Batman: Knightfall (Part One: Broken Bat) by Doug Moench

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“A community cowers behind locked doors. I have created darkness that chills their very souls. I have made a city injured to its own horrors know fear. Can you feel it? And it has only just begun.”

— Chuck Dixon, Batman: Knightfall (Part 1: Broken Bat)

    If you’ve seen The Dark Knight Rises, then know that what you see here is one of the many comics that inspired some of the great scenes that Christopher Nolan translated onto the big screen. As much as this volume is known as an absolute classic in Batman’s universe, it however struggles to survive the test of time. Published in the 90s, written by both Chuck Dixon and Doug Moench, illustrated by Jim Aparo, Jim Balent, Norm Breyfogle and Graham Nolan, Knightfall is only the first part of a trilogy, and essentially the most memorable story arc. The great writers behind this volume introduces readers to Bane and his ultimate plan to take control of Gotham by first getting rid of the one and only Batman. While Bane manipulates the whole orchestra and devises a painful and exhausting trial for Batman, the story essentially leads to the one and only highlight hinted in the title of the volume. Is Bane’s plan truly flawless? Will he be able to take down the Dark Knight? The crusader that no other villain has yet been able to put an end to?

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    Bane makes sure to drain out every single inch of energy of his target before he gets his own hands dirty. If that isn’t cruel, I don’t know what it; that’s a lie, I can think of a billion things that are quite sadistic, mind you. Essentially, the story really begins when we find out that Bane plans on making a giant hole in Arkham Asylum in order to unleash every criminal that Batman had put behind bars to this date. Talk about a nasty leakage to your favorite aquarium. If having a vast and notorious cast of villains running freely and cooking up their own personal flavor of a plan to bring down the Bats isn’t something to worry about, you’re wrong. The whole volume showcases countless villains, whether its the Film Freak, the Mad Hatter or the Joker himself. You’ll quickly realize that each one of them will make sure to drain a little something out of the Caped Crusader before the grand finale. Repetitive in nature, the story can easily bore a person that sees this as a déjà vu of Batman bringing down villains once again. Knightfall isn’t exactly about digging deep into the villain’s psyches and discovering a goldmine in their personalities, something that would blow the minds of fans. Knightfall is about putting Batman to the test without ever giving him the chance to breathe. It’s a story that creates the perfect nightmare for the Caped Crusader. The one scenario where Batman has to deal with every crazy lunatic, one after the other, instead of being able to stand on his gargoyles preying on a villain who’s looking for a high.

    The artwork is a throwback to the era of comics right before the more accustomed modern artwork we see nowadays. I honestly didn’t find it disturbing or lackluster, I actually swallowed it up fairly easily and was able to just enjoy the story afoot. I thought the characters were pretty well penciled and were done justice in the aesthetic department. Of course, with the plot direction that Knightfall has, the artists had a lot of things to work with. Every single villain had their own moments to shine and their main traits portrayed through the simple evil schemes they concocted. It was quite the fun to see them try and find ways to take down Batman. In all honesty, I didn’t however feel like the artwork pulled me into feeling feelings; gosh, that made my brain fart. The only time that that the story actually had me captivated and intrigued is in the final act, the final chapter. Even though I knew where it was going, the execution was much more shocking and powerful than the rest of the story. Throughout the volume, you do see Batman realizing the plan little by little, while seeing how much its killing him. But the final chapter felt like the last straw. It felt like you could actually see that Bane’s brains did an extremely heavy damage to the Dark Knight, but that the nail on the coffin would come from his brawn’s.

