Chapter By Chapter (usually) features me reading one chapter of the selected book at a time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.

I added “usually” to the article intro because in the previous installment I looked at two chapters and this time we’re going with four chapters of varying length. This annoys me because for me a chapter stands on its own while continuing the overall story. It’s a good place to break if you have other things to do but if you have time to get to the next cliffhanger that’s available as well. I don’t like when a chapter breaks just to change scenes unless it works that way in the flow.

Luckily it did last time, though chapter two really should have been reviewed with chapter 1. So now I have to skim in order to not ruin the story for myself while at the same time seeing which chapters belong together. Last time, following how Bruce covers for Batman would have went better alongside chapter one while letting our introduction to Bane, as only a novel adapting a 1990s comic could, stand on its own. I believe the next four chapters, some really short, should link up well together before moving on. Let’s see if I’m right.

We may be starting off on a new night. (As opposed to a new “knight”; that’ll come in part two.) We also get something that’s supposed to be rare to impossible: Batman makes a joke, and a pretty good one. Supposedly Bruce doesn’t have a sense of humor but when Gordon asks if he’s a ninja because of how he shows up in Gordon’s backseat Batman’s response “it was that or air conditioning repair and I had the black suit”. Or grey, or blue (which as Gaijin Goombah brings up is what real ninja wore), depending on the period and artist/colorist. We learn that Bane got his prostitutes because six dead ones are found in a hotel. Look, whatever you think about prostitution they’re still people and as we’ve seen before here at BW…

…Batman doesn’t make judgement calls on who is worthy of avenging. Unless they have business insurance apparently. The big concern here is of course Bane, which Batman’s learned nothing about and hopes Gordon may have info he doesn’t. Nice to see that Batman does rely on others for help at times. Also on the docket is the scene Gordon just left: a military caravan was robbed of a set of missiles. Batman doesn’t know if they’re connected, though we know all three crimes are in fact connected. I wonder if Bane killed them on purpose or just…*sigh*…in the act. For crying out loud, 90s comics, the above image was taken from the 1970s and a comic I read as a kid. It just had a woman die from poison. From the 1990s to today the poison would probably force her to bleed from the eyes or something. This is why I say they push kids out of superheroes and it’s one of the reasons superheroes are in trouble. That and…well, let’s just move on to the next chapter.

Chapter 5 shows us that Bane is indeed behind the missile theft, as part of his plan to break Batman’s crazier rogues gallery members out of Arkham Asylum. Point to a version of the DC universe where they actually tried to increase security to keep the infamous revolving door shut, but they couldn’t have planned on military missiles. We also learn more about Bane associates–Bird, Zombie, and Trogg. Bird and Zombie were both betrayed by their criminal partners while Trogg was just trying to protect his cousin from a horny drug dealer’s driver. Again, 1990s. Bane also calls for more prostitutes and we find out out he couldn’t…perform and blamed the girls. Bird may be right about the Venom but don’t forget that it’s not like Bane had a lot of experience…as far as we’re told and if there was I’d rather not know thank you very much. Bane has a tragic backstory but it’s hard to feel sorry for him given the stuff he’s done over the years in the DC universe, especially to Batman.

The next two chapters are rather short. Chapter 6 introduces the current Robin, Tim Drake. It gives us a glimpse of his life currently, with his still near-comatose father (in an incident that doesn’t matter here outside of killing Tim’s mom and doing this to his dad), and then shows us Tim trying to break into a South American government computer still trying to learn about Bane, like his name. We also get a bit of Batman mentality, that once you put on the mask Tim stops being Tim Drake and becomes Robin, based on some ritual he came across in Alaska as part of his training. There are two ways to view this. One is that Bruce is rather crazy for seeing the masks as a different person due to the ritual involving masks and gods that he came across. On the other hand it does help get you focused mentally, like a performer about to go on stage and getting him or herself into character. It also can help not accidentally spitting out someone’s secret identity. You wouldn’t want to accidentally be called “Drake” in front of the Joker, right Tim? Yes, I’m kind of salty tonight.

Chapter seven has three segments in it despite being only a few pages long, confusing me as to just how O’Neil approached chapters. The first gives us the unnecessary history of the cook just to tell us that Jeremiah Arkham was pro-torture but also wanted his inmates to have a good meal. There are time I think the Arkham family need to stay in their own crazy house. The important detail is the cook is a friend of Bird’s and slipping a note into the meal…probably to let them know the breakout is about to happen. Arkham Asylum is part insane asylum and part prison. It’s the kind of place that only exists in Gotham City. Lucky for us.

In the next segment we get more of how Batman and Jim operate, with a special code to arrange a quick meeting with Batman. I guess the Bat-Signal isn’t always an option. We also see more ways Bruce covers up his Batman activities and boosts his alter ego’s reputation as generally incompetent. (Hey, the narrator uses “incompetent”, not me.) Not surprisingly the six new hookers are also dead. You’d think at some point the pimps would realize they’re losing their meal tickets no matter how much they’re getting paid now. Pimps are generally horrible people but even when you treat someone as just a business resource, you protect your business resources. What gets me is that the narrator also says Batman is confused by this being brought up because he doesn’t usually handle “normal” street crime. I refer you back to the image above. This is when Batman realizes that there’s a connection to the masked character, which makes sense it would take this long.

Apparently this is also part of Bane’s strategy, in hopes that tying this to Batman will make the more corrupt cops, the more liberal types who don’t like his vigilante style, and the ones whose egos are bruised by Batman’s successes, will not be ready to help. Gotham City is kind of a mess really. Bird has to tell Bane that indeed the pimps aren’t supplying him with any more girls, and he’s ready to accuse Bird of defying him until he gets a hit of Venom and Bird goes back to being the dutiful servant. So he forgives him. Bane is not well. I can see why he wants this city because it’s not well either.

And here seem to be a good place to stop for this installment. How many chapters will we need next time? Drop in and find out.


About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

One response »

  1. […] we’re doing two chapters, which still beats three chapters last time, where we mostly just brought Tim in, showed more of Batman’s arrangements with Commissioner […]


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