My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This collection seemed like it had a shot at being something really fun. It definitely had some great ideas, but fell short in execution for me.
This book is set during the time that the Forever Evil storyline was playing out across the DC Universe. Batman is nowhere to be found and Bane has come back to Gotham in an attempt to rid the city of the Arkhamites (Bat’s rogues gallery) and rule the city once more. I’m a fan of Bane, so this got me seriously interested. Bane brings an army of venom equipped mercenaries along for the ride to lend a hand in taking out the trash. He also has a secret agenda that will ensure his total domination of Gotham and it’s freaks. Eventually Bane actually assumes the role of Batman by donning a cape and cowl and takes to the streets with a newly awoken Talon alongside him filling in for Robin. Sounds like it has potential, right?
Not so much. Somewhere shortly after it stars, this one went off the rails for me. Bane starts with the dramatic overacting right off the bat. Raising his hand in the air in front of him and shouting “And Gotham city is mine!”. Little corny. At least Tomasi didn’t follow it with a “bbwwaaahahahahaha”. Next up, the Arkhamites. Tomasi’s characterizations of most of the classic baddies was just off. Why would Manbat/Langstrom give a shit about ruling part of Gotham city? I just could not buy these guys were all working together like a bunch of union members. And what’s up with the half a dozen battle-royale scenes with the Blackgate criminals and the Arkham lunatics going toe to toe in the street? I just don’t see the Mad Hatter looking to box with Black Mask or anybody else for that matter. The dude is a pussy. These fights just seemed like an excuse to put as many bad guys brawling in a two page spread as possible. Hokey. Finally, the whole venom infused, roid-raged Arkham escapees trying to put the beat-down on Bane was just blah. Saw the ending coming from a mile away and it just seemed like a blatant and rushed attempt to do anything possible to tie the titles included to the Forever Evil event and put a bow on it.
Scot Eaton and the other artists that provided illustrations didn’t do a bad job. I even liked parts of it. Bane’s “Dark Knight Returns” look was kinda cool.
In the end, all the venom in Gotham couldn’t make this one more formidable. This might have been a better story with a little more patience, better use of fewer characters, and a more consistency in its characterizations of the baddies involved. For me this is clearly a case where less would have been more.