Forever Evil: Arkham War #3 – “Das Bat!”
Written by Peter J. Tomasi with art by Scot Eaton
This review contains SPOILERS!
Forever Evil: Arkham War #3 escalates the growing crisis in Gotham City as Bane looks to strike fear into the hearts of his enemies while Scarecrow’s forces prepare for war!
Forever Evil: Arkham War #3 delivers the action in this issue. Readers finally get to see what Mr. Freeze and other Arkham villains are up to after being largely absent in the first two issues of the series. Freeze, Mad Hatter, Killer Croc, Clayface, and Poison Ivy all get more panel time as they fight back against Bane’s army. Mr. Freeze and Mad Hatter, in particular, seem to play a vital role in Scarecrow’s plans as they try to revive the Talons. Readers get to see Scarecrow’s manipulative side as he puts Croc in charge of Wayne Tower just as Bane seeks out Scarecrow for revenge. Penguin keeps playing all the sides in this war as he focuses on his own needs and influences Bane to step-up his attacks on Scarecrow. This leads to an awesome scene beneath Blackgate Penitentiary with Bane constructing his own Bat-suit to strike fear into the Arkhamites.
Killer Croc, thinking it’s his moment to shine, is in the wrong place at the wrong time when Bat-Bane crashes through the windows of Wayne Tower looking for Scarecrow. It’s a battle of the powerhouses that sees Croc tear into Bane’s flesh and Bane dole out the brutal punches. Ultimately, the physicality of Bane is too much for Croc to handle. The final image of Bat-Bane, with Killer Croc raised above his head is awesome, and one of the iconic, defining moments of this series so far. Give credit to the artist Scot Eaton for making that image echo in the reader’s mind.
Speaking of Eaton, he continues to do a great job with the artwork. In particular, the splash pages are exciting and demand the reader spend some time looking over everything. The reveal of Bane as Batman on top of a skyscraper’s gargoyle—with lightning in the background, of course—is a classic Batman pose made all the more awesome with Bane’s fist raised to the sky. Each of the villains in this issue are posed in great ways that reflect their personalities, such as Penguin sipping on a cocktail, Mad Hatter jumping on a desk, or Croc lurking out from under the sewers. Whether writer Peter J. Tomasi called for these poses in his script, or it’s Eaton behind these images is unknown. Either way, it was Eaton’s fine pencil work that sells it.
Forever Evil: Arkham War #3 is the halfway point of this miniseries and, although the story is chugging right along, it still feels like the book is a lot of set-up for what will be the final, climactic showdown. This can be seen in several scenes throughout the series with villains talking about how recent events might affect Scarecrow’s plans when they get to that point further down the road. So far, it appears they are all still in the preparation stages of this master plan. For all of the combined genius of Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Man-Bat, and Mad Hatter, they don’t appear to be very good strategists. It’s a bit disappointing considering the excellent Scarecrow #1 Villain’s Month one-shot issue showed a very cunning and conspiratorial Scarecrow who clearly knew more than he let on. Bane, on the other hand, has been busy conquering Gotham and taking out anyone unfortunate enough to run into him. He’s been unstoppable. At this point, Scarecrow’s plan seems to be to bide his time until the Talons are revived and then go after Bane. This “Arkham War” is a bit one-sided at the moment.
Forever Evil: Arkham War #3 hits all the right notes. Tomasi gives readers great dialogue between the villains and a story that never slows down. The action scenes are physical, dynamic, and always too short. Eaton’s art is kinetic and exciting, with fun splash pages and reveals that any Bat-fan will enjoy. This story is only getting bigger and better!