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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Graphic Novels - Batman Knightfall: Part One - Broken Bat

Well, that one movie that’s destined to break the box office has finally come out. No, I haven’t seen it yet, but I plan to soon. It’s a little hard to write something down in this intro because I really don’t have much to say today. It could be that I still got that whole Colorado thing on my mind or I just really don’t know what to say (it’s probably both).  I know that I have a lot of stuff coming up school-wise, so it’s time to get this done. So here we go…Well! Maybe I did have something to say after all. 

The 90’s was full of awesome stuff and not-so-awesome stuff. This event, along with another DC event from this era that involved Superman, fits in there somewhere. I just don’t know where yet. For those who don’t know, Knightfall was a major crossover event in the Batman books during the 90’s. Without spoiling anything, it all started when some dude named Bane decided to do something to the Batman. I ended up getting Part one of this event at The Great Escape for a bargain. I read it and I’m saving my opinion for later.  The creative team for this tpb is listed below and I don’t know much about these guys except for Jim Aparo and Chuck Dixon. Well, with all of that out of the way, it’s time to start this sucka!

Batman: Knightfall Part One – Broken Bat
Writers: Doug Monech and Chuck Dixon
Pencillers: Jim Aparo, Norm Breyfogle, Graham Nolan, and Jim Balent

SYNOPSIS
We start the book with Bane and his gang (Bird aka Mulletman, Bones aka Skeletor, and Trogg aka Grumpy) as they break into a warehouse and steal a lot of weapons. Bane decides to use these weapons to stage a breakout at Arkham Asylum…that place ain’t never secured. Anyway, Bane and his guys use these to get the Joker (played by Mark Hamill) free. He frees ALL of the inmates in the asylum while the other members of the gang supply the inmates with weapons from a helicopter. Joker then decides to take the head of the asylum hostage. Batman, who is already suffering from sort of sickness, heads out without Robin (Tim Drake) to stop the baddies. Unfortunately, he’s too late as Bane unleashes the hounds and the inmates escape into the night. He does save the head of the asylum though.
Maxie Zeus??? Noooooo!!!!! Anyone but him!

Most of this book pretty much deals with Batman having to chase down all of these villains while Bane just sits back and watches Batman get tired physically, mentally, and maybe even spiritually. The first villain the Dynamic Duo face is the Mad Hatter, who invites them to his little tea party. After they take care of him and his mind-controlled henchmen, the next villains he faces are the Ventriloquist and some random villain named Amygdala.  Ventriloquist is not only looking for Scarface, his puppet, he also creeps the crap out of me and makes me laugh a little bit. Eventually, Batman finds the two and delivers his brand of justice on them. Ventriloquist escapes though. Batman then has to get on the chase and stop Victor Zsasz from killing a bunch of girls at a school for women. Batman, who’s already on wit’s end, almost kills Zsasz but Renee Montoya stops from beating his head in more.
Aww...someone give the man a hug for Pete's sake!!!
While all of this was going on, Robin realizes that someone was watching them and he finds MulletMan spying on them. They fight and Mulletman escapes with Robin chasing after him. Robin trails him and he comes upon the whole gang including Bane. Unfortunately, he eventually runs into Bane and gets captured.  Bane takes Robin into the sewers and the two fights. Luckily, Killer Croc, who’s also escaped from Arkham, has a bone to pick with Bane.  Robin is able to escape and get back to the Manor. While that is happening, Joker is out and about trying to find another inmate to wreck havoc with.
Uh, Tim..don't tick off the luchador.

After a break at the Manor, Bruce suits back up and heads out to do some more buttkicking at the behest of Robin and Alfred.  After he saves Jim Gordon from getting killed by some crazed lunatic, Batman wonders when the major villains like Joker will strike. We then catch back up with the Joker. He has found his partner in crime: the Scarecrow. The two go to the mayor’s house, douse him with fear gas, and force him to make prank calls on the police.


While the mayor is “preoccupied”, Batman and Robin are after the next person on the list: a pyromaniac known as Firefly. Batman tries to face the villain at a burning amusement park, but Firefly gets away. The two head back the Manor for Bruce to rest and for Robin to see where Firefly will strike next. Through some detective work, spying, and simple question asking, he is able to find out the villain’s targets. He tells Batman, so Bats sets out to stop Firefly. Things don’t go exactly to plan and the villain escapes again. Bruce heads back to the Manor to rest again and prepare for a party that could get hit by a villain.

This said get-together of Gotham’s rick folk gets hit by Poison Ivy and she uses some mind-control spores to take the men. Bruce isn’t affected by the stuff but he plays along until he is at the villain hideout. He changes into costume and wins the day. While all this is going on, The Joker and Scarecrow do another prank call. This leads the police to some hideout that blows up when they enter. After this, Batman heads to Gotham’s zoo which is Firefly’s last target. While he faces Firefly again, Robin heads to a showing of the Cassie Josie Rudolpho (Wow…Say that 5 times) Show to get Riddler. During and after this fight, Batman realizes that Bane is the one behind all of this mayhem and now realizes he may not have enough strength to beat Bane and the rest of the escaped convicts.

