I don't know whether to laugh or throw a book away when epilogue chapters, such as Peter J. Tomasi and Scot Eaton's "Forever Evil Aftermath: Batman Vs. Bane" #1 manage to beat the final chapter of the main story to the new comic stands. While issues like this have the potential to be just another throwaway, there's an equal potential to overcome the hurdle of the vast number of tie-in issues already released.
While I normally find Tomasi's work entertaining, I've been rather underwhelmed by the Bane-fueled tie-ins to "Forever Evil." His work on those books has felt measured and almost dictated, as though he's trying to hit key points along the way instead of reaching for a story that engages the reader more. Such is the case with "Forever Evil Aftermath: Batman Vs. Bane" #1. Tomasi opens and closes the issue with James Gordon, which helps the reader in getting a temperature reading for Gotham City, but doesn't endeavor to make this comic anything extraordinary. This is simply another matchup between Batman and Bane with Gotham hanging in the balance. Tomasi fills Batman with rage, which carries him through the fight, but leaves the story with little to celebrate. This conclusion may not have been openly telegraphed at the beginning of "Forever Evil: Arkham War" #1, but it isn't packed with surprises.
As dictated by the story, Travis Lanham's lettering of the word balloons is solid, if not overly dynamic, but the sound effects border on uninspired and occasionally obscure the already-dense and sometimes understated narrative of Scot Eaton's artwork. The artwork can be at least partially attributed to the pair of inkers, but most of the burden rests on Eaton, who makes some odd choices, including a spread where the gutter spaces across the page are just off enough to affect the reader's ability to follow the action. Furthermore, some of Batman's attacks are depicted midway through, with no initiation and less apparent conclusion. That's not to say Eaton's work is terrible. His figures are solid and recognizable and he delivers some stunning larger scale (full-page and two-thirds page) images, it just all appears rushed. Too bad the main series won't conclude for at least another couple weeks. Eaton could have had a little more time and polished the artwork on "Forever Evil Aftermath: Batman Vs. Bane" #1 to a more stunning level.
As with the initial issue of "Forever Evil: Arkham War," there just isn't enough here for me to sink my teeth in to. Batman is fighting Bane again, only this time in a one-shot, so the tension is deflated almost immediately. Bane, like Doomsday for Superman, was once the ultimate foe for Batman. Now, he's just another nutjob with a different gimmick on a rotation to engage in fisticuffs with the Dark Knight. At least I know I can find memorable Batman tales from Tomasi in "Batman and Robin" each month to help balance out the forgettable adventure presented here.