Review – Bane: Conquest #1 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Script: Chuck Dixon
Art: Graham Nolan
Release Date: 3rd May 2017

Since his introduction way back in late 1992, Bane has been one of the most intriguing newer additions to Batman’s rogues gallery, but he hasn’t always been handled well.

Two people who know exactly how to handle the man that broke the Bat though, are Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan, who created the character alongside Doug Moench for the Knightfall epic.

Even back then, the duo weren’t the flashiest of creators, rarely involved in any of the “hot” books that now fill 50p boxes everywhere. Instead, they quietly got on with telling great Batman stories and rarely putting a foot wrong.

Now, 24 years later, they’re back with another epic and sure enough, they’ve done it again.

Right from the extreme close up of a city in flames reflected in Bane’s eye (a neat call back to the last panel of his first appearance), this is pure, unadulterated 100 proof Bane. Vicious, cold and calculating, but with a simmering rage always just lurking below the surface.

When a shipment of stolen spent plutonium warheads are brought into Gotham, Bane’s sees it as a threat to his territory. He’s still got plans for domination of the city, as well as more global ambitions, so sets about tracking down who is responsible and dealing with them in a way that’ll have them wishing they had the Batman on their tail.

This has all the hallmarks of a crime epic in the making. Bane is front and centre, essentially as the hero of this series, even though he’s an awful human being. Dixon and Nolan from the off have always imbued him with more depth than the average masked villain and that’s what they do here.

Glimpses of his horrific childhood in the Santa Prisca prison are brought to the fore again, reminding us that Bane’s burning desire for power and control comes from sheer survival at one point. He’s a villain, but he’s more than that.

Nolan’s art feels like he’s never been away from the world of Batman, instantly slipping back into the groove, conjuring a Bane that’s imposing without being ludicrous, a real man who had made himself somewhat of a monster.

The only thing that sticks out is for some reason, they’ve decided Bane will sport a luchador mask similar to his BtAS look, with gaps for the nose and mouth, as opposed to the sheer mask that we’re more used to seeing. It’s a shame, but it’s pretty much the only downside to this issue, so you can’t complain too much.

Make no mistake, this is top quality stuff and even if you’re an old-school Batman fan who’s not picked up a comic in years, you need Bane: Conquest in your life.

Rating: 4/5.

[Click to Enlarge]

JULESAV The Writer of this piece was: Jules Boyle
Jules tweets from @Captain_Howdy

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