Monday, March 18, 2013
BATMAN #495 - Late June 1993
Credits: Doug Moench (writer), Jim Aparo (penciler), Bob Wiacek (inker), Richard Starkings (letterer), Adrienne Roy (colorist)
Summary: Batman attaches himself to Firefly as he uses his wings to fly away, but is unable to capture him. Later, as Bruce Wayne, he attends a charitable function that’s interrupted by Poison Ivy. Batman avoids breathing the spores that turn the attendants into Poison Ivy’s zombies, and soon changes into costume and defeats her. Outside, Bane watches the events. He discerns by looking at Bruce Wayne that he’s truly Batman. Meanwhile, Azrael practices fighting crime solo, and Joker and Scarecrow trick a SWAT team into an explosive trap.
Irrelevant Continuity: Batman has begun using his rope gun, a device made popular by the ‘90s animated series.
Review: So, Poison Ivy makes her big move, and her plan consists of brainwashing a group of bodybuilders into becoming her “Deadfellows” and kidnapping Gotham’s elite from a fundraiser. This would’ve been lame even in an eight-pager back in the Silver Age. I would be curious to know if Ivy had been fleshed out as a character prior to the animated series, or if this is typical of any Poison Ivy story pre-Paul Dini. Because if this was all you could expect from her, she certainly deserved her status as a C-lister. And not only is Poison Ivy’s plan dull, but Moench doesn’t bother to come up with much of an ending to her fight with Batman. After knocking off her goons, Batman calls her a witch and kicks her in the face. The end. On to the next throwaway from Arkham…
In terms of the “Knightfall” crossover, the major advancement this issue is Bane’s discovery of Batman’s secret identity. And it’s just as lame as my summary of the issue might lead you to believe. Bane merely looks at Bruce Wayne, and after only meeting Batman once in a dark warehouse, instantly recognizes his secret identity. The original Vengeance of Bane one-shot went out of its way to justify Bane’s physical prowess and mental capabilities in order to sell him as a legitimate character and not a plot device. Here, he’s all plot device. I don’t want to use those two words that fans love to throw around when complaining about characters that are insanely competent and able to perform unimaginable feats, but…how else could you describe him? To his credit, Chuck Dixon seems to have a firm grasp on Bane, but Moench’s stories are just coming across as if he's bored and going through the motions.