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    The best part of this volume is obviously the last chapter. The writing became lyrical and focal to the panels that were building up to the famous scene. A lot of the stories presented before the main event could’ve been cut out just to avoid feeling the repetition in plot. Although the plot could be seen as Batman climbing a tower and being challenged by a different villain until he reached the top for the big bad boss, Robin’s adventures on the side helped bring change and add subplots. Even Killer Croc had his own agenda, one that you don’t exactly expect from the savage creature. The first part in the trilogy remains a classic in Batman’s universe, but one that doesn’t exactly have the same weight as other masterpieces. This is the volume where you meet with Bane and where you are shown what his motives and way of villainy are. Although the focus is around the downfall of Batman and the rise of Bane, you also get glimpses of another important character, Jean-Paul Valley. His role becomes a lot bigger in part 2 and 3, but his appearance sure can intrigue some of the connoisseurs of Batman’s universe. Any hardcore fan should go through at least Knightfall. It’s always nice to see a Bane that isn’t a growl-only slave of Poison Ivy. Am I right?

Did you read Batman: Knightfall (Part One: Broken Bat) yet? What did you think about it?

You haven’t read it, you say?

How about you read this trade paperback for yourself!

You can purchase a copy of the novel @Amazon / Indigo !

Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comment section below, as well as like and follow us so we can get you guys more reviews to enjoy!

MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★☆/

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 11.24.49 PM

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15 thoughts on “Batman: Knightfall (Part One: Broken Bat) by Doug Moench

  1. dreager1 says:

    I have never read the full comic and have just read bits and pieces here and there. It’s definitely an iconic adventure that looks like a blast! Bane certainly is very cruel and his strategy really was intense. Batman had no shot after such a gauntlet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      For real. The plan is quite intense. Relying on villains to drain the Batman without messing up/killing him before Bane does is a big risk. But Bane made it seem so calculated. A mastermind criminal with the raw muscles to back it all up is quite dangerous indeed. It’s quite fun to see what happens in part 2 and 3 too, but they aren’t that great though. A summary of each can do a lot for people who wish not touch those volumes. xD

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      You should definitely check it out for the sake of Bane. But it isn’t the most pressing thing to do. Hopefully, you get lucky and get your hands on a bargain deal copy or something that won’t cost you much (or zilch)! 😛

      – Lashaan

      Like

  2. kimmiegg says:

    I’ll be honest, though I’ve watched every single batman movie, I’ve never read the comics! I’ve never even really thought to, but I will have definitely have to check this out. Thanks for the post Lashaan, it’s reminded me that there is a wide array of books out there I just haven’t discovered!

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Oh yes. I’ve only plunged into comics about an year ago with Trang. The medium is absolutely astonishing. It might seem geeky or maybe even kiddish, but trust me on this. Comics are a whole another level of storytelling. It can stun you with its beauty or its stories. I’m 100% sure that there is at least one comic out there that will get you hooked forever! Glad this review had you realize that there’s something out there that you have to go try out some day! 😛

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Chris Evans says:

    I’ve always loved the Knightfall saga and tend to revisit every couple of years or so, sure it’s not the solid masterpiece that Frank Miller’s Year One or Dark Knight Returns are but a really good 90s comic book saga (and books two and three up the ante quite a bit as Jean-Paul Valley becomes more and more unstable). Another great review my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Thank you man! Indeed it is. I had to go through it a 2nd time before writing up the review, just to refresh my memory, and I do have to say that a lot does happen throughout the first part and it’s definitely fun to revisit here and then. Jean-Paul Valley and the evolution of his costume as the new crusader is also quite exciting to see, but the plot and Azrael could’ve used more interesting material.

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chris Evans says:

        Yeah, I need to check out some of the older Azrael stuff to get a bit more of his back story. Have you read the Death/Reign of the Supermen/Return of Superman saga? It happened around the same time as Knightfall and although a little dated is worth checking out.

        Liked by 1 person

        • transhaan says:

          I got my hands on some Azrael stuff, except Sword of Azrael (probably the one that needs to be read), and they were.. ”meh”. He’s definitely a fascinating character though. I’ll definitely check those out. I haven’t read much of Superman, cause I basically only read paperbacks/comic issues and my focus usually goes more often on Batman than Superman. I do have a bunch of classic Superman story arcs that I need to get my hands on though. I’ll try and check those out before Justice League just so I can know how the Death and Rise of Superman truly went down in the comics. Thanks for the recommendations!

          – Lashaan

          Liked by 1 person

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