Bane Conquest #1 (of 12) (DC Comics)
Bane is one of the greatest Batman villains, period. So the news that his original creators Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan would be returning to the character for a twelve issue miniseries had me very curious. Both creators have had a pretty low profile lately (well, one of them at least), and the character has changed greatly since his first appearance in the 90’s. But now they’ve come barreling back, with a twelve-issue miniseries and a Bane that is dead set on protecting his city….Gotham City.
Wait, what? Yes, that’s right, Bane sees himself as the protector of Gotham, and when some gun runners attempt to bring some nuclear weapons into the city, he takes it upon himself to take them out before they get into his city. This is a huge departure from the last time we saw Bane, which was only a month ago in Tom King and David Finch’s “I Am Bane” storyline in Batman. This disconnect is really confusing, and there’s no editor’s note in the issue to give you hint of where this miniseries takes place, nor does Chuck Dixon’s script give use any information about the continuity here either. At least Bane’s characterization is spot on, as Dixon largely has Bane act the same way we’ve always seen, albeit with a few extra layers of damaged psyche than we’ve seen before.
Unfortunately Graham Nolan’s depiction of Bane isn’t really what we’re used to seeing. Sure, he’s still a giant hulking monster of a man, but Nolan gives Bane an open mouthed Luchadore mask, and the heavy line work on his art almost makes you wonder if the inker used a magic marker for this issue. Lots of Nolan’s action moments are stiff, and the side characters who aren’t Bane or his cohorts Trogg, Bird, and Zombie all look the same. I was hoping that Nolan would still have the goods after all these years, but unfortunately that’s not the case.
Bane Conquest is off to a slow start, which makes me a little worried about the pacing of this story. I had high hopes for this miniseries, and while they weren’t met at all, I’m still going to keep going with it in the hopes that Dixon and Nolan find their groove soon.