys from SoB, joined by their comics correspondent Kim Gaines, had a nice chat with the Current penciller for We Are Robin, Jorge Corona. Everything gets brought up on this episode, from drawing We are Robin and working with Lee Bermejo, to deadlines and even thoughts on new and upcoming DC adventures to be. Get ready for this great SoB interview with co host Kim Gaines and our amazingly down to earth guest, Mr. Jorge Corona. enjoy!
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We Are Robin #2 Review from Kim Gaines

They started this one with a bang.

The story picks up right where we left off, smack in the middle of a fight between Duke and the Robins, against a bunch of creeper sewer warriors. And the banter between the Robin team is great. It’s so fun and witty, and has the whole teenager feel about it, without being annoying or feeling too rehearsed.

Those first six pages are an awesome ride. Tons of action and every panel delivers. The whole scene is one you won’t forget quickly, and you get lost in the chaos of it all. One of the best parts about finally seeing the Robins in action, is equally awesome in both art and writing. The unique signatures of each uniform is great, and they speak to the differences of each character. There’s an attitude about each funky belt buckle, a story behind every hood. The little quirks of each costume are so much fun, and set each character apart.

The attitude of the Robins comes in the dialogue. They feel like kids you want to know. Like you want to play video games with them on a Saturday night, but you would totally go fight bad guys with them too. They take shots at each other, laugh about funny stuff, drop pop culture references, all of that good stuff, and it makes them feel real and concrete.

In this issue we also got a glimpse of the man who might be behind this whole operation, which helped open up a lot of interesting questions about what’s really going on. Who is this guy? Why are Duke’s parents so important? Can he be trusted? I mean, we didn’t really get any answers, but it’s important that the questions were put out there. It solidified that fact that there’s something bigger going on here.

And I for one, want to find out exactly what that is.
These guys are laying groundwork, and I’m looking forward to see what comes up. 4701583-warb_2_2-3

We Are Robin Issue #1 Review by Kim Gaines

Raise youtumblr_njd48wcT7q1qfy3nuo1_500r hand if you had a few doubts about We Are Robin.

Hand in the air, like I just don’t care.

I take my Batfam seriously. Casual associates included,. And I wasn’t sure I could get behind what appeared to be a bunch of street kids, running around repping the  most important ‘R’ I can imagine, after a long, honorable, and in many cases, tragic legacy that had come before them. Who are these kids? Who said they could do this? Can they fight? Do they realize how important this is? Are they ready for the weight of the this?

Aside from that, it seemed a little cliche. The adoption into this vigilante life, has been done a million times before, half of them occurring in the Bat universe alone. I felt like it might be a story we’ve seen already.

Lee Bermejo and Jorge Corona promptly shut me and my whole life up.

This story is wonderful.

For starters, Corona’s art is bomb. It’s funky and weird, and a little bit twisted. The amount of attitude and emotion he can carry through the lips of his characters alone, is unbelievable. Curvy side smirks, annoyed pouts, wicked grins, it’s all there. And it gives a life to his faces. The angles of his scenes are awesome and every new page jumps out at you.

Lee Bermejo’s throws out words like weapons. I was in love with Duke Thomas before I knew his name.

“Someone told me that the problem with youth is the inability to accept your own morality. I wouldn’t consider this one of my problems.”

Oh, come on. Don’t you want to see where this is going?

Bermejo jumps in and out of Duke’s consciousness flawlessly, and no matter how interesting it gets outside, you keep wanting back in Duke’s head. His entire narrative is snarky, funny, intelligent, and if you listen hard enough, vulnerable. The entire story is action packed from beginning to end, and it doesn’t take from the story at all. The characters are solid and engaging, and the art just takes it to another level entirely.

I will spoil nothing about this series so far, because I want you get the same rush I did. This whole issue was just fun. The characters are easy to get behind, the humor keeps it interesting, even the references to pop culture make it feel like a universe you’re a part of. The bigger mystery at play makes it all the more enticing, as you’re eager to discover what really going on in Gotham right now, and who’s really holding all the strings.

I really hope youguys give this one a shot. It’s so worth it. Some people worry about messing with the Batfam legacy and all its twisted glory. I wouldn’t consider this one of my problems.

Well. Not anymore.

We. Are. ROBIN.

Shanlian On Batman Episode 39 feat Kim Gaines

Today on Shanlian on Batman they guys invite their new Comics Corespondent to come on the show to share with us a few things about herself. Then Kim gives a quick run through on her 3 favorite Comics/Graphic Novels followed by the Hosts, Justin, Kyle, & Tom doing the same. Lets welcome Ms Kim Gaines to the show and enjoy another great episode of Shanlian on Batman!

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