“The Challenge”, Part One
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Graham Nolan
(Minor spoilers ahead)
Hacking, sneaking and deception plague the pages of this month’s Bane: Conquest #4. While Catwoman is busted for a secret meeting (and letter given a proposition), Bane and his group of loyal followers are also on the move. Their mission? Crack down on threatening virtual pirates. Their endeavors send them to mother Russia, cautiously trusting their nemesis up to this point, Dionysius. Here I thought Bane was supposed to be a mastermind. Anyways, by issue’s end, Dionysius betrays and Bane is reunited with Catwoman.
What is going on in this story? It’s pretty hard to figure out. I understand Bane is going after virtual criminals. Why? Because they’re dangerous, and nobody can be more dangerous than Bane. Right? Meanwhile, Catwoman’s inclusion into all of this is a bit of a mystery as well. The issue starts with her meeting up with a man named Dimitri and just a few pages later, she’s caught. It plays an important factor later in the episode because…umm…yeah!
I feel like writer Chuck Dixon is having a hard time crafting an intriguing story here. Sure, he created this beast of a character over 20 years ago, with an incredible debut, but the character in comics has since been “meh” at best. So we know Dixon has had a daunting task to get us fans to really commit to a 12-issue series. Sadly, I don’t think it’s working. Bane has been on the run. This Dionysius guy is a poor excuse for a villain. Batman has been in one issue (which was pretty entertaining). And I can’t really see where they’re going with this story.
Graham Nolan returns to the drawing board for the issue. While his panels look exactly like they always do, it still didn’t do a whole lot for me. Characters seem a bit cartoony and less detailed. Bane leans more toward the silly side than threatening. Dionysius (again this guy) is laughable. The book doesn’t look bad by any means. It’s just not selling me on it either.
Overall, a rather forgettable issue. A meandering story with no threats and a predictable betrayal. Even though the art isn’t disappointing, it’s not great enough to save the rather dull tale being told.
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment