Forever Evil: Arkham War 3
Peter J. Tomasi, Scot Eaton
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
I’ll tell you what… It’s an exciting time to be a Batman fan. Peter J. Tomasi and Scot Eaton are delivering the awesome on a monthly basis and they’re doing it in Gotham City, yes, and they’ve got plenty of characters to play with, true, but the biggest accomplishment is that they are giving quite possibly one of the most interesting Batman stories in decades by doing the unthinkable: Not actually having Batman in it. At all. That’s right. If you love villains and you love chaos and anarchy in the streets, then you won’t want to miss this book. It’s the real story of what would happen to a place like Gotham if Batman was nowhere to be found. And it’s sick, twisted, terrifying, and all sorts of amazing. This isn’t just a Batman story, though. It’s part of a bigger, wider, universe-spanning event. A little something called Forever Evil. You might have heard of it. Or you might not read comics at all. Those are your two options. Either way, this is a book you need to know about. And this issue is going to be the main turning point in that decision.
So much happens in this issue, which is great, because the first two were primarily just setting the scene (something that some writers choose to leave out, giving us just a senseless bloodbath in the premiere issue). The gang war is escalating. Killer Croc has just saved the Scarecrow and been awarded Wayne Tower as his payment for doing so. It’s all-out war on the streets, with a plethora of cool cameos and wonderfully drawn battles. Bane captures Emperor Penguin (possibly the worst creation of the New 52) and delivers him to Oswald Cobblepot, in exchange for more information. This is the best scene in the comic, by far. The Penguin and Bane continue their uneasy alliance, with Cobblepot claiming that word on the street is that Bane is scary, yeah, but he’s no Batman. So, naturally, Bane goes to his lab and creates a new suit of armor. A Bat suit of armor, to be precise. And then, because he interrupted his plan to kill the Scarecrow, he goes to the top of Wayne Tower and proceeds to beat Killer Croc, presumably to death, while wearing the Batman costume that he constructed to strike true fear into the hearts of Gotham’s citizens and crazies. Then, to add emphasis, he throws Croc from the top of the building back down below. Where he belongs. In a scene that is reminiscent of the Bruce versus Mutant Leader issue from The Dark Knight Returns, Bane might have just done something without the major news media swooping in to ruin it days in advance… He might have killed a fan-favorite character. But before we can focus too much on that possibility, we are shown that Mr. Freeze and company are reluctantly planning to tip the scales in favor of the Arkhamites once and for all. He’s going to throw the switch, so to speak, and resurrect the Talons.
Needless to say, this is the book of the week. Shit hits the fan this issue, and it’s exactly as it should be in Gotham City. Brutal, dirty, and permanent. Tomasi is unmatched in his Batman mythology and characterization. Period. I look forward to each and every single issue of Batman and Robin from him and the fact that we now get a second Bat book from him (with excellent artwork as a very welcome bonus) is just about enough to make mine DC forever. Plus, you know, the other Bat books are pretty amazing as well. So, yeah. There’s a reason Batman’s been dominating all forms of comic book pop culture for the better part of the last 75 years. And it’s books like this that prove that he’s going to continue to do so for another 75. Congrats guys, on your much-deserved success. And keep up the dark, unforgiving, uncompromising work. Preferably making this book an ongoing one once the dust settles.
My Rating: 5/5