Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Batman: The Dark Knight #6

"Run Rabbit Run"

Paul Jenkins Story
David Finch Art
Joe Harris Dialogue Assist
Inker: Richard Friend
Colors: Jeromy Cox
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Assistant Editor: Rickey Purdin
Editor: Mike Marts
Batman created by Bob Kane

"Dialogue Assist" is an unusual credit. According to Paul Jenkins, DC was unhappy with his script, so they hastily asked to Joe Harris to re-write the story. That's what he said, anyway. For myself, I can tell there's a difference between the dialogue in this issue and the last two I reviewed. The story itself is just as dumb as the others, but the way the characters talk and what they say is markedly different — probably for the worse.

The cover is by Finch, Friend and Cox. Sadly no Alex Sinclair this time, but I doubt even his coloring could have saved this cover. We get Bane in his classic pose of breaking Batman's back over his knee. It's not a bad image in and of itself, but it's been done before. A lot. I also don't care for David Finch's Bane. It's like he decided to exaggerate every already-exaggerated feature of Bane. Too many tubes and veins and even muscles. The Dark Knight Rises taught us Bane could be an intriguing character without being bigger than the Hulk, but Finch believes otherwise.

Our story starts on Harmon Island, Gotham City, with Batman feeling the lingering effects of Scarecrow's toxins. For the 75,678,954th time, Batman sees his parents die. Superman then wakes him up. Apparently he showed up last issue to beat up Batman and save him from this new toxin.

Batman realizes that Superman saved him by pushing him past his tipping point, and that surge of adrenaline counteracted the drug. That also means that unless the Flash is pushed past his tipping point, his running will only charge the toxin like a battery. So Batman sends Superman to save the Flash, while he chases after White Rabbit.

Meanwhile, Jim Gordon is apprehending the Great White Shark, who was the last of the escaped Arkham inmates (there was some kind of jailbreak in previous issues that I missed). Gordon wonders where Batman is, who has caught up to the White Rabbit at a lighthouse. She is joined by the Scarecrow, who lunges at Batman, but is easily taken down with some knock-out gas. White Rabbit then asks Batman how the Flash is doing (she apparently knows he pricked his thumb at Poison Ivy's lab).

Superman finally catches up to the Flash and tells him he has to keep running, even though Flash complains about having circled the globe six times already. Superman describes the drug like a snake bite, and says they need to find a way to get the venom out of his bloodstream. At the word venom, Flash realizes they aren't dealing with just a new Scarecrow toxin.

Batman then begins to question White Rabbit, when Bane suddenly joins the conversation. He fights Batman for a while, and he throws a rock at him ... it was a big rock. Bane also talks a lot. He mentions breaking backs, but ultimately explains that he used Poison Ivy and Scarecrow to help him make a purer, more volatile derivative of venom. He used several test subjects (Two-Face, Clayface and Deathstroke I assume). Bane also claims that this new venom makes him smarter.

The Good:

I wish I had something good to say about this issue, I really did. I love Batman and I love comic books, but this is not a good story. It just isn't. I don't mean to be negative, but I've got to be honest.

The Bad:

Messy story/dialogue. Everybody seemed to talk an awful lot without really saying anything. And most of what they did say didn't make much sense. I don't know what was going on between Paul Jenkins, Joe Harris and DC, but the end result was an extremely disappointing introduction of Bane to the New 52. And this problem only gets worse when you factor in the character's popularity from The Dark Knight Rises. The man who broke the Bat's back deserves better.

How dumb is Batman? I was kind of happy that the Flash realized they were dealing with Bane, but why didn't Batman? I mean, I thought it was pretty obvious. But then again, this issue has several problems with deciding how much the characters should know. Like White Rabbit, for instance. How did she know about the Flash? She wasn't there at Poison Ivy's lab! Or maybe she was, I don't really care. This is such a dumb story.

What was the point? I kept asking myself that question while reading this issue (and all issues on this Dark Knight run). Like, what was the point of having the Scarecrow here if he wasn't going to do anything? And Great White? I guess they wanted to give us a quick update of the Arkham uprising that Wonder Woman was quelling (except she wasn't in this issue). Of course, it isn't fair for me to complain about that when I haven't read issues #1, 2 and 5, but I can complain about White Rabbit. It seems to me, her only purpose is to look pretty in ridiculously small underwear. I think Bane could have manipulated Scarecrow, Poison Ivy and the others all by himself. He did just say this new venom makes him smarter, after all.

This Paul Jenkins run on Dark Knight has been pretty disastrous. This issue got a new person to write the dialogue, but the end result was the same. Luckily, I only have one more issue to do.

Final score: 2 out of 10

Next: The vengeance of Bane!

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