Thursday, February 9, 2012

Let's Read Batman: Knightfall!: Prelude + Part One!

Hey you bums, Christopher Nolan's epic Dark Knight Rises will hoarsely scream onto our screens later this year, so it's time for us all to get off our lazy asses and do some prep work! If you didn't know, pumped up Mexican wrestler Bane is one of the biggest villains in the upcoming film, so you and I are going to have to delve back into his comic history and learn some serious shit about him. And what's more we're going to learn this shit from a book! Together! It will be wonderful!

Bane's most famous storyline is Knightfall (1993) in which he eventually snapped Batman's stupid spine like a dried up twig. And luckily for us, I recently acquired a copy of it. So let's read this thing and find out what it's all about - but we'll take it slow because this is pretty heavy stuff. So today we'll just look at the Prelude, and Part One.

So join me after the jump and let's do this shit! I will tell you one thing for free in advance though. Knightfall is super homo-erotic:

Quickly! Click the link to read more!

Yes, so that was an image of Paul Jean Valley (aka Azreal, Batman's rival/successor) getting a haircut from Robin. We join them mid-haircut so all we know is that things in their relationship are "getting pretty tense" and we can assume that Paul has asked Robin to give him a "Prince Adam". And he's still wearing those filthy socks that he won't take off for sex. I like how Paul is all, "Just STFU Robin and trim my locks! I gotta' do some push-ups!" Robin is such a little bitch. It's a bewildering scene because both of these characters have secret identities, so it's not like they couldn't go to a salon.

(Also, notice how I have photographed the relevant panels straight out of the book? I have done this so you will feel like you're curled up next to me).

Anyway, the prelude to Knightfall isn't too much about Robin cutting Paul's hair, just about 30 - 35% about that. It's actually about aforementioned steroid abuser Bane, who has a serious mad-on for Batman (for reasons unknown) and he's plotting an elaborate scheme to ominously "break" him. It's so ominous that he steals a huge cache of weapons from the military by scaring them with a toy robot! I really should have shown you one of those panels, but instead all I've got are these...

Anyone know a counsellor for these guys? And check out Robin's hair! I'll bet you anything that Paul Jean Valley is responsible for that one!

(And did you notice Robin is wearing a black armband to mourn the death of Superman?! His corpse wasn't even cold and DC was already milking a new big event that would disable their other main character!)

Anyway, Bane uses a bazooka - and a falcon carrying a balloon full of nitro - to blow a whole in Gotham's most notorious prison which happens to house all the famous, big name murderers and crazies! He unleashes the likes of the Joker, Two-Face, the Riddler, the cough-Ventriloquist-cough, coughcough- Film Freak - coughcough. You know, all the big names. And then he showers them with machineguns so that they can run amok and shoot everybody. Cops, guards, you name it, everyone is totally eating shit. 

Bane's pretty pleased but he's keeping far away from the action. He has three henchman, one of which has a big blonde mullet and looks after the falcon. And then a neanderthal guy called Trogg, and some gaunt Zombie dick. Bane makes no contact with the escapees at all, he just wants them to cause chaos so that he can soften up the bat and then BREAK HIM. For some reason.

So, you know I do actually think that Christopher Nolan is going to be really drawing from some of this stuff, because we've already seen that there's going to be some sort of prison break, plus it looks like Bane has been loading up on weapons. He's also said that the movie Bane is a dirty fighter who breaks and crushes bones, and from what I've read so far that's also comic Bane's M.O. But don't expect to see too much of that at this stage.

Batman finally gets involved and goes into the prison and saves the warden or someone who the Joker has rigged to a shotgun. Batman solves this pretty easily but the Joker and all the criminals get away. Apparently Batman is a bit off his game because he's also suffering from some sort of illness which they don't reveal either. So I'm going to guess "irritable bowel". Whatever it is, he's clearly suffering, and the emotion of all the dead cops and escaped crooks is really getting under his cowl.

There's this super weird moment on the last panel of the prelude where Batman just suddenly starts crying or something?!...

He says, "NYAAAHAAAHRRRR!" and I honestly don't know if he's crying, cramping, or masturbating. He's losing it though. We'd better keep an eye on him.

Anyway, that's our introduction to Knightfall proper and now, in Part One, the ailing Batman has to start taking down the escaped criminals one by one. They wanted this series to be a big-seller, right? So right off the bat (guffaw) they go with one of the big guns. Can you guess who?

