BANE: CONQUEST #1
Fresh off the story arc in Batman, Bane is getting his own 12 issue solo series from DC Comics and it starts this week with BANE: CONQUEST #1. Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan are back to shine the spotlight on the character they created. Teaming up with his original crew Bane is out to protect Gotham City in his own way. An intercepted weapons shipment that was meant for more than just gang wars leads Bane on a bloody fact finding mission through the underbelly of Gotham and eventually out of country. What he finds may be more than he bargained for!
Solo titles for villains are always going to be like trying to write a story while tap dancing through a mine field. Characters like Bane are fantastic when used as a foil for Batman but when left on their own they always feel compromised. Chuck Dixon has used the slightly revised version of Bane that seems to have a mission to protect Gotham without the moral constraints that inhibit Batman. The scenes in which Bane plows through the thugs of Gotham looking for information plays out exactly like it would in a Batman comic with a healthy dose of death and excessive violence. The compromising of the character comes in the conclusion of the first issue when Bane is dismantled within one page. The villain that broke the Bat is seemingly undone so easily that it breaks all the good storytelling that proceeded it.
Nolan’s art is as good as it has always been and his Bane is a nice mix of the old and the new. Panel layouts and action all flow smoothly and the story is well told despite a few flaws. In the end this is a solid title that will be a treat for many Batman fans who want a story focusing on one of his most iconic villains. My only hope is that the next few issues build him up more as the feared monster we have always known him to be.