Batman: Gotham Knights #48 Review

Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: Veritas Liberat – Chapter 2: Family Reunion

Written by: Scott Beatty
Penciled by: Roger Robinson
Inked by: John Floyd
Colored by: Heroic Age
Lettered by: Clem Robins
Assistant Editor: Nachie Castro
Editor: Matt Idelson

Black & White
Story Title: The Mob is Dead, Long Live the Mob

Written by: Eric Cherry
Art by: Eric Cherry
Lettered by: Clem Robins
Editor: Michael Wright

Publisher: DC Comics

Origins

It’s hard to create a villain that stands the test of time. It’s even more difficult to create one that fits seamlessly within Batman’s Rogues Gallery. A massive physical threat and a brilliant mind made Bane the perfect foil for the Dark Knight. “Knight Fall” and “Knight’s End” led to the Batman’s undoing for a time in the 90s, and as this type of story went they worked better than most. Bane was a truly frightening, worthy opponent, to the Batman. So what did they do? Turned him into a psuedo-good-guy, of course. Yet, I have no real complaints.

This month, Scott Beatty continues the excellent characterization of Bane that has been a major part of his run on Gotham Knights. Bane’s search for his father has led to the Himalayas where he meets his not-so-proud PaPa, Sir Edmund Dorrance, known as King Snake. Beatty weaves Kobra back into the picture as they were integral to the story the last time Sir Edmund showed up (in Robin #91 back in 2001) and we also get a bit more information on the origin of Bane.

Bane’s origin was originally told in 1993’s The Vengeance of Bane one-shot. Without stepping on any toes, Beatty expands upon the story originally told by Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan, and Eduardo Barreto. We learn how Sir Edmund fits into the picture and get a retelling of sorts. This is well done recap and expansion, and will give readers not familiar with Bane’s origin a good idea of the tragedy behind the characters upbringing.

All in the Family

Beatty’s run on Gotham Knights (which concludes next month) has been all about family. Batman and the majority of the heroes in the “Batman Family” race to the Himalayas to bust in on the father-son reunion. Racing to the conclusion, Beatty gives us a nice moment between Alfred and one of the few non-superpowered individuals to know Batman’s secret identity, Leslie Thompkins. In their opinion they have and continue to be the “enablers” of Bruce Wayne’s “war” on crime. I must ask, could they really stop him at this point?

Beatty is closing things out nicely, weaving many of the plot threads he’s introduced together. He even pulls the Huntress, who’s been working from within Checkmate, back into the story. The final issue will deal with a big brawl between the Batman Family, Bane and Dorrance, and minions of Kobra who’re returning to the base they abandoned back in those Robin days. There’s so much going on within this comic, yet Beatty intertwine the myriad characters and plotlines together, and things never become convoluted.

Roger Robinson has been the regular penciler on Gotham Knights since issue #8. He has defined the look and feel of this oft-overlooked bastard child of the Bat-book-set. He has a fantastic ability to capture everyone within the Batman Family with equal strength. His Bane is one of the best renditions I have ever seen, and his Batman is simply amazing. Sadly, he leaves the book at the same time as Scott Beatty next month.

Eric Cherry turns in a solid Black & White back up story. His writing and artwork deliver a somewhat engaging tale of double and triple crosses. Through all the conniving the villain ends up getting his just rewards at the conclusion. That said, I’ve grown tired of the Black & White concept, and would prefer to see the feature dropped after nearly 50 issues.

The new team of A.J. Lieberman with art by Al Barrionuevo & Francis Portela take on Gotham Knights starting with issue #50. The recent preview inserted into DC’s books a few weeks ago makes me very excited, but I’m going to miss this book as it was. This title has stood in distinct contrast to the other Batman books on the shelves. The new direction appears interesting, but I hope that it will continue to maintain a very distinct identity from the other books.