Weekend Binge: Batman: Knightfall is the Ultimate Comeback Story

Some comedian e book storylines are memorable for a single occasion. Sometimes a personality dies, different occasions a brand new character may debut. Sometimes it’s the passing of a torch that sticks in readers’ recollections. But for this week’s Weekend Binge, we’re a Batman basic that options all of that and a lot extra! Bane! Azrael! The Batman rogues each previous and new! It’s the timeless saga that’s influenced every thing from The Dark Knight Rises to Harley Quinn, and for good cause. This weekend is the good time to expertise Batman: Knightfall!

The Premise:

The set-up, good in its simplicity, is this: Arkham Asylum has been destroyed and Gotham’s super-villains have run rampant all through the metropolis. Only Batman and Robin stand an opportunity in bringing them down earlier than their reign of terror proves an excessive amount of for the metropolis to deal with, however behind all of it lies the query of who is chargeable for the breakout. The reply proves to be Bane, a grasp tactician with tremendous power because of the steroidal compound referred to as Venom. Carefully observing Batman’s pursuit of Gotham’s many criminals, Bane waits in hiding as the Dark Knight is run by means of the wringer, completely burning himself out. Finally, when Batman’s at his most weak, he strikes, totally destroying Gotham’s protector.

But the story doesn’t finish there. After Bane bests Batman in brutal fight, a successor have to be chosen to save lots of the metropolis from the strongman’s wrath. Enter Jean-Paul Valley, a.ok.a. Azrael the Avenging Angel. Found by Batman after studying he was an heir of the mantle of Azrael from the Order of St. Dumas, a spiritual sect that stems from the Knights Templar, Jean-Paul masquerades as Batman and works with Robin in bringing Gotham again to order. However, Paul grows too connected to the position and turns into violent, abusive and overtly aggressive. As he falls additional right into a demonic pastiche of what the Batman is speculated to be, he rejects Robin’s assist and pursues Bane on his personal, an motion the now-paralyzed Bruce Wayne strictly forbade him from taking.

Let’s Talk Talent:

This story, which initially performed out throughout quite a few Bat-titles, couldn’t be as action-packed and thrilling because it is with out the megastars who had been engaged on the Batman books at the time. In the pages of Batman, Doug Moench penned Bruce’s creeping fatigue because it bloodily builds to a painful conclusion. Classic DC artist Jim Aparo showcases his stellar design work on the basic rogues, whereas Shadow of the Bat artist Norm Breyfogle gives visitor pencils in Batman’s clashes with the Mad Hatter and the fearsome Amygdala.

In the Detective Comics chapters, the basic workforce of Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan proceed portraying Bruce’s deteriorating situation, blended with Robin’s solo investigations and Jean Paul’s ferocious assaults on Bane’s males and the Gotham mobs. Other visitor pencillers embody Catwoman artist Jim Balent brandishing a stunning high-rise battle between Bane and Killer Croc, and Bret Blevins pitting Jean-Paul in opposition to the Scarecrow in a trippy and horror-tinged three-parter.

A Few Reasons to Read:

  • One may promote this storyline solely as the introduction of Bane, who instantly turned a top-tier Batman villain. More than only a scary trying bodybuilder, Bane’s calculating nature and eager mind made him one among Batman’s most formidable foes, and his presence loomed massive over Gotham regardless of the sheer variety of infamous criminals out on the free. The battle between Bane and Bruce Wayne is nothing in need of a beatdown, and the fights between Bane and Azrael are completely gripping.
     
  • Seeing Bruce Wayne at his psychological and bodily limits is one thing to behold. Often a Batman journey assessments his mettle in a number of methods, however with this story, there’s at all times the relentless query of what’s subsequent. Can Bruce predict the subsequent crime in time? Is he as much as going through these villains with out stopping to relaxation? If he’s the just one Gotham can depend on to save lots of the day, how lengthy can he final when he’s past exhausted even earlier than his assembly with Bane? For followers who admire the Dark Knight’s human struggles, this is important studying.

  • Jane-Paul Valley is a terrific character and seeing him sucked into the position of Batman is in some ways horrifying. He means nicely and tries to not let the mantle down, however his lack of compassion and refusal to decide to the artwork of detection works in opposition to the good he needs to do for the metropolis. Furthermore, his rejection of Robin simply makes you wish to see him go up in opposition to Bane all the sooner, for the pure catharsis of really seeing how good of a Batman he will be.
     
  • Speaking of Robin, this is early in the profession of Tim Drake and he has loads of moments to shine. From being caught in the center of a Bane/Croc battle to going up in opposition to the Riddler on his personal, every thing that makes Tim Drake one among DC’s biggest characters is on full show. It was throughout this time that he was given his personal ongoing sequence, which ran for over fifteen years.

Why It’s Worth Your Time:

Understanding what Batman can do finest is a realization one can solely make when he’s at his worst. Additionally, with the introduction of a brand new villain and the succession of his mantle by a violent usurper, this story makes the case that solely Bruce Wayne will be Batman. (The indisputable fact that this is debatable simply makes studying it extra invaluable—it’ll both persuade you it’s true, or help you sharpen your argument that it’s not.)

Knightfall is a grand saga, filled with motion and suspense, and is a longtime basic for a cause. If you haven’t but learn it, it’s time you alter that, and there’s no higher time than now as we make our technique to this 12 months’s Batman Day.

Batman: Knightfall by Doug Moench, Chuck Dixon, Jim Aparo, Graham Nolan, Norm Breyfogle, Jim Balent, Bret Blevins and extra will be learn in full on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE. It’s additionally accessible as a sequence of omnibus graphic novels at your native comedian store, bookstore or library.

Donovan Morgan Grant writes about comics, graphic novels and superhero historical past for DCComics.com. Follow him on Twitter at @donoDMG1.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed on this function are solely these of Donovan Morgan Grant and don’t essentially replicate these of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.

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