Batman: The Dark Knight #6 continues the pairing of David Finch and Paul Jenkins, giving me the first issue in a long while that I've enjoyed. It could be all the publicity Bane has been getting recently. (On the off-chance that you live under a rock or stumbled on this site and this review by accident, Bane is poised to be the Big Bad in The Dark Knight Rises this summer.)
This issue opens with Batman reliving the murder of Bruce's parents, after Superman has beaten him into submission. Batman apologizes to Superman and they discuss the properties of the toxin and how the shot of adrenaline provided by the fight counteracted the toxin in his system. He tells Superman he has to go find the Flash and push him past the tipping point, rather than letting him run to get it out of his system. Just then, the White Rabbit reappears.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Gotham, officers struggle to take down Warren White, otherwise known as the Great White Shark. Gordon is on the phone with Forbes, who is telling him he'd be better off lawyering up. When he gets off the phone, one of the officers tells him that no one has seen him lately.
Back on the island, Batman is following the White Rabbit and thinking about the symbolism of the White Rabbit and how most people don't remember that the White Rabbit is simply worried about losing his head. When he arrives to see Scarecrow, he wonders how many times they're going to do this. But the Scarecrow tells him this isn't a storybook, that this island will be remembered as Holy Ground, a Cathedral to his most primal fear.
Scarecrow taunts Batman a little more about his fear before Batman gases him and subdues him. He tells the White Rabbit that he's seen this before, a psychopathic woman like her falling under the spell of a mad-man. She says he's got her all figured out, but then asks him how his little red friend is doing.
And with that, we flash over to the Flash, with Superman matching his speed and telling him that he has to run it out of his system. He likens it to getting venom from a snake out of his system. The word, venom, makes the Flash realize that Batman has it backward and they have to get back to him.
As Batman demands answers from the White Rabbit, he gets one from a voice behind him. As the cover promised, it's the return of Bane. Between beating on Batman and posturing, he explains the reasoning behind the experiment he's been conducting. He was refining the toxin and the bleeding eyeballs were a result of a little poison that made sure he could control them when they came down.
It seems he's preparing a takeover for Gotham, in the same way he did previously, he wore Gotham out by releasing all of Arkham, and he's planning on taking out Batman. Fortunately, he has an edge he didn't last time. This new toxin is a purer version of venom and its effect on the central nervous system is enough to turn a lesser man's brain to jelly. On Bane, it makes him smarter. Up next: The Vengeance of Bane.
This story has had more twists and turns than a very twisty-turny road. As much as I do not like the story, I am learning to differentiate the story from the writing. The writing is sharp, and I congratulate Paul Jenkins for what he's managing to do with this storyline.
The art, as always, looks sharp. The first big reveal of Bane, though anatomically incorrect, holds up as a beautiful image of Batman fighting something so much bigger than himself. If Batman represents Gotham in this page, Bane represents the evil he battles against every day of his life. The story line still strikes me as just an excuse to draw as many characters as possible, but when they look as good as they did in this issue, I don't mind as much.
Over all, it was a passable issue.
Batman: The Dark Knight #6:
Reviewed by Melinda Hinman