Batman: Knightfall, Part One: Broken Bat
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This riveting book sets Batman on a path that will change his life forever. A mass escape from Arkham Asylum and the emergence of Batman's most threatening foe, Bane, sends Gotham City spinning into chaos and takes Batman to the limits of human endurance! These volume is required reading for every Batman fan. Graphic novel format.
- Amazon Sales Rank: #7870 in Books
- Published on: 1993-09-03
- Released on: 1993-09-03
- Original language: English
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: .65" h x 6.80" w x 10.08" l, .87 pounds
- Binding: Paperback
- 272 pages
- ISBN13: 9781563891427
- Condition: New
- Notes: BRAND NEW FROM PUBLISHER! BUY WITH CONFIDENCE, Over one million books sold! 98% Positive feedback. Compare our books, prices and service to the competition. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
Broken Bat is the first of two volumes collecting Knightfall, the much-talked about Batman storyline--much talked about because it was the story in which Batman gets defeated. The huge, muscle-bound villain Bane has but one goal in mind, to break Batman. The end of this volume is somewhat shocking compared to standard, mainstream comic book continuity.
Knightfall - You'll believe a bat can break
Knightfall, and the subsequent Knightquest and Knightsend story arcs it spawned marks the first truly *epic* storyline in the Batman comic book titles. This ground-breaking and pivotal series follows Batman as he battles all of Arkham Asylum's inmates, who have been released by the drug-enhanced killer named Bane. Part one culminates with the actual breaking of the Batman, while part two has Batman passing the mantle to his new protege Jean Paul Valley.
The biggest problem with Knightfall is that the actual story begins here, but there are countless back-issues of comics and collected editions that you'll need to pick up to understand how everything got to this point. Who is Bane and what does he have against Batman? Go find 'Vengeance of Bane'. Where'd Jean Paul Valley come from? Read 'Sword of Azreal'. What's the drug called venom? Pick up 'Batman: Venom.' Why's Batman so exhausted? There's no direct answer to that one, but it starts with the death of the second Robin in 'Batman: A Death in the Family'. When did Bane beat up Killer Croc and pump the Riddler with venom? There are two individual back-issues you'll need to read to answer those questions. Even chapter 1 of this book, where Bane destroys Arkham, is not technically a part of the Knightfall saga - Knightfall actually begins with the Mad Hatter story. While it's still possible to enjoy Knightfall without reading all this supplemental history, it's not quite as satisfying without it.
Still, fans of Batman definitely need to read Knightfall. One of the interesting things DC Comics did was give fans the false impression that the changes happening were *permanant*; Batman would really be replaced for the rest of the series. It's interesting to read through this volume from that perspective - is this arc really worthy of being Batman's final adventure? Each chapter follows Batman as he recaptures an inmate, with occasional subplots to keep things interesting (Scarecrow and Joker take the mayor hostage). The writing is excellent, and so is the art (with a few chapters being done by Jim Aparo). Finally, if you haven't ever seen the actual panel where Batman is broken - stop reading. Get up. Buy this book now. Just go.
Batman: Knightfall is a good read, but if you want the full experience, track down all the extra reading I mentioned above. Otherwise you won't feel the impact of this historic Batman arc.
Knightfall: Broken Bat--a grand design but weak execution
With "Knightfall" it is not so much the grand design as it is the execution. Obviously writers Doug Moench and Chuck Dixon were trying to come up with something comparable to the death of Superman for the Dark Night. I think the sacred status of "The Return of the Dark Knight" makes it impractical to try and use the Joker for Batman's primary foe in such an attempt, so Bane plays the antagonist for "Knightfall" the ways Doomsday did for Superman. From a storytelling perspective I really like the triggering event and climax of the first half of the story. The idea of emptying Arkham Asylum as the opening gambit in a deadly game against Batman is a masterstroke. After all, one man can only do so much, and each successive victory weakens Batman. Psychologically scarring a man who has already been traumatized by his parent's murder into becoming a vigilante of the night is going to be pretty difficult, so the idea of simply breaking Batman's back also seems like an appropriate obstacle (Superman already did the coming back from the dead routine). So the set up and the payoff for part one are pretty good.
But it is the execution that most readers seem to be quibbling about. The individual comic book stories in which Batman tracks down the escapees from Arkham are not especially memorable, whereas the goal would be almost for each episode to stand on its own as well as lend itself to a geometric progression of the Batman's troubles. The exception that proves the rule would be the climax of "Die Laughing," where Batman gets a does of the Scarecrow's fear-gas, which only dredges up the Joker's killing of Robin as his greatest fear. But when Bane finally attacks Batman, having worn him down through this long series of battles with other foes, even the flashback of the chain of events does not provide a glimpse of anything more than simply piling on the wounds until Batman has nothing left. The result is functional, but not the spectacular culmination you would hope for with such an epic.
Furthermore, the artwork by pencillers Jim Aparo, Norm Breyfogle, Graham Nolan, and Jim Balent is fairly pedestrian. In terms of providing some of the atmosphere that suits Batman best, the closest would be "Night Terrors," where Aparo's pencils are enhanced by inker Tom Mandrake to good effect. But ultimately the artwork suffers in comparison to the covers and promo pages drawn by Kelly Jones. The idea of Jones having done the entire "Knightfall" saga does induce salivary secretions, but it was not to be. So basically we have a very good idea that could have been great if the execution had been better.
"Batman: Knightfall, Part One: Broken Bat" reprints the first half of the epic tale from "Batman" 491-497" and "Detective Comics" 659-663. The tale concludes in "Batman: Knightfall, Part Two: Who Rules the Night."
True heroes never quit
The character of Batman is displayed as obsessed and rightly so. Some books, like Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" portray his psychosis while others show his superhuman dedication. In "Knightfall" Batman is pushed to his absolute limits and beyond when a new villian calling himself Bane arrives in Gotham for the sole purpose of destroying Batman. Typically my response is "Get in line,pal" but this time Bane has a detailed plan that exploits Batman's weaknesses : his absolute belief that only he can save Gotham and his unwillingness to quit. Bane begins by observing the Batman in action and deciding to strip him of that which makes him the most powerful and then break him. He unleashes all the inmates of Arkham Asylum, the cage that contains all of Batmans worst foes, and watches as Batman faces challenge after challenge despite sickness or exhaustion. Then finally, when Batman is at his weakest, he confronts Bane's stoolies and then Bane himself. If you believe that Batman is just a nutcase in a mask and cape, "Knightfall" will prove you wrong.