Yes! The Mad Hatter! Hat related crimes are on the rise and Batman's not going to stand for this shit. Robin is clearly freaked out by it too. Batman is actually anti-hat because they won't fit over his pointy ears. So it's high stakes adventures as Batman races to stop a short fat man who is obsessed with Alice in Wonderland.

But wait! What's Bane doing during all this?

Just chillin'! Bane mostly watches TV at home. Seriously, this is a 12 part series and he's not really needed until the very end.

So meanwhile the Mad Hatter is stealing a lot of hats so he can use them to brainwash some dudes to be his slaves. He is helped by a monkey. Have you ever wanted to see a monkey make love to a stack of hats?

Now you have!

But this tea party is quickly broken up by Batman who, after spending a lot of time with Robin and Paul, is feeling a little homoerotic his bad self...


Yeah, the costume's a little dated, but don't worry. Batman manages to keep his dignity:

Batman's a scientist and a detective, so luckily he manages to beat the Mad Hatter by punching him in the face. "What's the plan, Batman?" "Well, Robin, see that short, mentally ill guy? I'm going to fucking punch him right in his face. That ought to solve things. Yep! Look at that bitch go down!" You can't mind control someone when your nose has been pushed into your brain. That's for sure!

Batman's victorious, the monkey is in the background going apeshit, and there are still a lot more villains to face!

(Okay, I sort of lied about Bane. He does manage to headbutt Film Freak to death in this issue too, but honestly guys, who cares about him!)

And that's just part one folks! There's still eleven parts to go! AND THEN WE'RE ONTO BOOK TWO! Which is another 12 or so parts. WE'RE GOING TO LEARN SO MUCH GOOD STUFF! Christopher Nolan won't know what hit him!

Catch you soon for parts two and three...


  1. Did you get Knights End too? It's part 3...

    Fucking punch the mentally ill guy right in the face! Love it!! :D

    The artwork really is terribly dated in this book. The story is cool but that 1993 artwork and printing, comics have come a long way....

  2. No! Didn't know there was a third book! Will try to find it!

    I think colouring has certainly got prettier, but dialogue for many current books is stilk about the same. And art is always variable. I do like the premise of Knightfall, but yeah it's nowhere near as good as I remember.

  3. I have no clue what is going on here at all and have so many questions. Who is the "Gotcha" guy in the last panel? Was Robin's hair always so sweet? Is the Mad Hatter actually a character, or did you photoshop him in?

  4. Okay, I will happily answer any and all questions on any of these posts if it helps enrich the reading experience.

    1)I think Robin is actually saying, "Gotcha!" to Batman because he is all streetwise and shit, but the guy you're referring to in the background is one of the slave dudes that the Mad Hatter is mind-controlling. You can tell this because he is wearing a hat.

    2) I think Robin's hair was always pretty sweet, but in 1993 he really found the sweet spot.

    3) Mad Hatter is absolutely a character. I promise I will never photoshop these panels and will only ever reveal the absolute truth. The Mad Hatter is just one of the many, many Alice in Wonderland themed villains that Batman must punch in the face.

  5. Wow J you don't know the Mad Hatter? He's pretty ridiculous but he DOES have a touching origin episode in the Batman animated series...He also shows up in Lego Batman and Arkham City....he's more dangerous as a henchman to a more clever villain than by himself, since most of his "crimes" involve trying to woo little blonde girls...but his mind-control tech is pretty sweet!

  6. Oh and Yeah Luke! This story is MASSIVE...went for a long time through all major batman titles...

    But yeah I think you're right it's mainly the colouring more than anything that dates it. The dialogue and pencilling are more immature and cartoonish than I recall, but then I WAS only 15 or 16...

  7. Mad Hatter's sequences in Arkham City are awesome. A great way to handle the character.

    And Stryder, yeah, there's something odd about the pencilling particularly in my mind. It makes you understand why Image was so successful because that stuff looked so tight and fresh back then and this DC stuff looks kind of lame and old school. Knightfall was around the time that Jim Lee was finishing up on X-Men and I still think that X-Men stuff looks fantastic.

  8. I agree Jim Lee's X-Men run, especially from about uncanny x-men 275 until the "new" x-men comic came out, was stellar...

  9. No arguments there. I think it was Lee's best work, and he was a perfect fit. He drew X-Men like nobody else.