After he takes care of Firefly, he heads back the Manor to get a new suit and then head back out to find Joker and Scarecrow. It turns out those two are causing mayhem…of course. They have the mayor with them as a hostage and escape into a tunnel. Batman shows up and heads in after them. He catches up with them and gets doused with Scarecrow’s fear gas. Then the real stuff goes down. Batman has memories of Jason Todd and goes psycho. He knocks out Crane and beats the crap out of the Joker. The Scary Duo brought a rocket launcher with them and Scarecrow uses it to cause the tunnel to fill up with water. Those two escape as Batman has to save the mayor and get out of the tunnel. They escape and Batman leaves to do the right thing and sit down, but he has trouble waiting for him: Mulletman, Skeletor, and Grumpy.
Yeah, I think I got those names right.

The three each take Batman on one at a time. Batman struggles to fight them but he does prevail in the end. He heads back to the Manor to rest when ‘lo and behold: BANE is there waiting for him  having figured out his identity earlier and Alfred is on the floor knocked out. Bane gives his usual “I want Gotham” speech and Bruce throws his mask back on to finally fight the villain. Unfortunately, Batman has no more energy left, so Bane beats the living snot of him. While Bane is doing his thing, Alfred wakes up and leaves to get Tim who’s at his home. Back at the fight, the two move to the Batcave and it pretty much ends there. Bane has won and decides to break Batman’s back instead of just killing him. The book ends with Batman on the floor broken.

The end!?!?!!


OPINION
Wow, I skipped a lot in that synopsis. I guess one just has to read the 13 issue tpb for themselves. So what did I think? I do think that it was a pretty good start with a pretty good ending. That doesn’t mean that it’s perfect though. First here’s the bad. The artwork is really inconsistent during this part. There are four artists on board, so that hurts a bit. Aparo’s art was wonky in some places and Breyfogyle’s art was also not my cup of tea. Batman’s ears looked like they were a foot long or something. Also, the book feels really, long. A buttload of villains show up and have parts that are not that interesting. The Riddler is one subplot that goes nowhere while Ventriloquist’s quest for Scarface is  another subplot that’s somewhat of  a bore. I guess since I really don’t have a big stake in this era of Batman, some of these things would be stale to me.

Yeah...what am I looking at? 

So what do I like aobut this part? There are a few things actually. First off, Bane is a BMS in this book. He strategizes, sits back, and just waits for the right moment where he can finish off Batman. He's probably the one of the only villains that got this close to doing this. I will say that it wasn’t a fair fight because Batman was already not at his peak before the breakout. Still,  it was tough seeing Bats get beat up like that. Heck, it was tough seeing him go through this volume without not much help and little rest. Everyone knows he’s off his game but that doesn’t stop him. Here we see Batman act brave…and act stupid. Since this is the DCU, I think I would have called a couple of more heroes in or something. When he realizes what Bane’s plan was, it’s already too late.

It was also cool to see the Joker/Scarecrow team-up as well as that beat down of a lifetime. Batman should do that more to Joker. While I griped on the art earlier, most of Aparo’s stuff is good. The last issue was probably his best in the volume. The other artwork form Balent and Nolan (…not that Nolan) was pretty good. I also thought that most of the fights were pretty cool. The fight with Zsasz was interesting. I’ve already read part two to this storyline, so there is more to the story than this. I say check it out. They've re-released this part, the next part, and the prequel to Knighfall just recently in one big trade. 

HIGHLIGHTS
And last but not least: The Highlights!!!  Other than “the Breaking” There are some things about this tpb that are cool to me:

1. The beating of the JokerFor real though, he really deserved this beating.
2. Bane vs. Robin?!?!?!? -...'Nuff Said. I do have to say that Tim handles this well.


3. Mulletman - Wow, that is the most extreme mullet I have ever seen. Bird was an okay henchman. You think Superman had a mullet? No. This thing right here is a mullet in all of its glory...and shame.

4. Bane - As I said before, Bane here was a bad man in this part. He even looks the part in a couch. I don't know if he can make it look as threatening as Darkseid does though.

5. The Ventriloquist  = “RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!” - While I harped on that villain's subplot, that character had some of the more funny/disturbing scenes here.

................................................................
Well, that took a while. I have one more post left for this event, but here is a taste of things to come...

NEXT TIME: THE NOLAN FILMS, CAN THERE REALLY ONLY BE ONE, AND WILL ARW1985 EVER END UP LOOKING AT THAT ULTIMATE X-MEN TPB??? IT'S BEEN HALF A YEAR!!




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