The Penguin spills the beans about the man behind the recent attempt on Dick's life and Batman follows the lead to Arkham where he finally confronts Bane — who appears to remain in a comatose state. So Batman beats the $h*7 out of him in an effort to get him to talk. It doesn't work.
This issue was less carefully constructed than the previous edition, but that’s hardly surprising since such a pace would be very difficult for a writer or an artist to maintain for any length of time at all. This book was also made to serve a different purpose. The previous issue was an excuse to parse the psychology of The Penguin — revealing the forces and motivations which keep his ravaged, twisted heart beating in his round little breast. This chapter was meant to reveal a more mechanical action — the methods Bane has chosen to break something far more valuable to Batman than his spine.
In this issue we see how carefully all of the characters have been manipulated. The Penguin has been pushed to the point where he is beyond caring about the consequences of his actions, and so he is willing to reveal what he knows to Batman — exactly as Bane intended.
Batman has been driven to the brink, but the episodes set in the court (when he served on the jury which exonerated Freeze) has allowed him to believe that he has regained his rationality. This was intentional. He has the illusion of control, but all of his actions — from the assault on Freeze to his own condemnation of himself — were anticipated and planned on.
Bane is a creature of will, drugs or no drugs, and his self-control is such that he could allow himself to suffer a traumatic brain injury in order to get the results that he wants.
Of course, Baman is more than capable of the same thing himself. King proved that earlier in his run, when Ivy went mad and usurped the minds of everyone in the world and Batman defeated her by allowing Superman to punch him. And this is a facet of The Bat’s personality which The Pit could not prepare Bane for.
It will provide Batman with the key to this trap.
There is one nagging flaw in this narrative — the fact that the readers knew that Batman was right about Bane faking his injury before the villain gave that snide little smirk at the end of the book. King showed his hand when he showed Bane inducing Catwoman to leave Bruce at the altar. That revelation seemed necessary, then, but it detracts from the impact of this issue. It would have been better, more effective, for us, if we doubted Batman. The fact that we know that he is right detracts from the experience and draws us out of the story.
It would have been better to hint at the elements leading to Selena’s cold feet. But that’s history, and can’t be changed now.
This singular flaw is not enough to disrupt the structure, but it does leave an unsightly crack in the wall.
This is a well constructed issue designed to reveal the cleverness of Bane's machinations that largely succeeds though it is marred by a slight flaw.
Batman #59 Turning the Screw
- Writing - 7.5/107.5/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 7.5/107.5/10
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