If everyone knows it, it’s either really good or really bad.
As I believe I discussed in my Nighthawk review, reading comics is fairly new to me. When I started, I stuck to the comics my friends had gifted me, and to the true originals, trying to find the oldest comics possible for each major superhero. Knightfall was the first volume I bought for myself based on the description alone. I actually picked it based on the description of Volume 2, but I knew I had to start from the start. I was honestly surprised when I showed one of my best friends and he commented on it being a classic. I hadn’t even realized it wasn’t recent. (These comics were first released sometime in the early 1990s). When I read the description, I did see that it inspired the last Dark Knight movie, but I still wasn’t sure what I was getting into.
This will probably be a short review. This volume was good. It was also very long. It took me a view months to read. I’m not complaining, I mean, when you have a good thing, you don’t want it to end.
Basically it was split into three sections.
The first section was very intriguing. It gave a detailed origin story for the character of Bane, and how he became the ruthless man he was. Bane was ruthless and one-minded, strong and stubborn, but scarier than that, he was determined and educated. This combines into what could be an almost unstoppable adversary.
The second section was monster of the week style. After Bane shows up in Gotham, he decides the best way to defeat Batman is by releasing all his foes from Arkham and studying the way Batman reacts to all of them, which in turn both tires Batman out, and shows Bane exactly what Batman’s weaknesses are. This section was interesting at first. I loved seeing all the different villians, and getting the taste of a few familiar faces. It did get tiresome after a while. After a few battles, when Batman was really getting destroyed, I was getting impatient, waiting for Bane to make his move. During this section, Bane is barely featured at all, which was frustrating, as I was really expecting a larger role from him, based on his large introduction.
The third section details Bruce Wayne’s recovery after being “broken” by Bane, and his new focus in protecting Tim’s (Robin’s) dad. As Bruce is in a wheelchair, he lends the mantle of the Batman to Jean Paul Valley, thinking Nightwing would not be willing to take over for him. From the start, it is obvious to anyone that Jean Paul was the wrong choice to carry this responsibility. He starts in the mindset that he is better than Batman, and must prove that at any cost. It’s clear he has some issues with that. With me, not knowing much of Jean Paul’s history, it wasn’t a surprise that he went WAY too far with the power of being Batman, but I was annoyed when I found out that Bruce Wayne chose him to take over the mantle, while not knowing the full extent of brainwashing that might have taken place during Jean Paul’s time of being trained as Azrael.
In the end, although Bane is “defeated”, and Robin is satiated that Jean Paul has not gone COMPLETELY off the deep end to kill someone yet, the reader is left uneasy. By all means, the narration makes it seem like the story is wrapped up, but I was left unsatisfied that Robin could possibly think that just because Jean Paul did not murder Bane, he was someone still worthy to carry the mantle of the bat. Much of the story is still in complete limbo. No ties are ended with Batman saving Tim’s dad, and there is a sense that much more is in store with Batman and how Jean Paul treats him. It made me feel like the volume did package well, but I was ready to read Volumes 2 and 3, to see if some more ties are bound. After spending a few months completely dedicated to this volume, I’m ready to take a few weeks off, and try a different comic before starting Volume 2.
Definitely recommended to anyone that loves superheroes.