Batman: The Dark Knight #7 continues the run of Paul Jenkins and David Finch.
So, this is what the final battle comes down to. Batman manages to escape Bane, all the while thinking about the situation and the choice he faces. With this new form of venom, Bane is stronger, faster, and now smarter. He decides to first clear the area of any civilians. When he finds Poison Ivy in a containment tube, he says he found her based on the trail from her clue in the laboratory. When she threatens to kill Bane, Batman says he's going to distract Bane long enough to let her get to the Birds of Prey.
As she climbs out, she tells him that Bane created an antidote using the virgin star cactus but that Batman will have to get him to ingest it. When he asks about the White Rabbit, she tells him that she's only as loyal as the money Bane pays her. She tells him that what he needs to figure out is what she means to Batman.
Batman stands at the top of a lighthouse, waiting for Bane to come after him. He tells him if this new venom really made him smarter, he'd realize that constantly chasing after Batman proves nothing but that he's really afraid of Batman. Making the leap up to the lighthouse's widow's walk, Bane scoffs at the idea. They fight, destroying the lighthouse, while Bane explains his vision for Gotham. A thousand drug-addled villains on every corner, with all of them under his command, and the citizens of the city cowering while their champion, Batman, comes and runs into a tank.
Meanwhile, Superman tells the Flash he has to keep running or else he's dead. Flash argues that he's already dead. He's been running faster than the speed of sound for over a day and his body is slowing down. When he finally crashes, Superman sees the toxin hasn't gotten hold of his body and urges him to get to a hospital. Rather than listen, he tells Superman he has to get back to Batman. And just like that, he takes off.
Back at the fight, Batman is forced to listen to Bane monologue about fear. Bane tells him that fear is the stain on his heart. He wants Batman to admit that he fears Bane. In his mind, Batman admits that he fears Bane, but more than Bane, he fears failure. As Bane raises him up, prepared to break his back once more, Batman drops the green vial of virgin star cactus juice. The Flash catches it, cracking wise about littering, and manages to get it into Bane's mouth, causing him to vomit something that resembles green shrubbery.
He curses and screams that he's stronger than Batman, and Batman uses the opportunity to push him over the cliffs they'd been fighting on. Crashing at the bottom, the tide begins to wash his body away. Batman just says "he'll be back."
In a curious ending to the issue, and probably the arc, Jai, the arbitrary love interest, sits in the bath and listens to Bruce leave her a message that he won't be able to make their date tonight. The White Rabbit appears and wonders if he's found out about the two of them. Jai wonders if Batman could have tipped him off. The White Rabbit says Batman is so busy chasing shadows that he's never going to figure it out. In the big twist, White Rabbit and Jai turn out to be the same person, able to be in two places at once.
This issue almost felt like it was disappointing on two fronts. It seemed like it was the end of the story arc regarding these venomed up villains, and yet we were short changed. There were two battle scenes between Bane and Batman, and yet Bane was the one supposedly pulling the strings the entire time. The whole arc felt very drawn out and the ending was anti-climactic. The writing remains solid, despite an incredibly weak story. The clumsy exposition by Poison Ivy that Batman might feel something for the White Rabbit made that twist ending feel jammed in. It would have been forced even without the reference from Poison Ivy, but this made it feel even more like it was an afterthought.
The art, as always, gives me nothing to complain about. I've always felt like David Finch was talented, I just wish he'd recognize his talent is with art and not words.
Batman: The Dark Knight #7:
Reviewed by Melinda Hinman