Chuck Dixon’s adaption of the dark knight in Batman: Knightfall is arguably one of the most popular installments in the history of Batman. In volume 1 of the groundbreaking installment, we watch Batman as he faces countless, classic villains as the Arkham Asylum has been broken into leaving many of the craziest criminals free to roam the streets and torment the city of Gotham. Beings this comic was well-received by readers as well as featured many fan-favorites, I was really looking forward to reading this one and can say that I was not disappointed.
Many would say that the Knightfall series is a must read for any Batman fans due to the sheer number of events that happen and how profound some of the events are. All three Knightfall books collect a whopping amount of issues and many crossovers involving most Batman related characters in all of all DC.
Knightfall Volume 1 collects Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1, Batman#491-500, Detective Comics #659-660, Showcase ’93 #7 and 8 and Batman: Shadow of the Bat #17-18.
|Book Name||Batman: Knightfall Volume 1|
|Edition Reviewed||Collected Edition (new)|
|Writer(s)||Chuck Dixon and Various|
|Where to Buy||Amazon|
Batman: Knightfall Volume 1: Review
To start off, I have to say I was in love with the artwork of this comic. With lots of bold lines, ultra-detailed characters, and a variety of settings, this was definitely something to please for any illustration critics out there. It gives you that classic “comic art” vice and I think does a great job in getting complex action scenes across while remaining clear and never getting too busy. The only thing I will say is the cover serves as a bit of a spoiler once you realize the plot, but that just kept my anticipation high throughout the entire installment. However, if you haven’t read this one by now you probably knew this was going to happen.
If you hadn’t guessed by the cover already, it the plot opens up by introducing Bane himself. Now most of us know Bane in some way or another but it is right here in ’93 Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1 where he was introduced into the DC universe for the first time in the biggest way possible. Offering an extensive background story into the venom-addicted super villain, we learn about how he came to know and target Batman which becomes the foundation of this entire series.
The plot itself opens right up with Bane and his crew of thugs armed and targeting the Arkham Asylum. His plan goes flawlessly and soon, countless super villains are left to wreak havoc on Gotham and take a toll on the Batman himself. The break-in successfully releases The Joker, Poison Ivy, and The Riddler among others, letting readers know they are going to be in for a wild ride when it comes into action scenes. As a veteran Batman fan, I was excited to see that some of my favorite characters were going to be included in the plot as well as debuting Bane. For newer readers, I think this is a great installment to read if you are looking to get introduced to a bunch of characters all at once. This installment had a lot to offer for people looking for more new or low-key characters as well with villains like Zsasz and Firefly thrown into the chaos of it all for good measure.
These villains lead to a series of awesome fights and mini sub-plots that do not disappoint. That’s one of the biggest and best things about Nightfall Volume 1; the fights and clashes between Batman and the villains is non stop. Dixon didn’t skimp out on the writing quality when he set out the plot for every one of these fights. We see weird team-ups, many different fighting styles, and very individualized interactions. This would definitely be a plus for fans in terms of both action-packed quality content as well as cleverly-written plots. We all know that this isn’t what sets this comic apart as legendary though…
There is no mystery to readers that the entire point of all of this is to do one thing -completely tire Bruce Wayne out until Bane is able to finish it all with a little as a fight as possible. Readers are left on edge as they watch Batman helplessly fall right into his trap with every new fight and it becomes increasingly frustrating how The Batman just won’t call for help! Not even Dick Grayson makes an appearance as Gotham’s Dark Knight refuses to hurt his ego in order to get the assistance that just may have changed the course of this whole book. While I see why some critics argue that this was one of those “convenient plot points” to make the story work, I have to say that Batman’s famously stubborn nature could definitely lead to something like this and the whole “lone wolf” attitudes has lead his fair share of troubles in previous (and future) adaptions. The thing that separates this adaption from the others is just the kind of price Bruce will pay for his crime fighting ways.
Bruce returns to Wayne manor only to find Bane waiting in his home for him. Bane states how he knew the true identity of “Batman” the whole time. He even states how he believes that it is “Bruce Wayne” that is his façade and his true persona is the Batman. Batman ceremoniously sheds his bathrobe and dons his cape to engage in one of the most brutal and intense fight scenes in DC history.
The fight carries from the manor all the way into the Batcave, offering an impressive amount of scenery and incredible fight scenes throughout. Unfortunately, the last three nights of non-stop fighting have left Bruce off his game big time. Bane however, has been waiting in peak physical form and, with the help of venom, has been patiently waiting for the perfect time to strike.
Given the cover and the fact that this is such a widely known comic, I’m about to go ahead and discuss a major spoiler people may want to avoid if they don’t actually know what happens.
Now, this comic is known for Bane taking down Bruce Wayne in the sadistic way of crippling him, forcing him to hang up the cape and turn to another. In the chapter consequentially named “The Broken Bat,” we see Bane deliver one of the most messed up lines of the DC universe as he delivers the famous, crippling blow that left readers stunned back in the 90s.
“I am Bane — and I could kill you… but death would only end your agony — and silence your shame. Instead, I will simply… BREAK YOU!” With that, Bruce’s back is broken and he is left to suffer in the fact that he can no longer fight crime as Bane plans on continuing his conquest over the entire city. The first time I read this, I was left in absolute awe. Batman has always been known for getting dark and the DC universe has never been too afraid to kill off a superhero or two, but this was just a big blow to fans and certainly something that resonated with many Batman fans. With everyone’s favorited caped crusader down for the count.
While this took Wayne out of the game, this didn’t stop the legacy of Batman as Jean-Paul Valley, formerly vigilante Azrael, is left to follow in the Bat’s footsteps and continue the rest of the comic pursuing Bane as the Batman. Facing his own collection of doubts and concerns, he serves as the best possible replacement while Wayne checks out of the fighting and adds an awesome dynamic to the plot of an already complex and amazing comic.
Overall, this is certainly one of the best Batman installments to date and I would highly recommend it to any reader, a superb score of 4.8/5. This can even be a great read for enthusiasts of the Christopher Nolan films that want to give reading a try. With an awesome collection of characters and countless fight scenes, this comic has something for everyone and is a must-read for any Batman fan who hasn’t gotten around to reading it yet. This dark and heartbreaking plot will certainly take you for a ride and it serves as an awesome example of a comic where, even in the superhero universe, things can go wrong and people have limitations. I will say that the length of the whole comic is not a quick read, but there is a reason this is considered a classic and you should give it a go.
Batman: Knightfall Volume 1 Gallery
Last update on 2018-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API