In Brief: Bane catches a big break as his path continues to tangle with Batman’s.
Summary (Spoilers): Bane juices up on Venom and suits up after his breakout with Batman. Bane pursues Damocles for vengeance, while Batman seeks the master. Damocles’s teams fall one by one to the pair, and he sets out with all of his remaining troops to face Bane. Batman tracks through the lair to find a cyborg he calls Dionysus, the master of Damocles. Batman says he’ll protect Dionysis from Bane, but no tricks. Bane, meanwhile, confronts Damocles, who has the measure of the criminal this time, and demonstrates his knowledge of Latin vocabulary for anatomy as he beats his antagonist down brutally. He spares the man, and catches Batman at the helicopter hanger with Dionysus. The two exchange philosophies of justice vs. power, then blows, and the cyborg takes his chance to escape with his rocket boosters. However, Bane leaps off the cliff of the lair after him, catching up and disabling the mastermind’s robotic body.
Seeing Batman take the helicopter to the nearest city, after determining their location in Romania, Bane rips all but the essential systems from Dionysius’s robotic form, and learns of a global criminal empire ripe for his taking.
Bane’s crew meets him in Timisoara, Romania, and they set a course for Astana, Kazakhstan.
In Depth: Dixon and Nolan have clearly paced their story very deliberately, revealing lumps of information and plot hooks for the future of their story in measured form, interspersed with clear, brutal action sequences. In finding the master of his tormentor Damocles, Bane discovers a network in place he could take over, setting forth a course to the Conquest the title of this miniseries indicates is the endgame of his arc. While Damocles falls a bit too easily, the grotesquerie of Dionysis and Bane’s confrontation offers chills in the expert lines of Nolan’s pen, and Dixon’s spare dialogue captures the voices of his characters with nothing wasted. Batman and Bane’s relationship seems to be as carefully judged as the rest of the issue, walking the fine line of pragmatism and obstruction that Batman must always face when captured alongside his villains.
It’s a bit surprising that Bane’s found his path after facing only two antagonists, but it’s highly likely that this is a ruse – that his goal of world criminal domination is crystallized by finding out about Dionysus’s empire, but actually making that empire work for him proves more complicated – and hiding darker secrets – in the issues to come.
Pick up/Pass? Dixon and Nolan’s classic storytelling continues – a pick up recommendation continues as well!
In Conclusion: Bane’s path to global crime domination seems to offer an opening as he and Batman continue their struggle.