Batman: Knightfall

Batman: Knightfall

by Dennis O'Neil

Is Gotham City ready?

And what will happen when Wayne returns to reclaim Gotham City and his role as the true Batman?

  • Series: Batman
  • Language: English
  • Category: Sequential Art
  • Rating: 4.04
  • Pages: 416
  • Publish Date: June 1st 1995 by Spectra Books
  • Isbn10: 0553572601
  • Isbn13: 9780553572605

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BAT-PROSE NOVEL I was real lucky to get this book when it was getting out to the market (back then in 1994) and so, getting the hardcover edition that I totally love it. Also, I had never read a prose novel with super-heroes (at that moment). I have read a lot, I mean A LOT of comic books, but a prose novel about super-hero genre was something new to me. I loved the experience and I totally recommend to anyone who is fan of super-heroes to try this novel. BREAKING THE BATMAN Bane is coming to Gotham City and he has a plan...

It's rather hard to pin down ONE characterization of Bruce Wayne/Batman. I love the Batman in the Chris Nolan films, but while I appreciate the camp of the 60s TV show, it makes me cringe and view it as 'not-really-Batman.' O'Neil, I think, in attempting to draw on all the varied interpretations of Batman there were in the mid-nineties, ended up presenting a fairly shallow character. The lack of a sense of time in the book (it seemed bare days or weeks from Bane breaking Batman to Bruce Wayne's full, miraculous recovery, when I guess it was meant to be a year or more) did not help this. Shandra Kinsolver--arguably a vital character in the Batman-got-broke situation--gets glossed over in characterization. It is his resignation that finalyl serves as a much-needed slap-upside-the-head for Bruce Wayne, though sadly the author did not resolve how it is Alfred comes back by the end of the book. Dick Grayson, and a number of other characters, were also sadly absent, Dick Grayson being the most inexplicable, since next to Alfred he's clearly established as the closest thing Batman has to genuine family, and should have been handed the cowl over Jean Paul the loony (which, as I understand it, he eventually was, together with an apology from Bruce for being an idiot, in the comics).

Fans of the Caped Crusader will most likely not be disappointed by Knightfall.

Just a great book, and a great way to think about Batman in a whole new way.

do you remember the gorilla-like bane from the really really really really bad batman and robin movie (he was poison ivy's steroid pumped bodyguard) or the wrestler gone nuts character from the animated series?

From what I got from this adaptation is that there are three separate stories going on: 1.) What Knightfall is most known for is the established introduction of the Batman villain, Bane, the son of a mercenary who abandoned him and his mother at birth, and who has served a life prison sentence in his father's place since birth. 2.) With Bruce Wayne incapacitated and left paraplegic, with what looks like a Batman career ending back injury to Alfred and the normal population, believes that he'll recover in no time. 3.) Dr. Shondra Kinsolving, a renowned doctor assigned to help Bruce Wayne with rehabilitation, who also aides Tim Drake(Robin)'s father with his rehabilitation. Knightfall, in comic form or novel form, is an essential read for any Batman fan.

I think that this is the most action packed novel you get out of batman. Each issue deals with every villain batman has faced.

I hadn't revisited this novel -- or the comics storyline upon which it is based -- since they were first released in the mid-nineties, so as I was approaching the end of Batman: Knightfall Omnibus Vol. 1, rather than wait for the next two volumes to refresh myself on how the story developed (and ultimately resolved), I pulled Dennis O'Neil's novelization off the shelf for the first time since 1994, which covers Knightfall, Knightquest, and KnightsEnd. O'Neil is a fine wordsmith, and he understands these characters and their world better than probably anyone. Given the massive amount of backstory required to understand the sprawling Knightfall saga -- which includes a selective recapitulation of Batman's hagiography, not to mention material covered in Batman: Venom, Batman: Sword of Azrael, and Batman: Vengeance of Bane -- too many of the earliest chapters of this book are weighed down in exposition, not swept along through action. In addition, this expansive epic was better served in its original serialized presentation; the story as a whole lacks a straightforward narrative unity in prose form. (Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises stands as a much better example of how Knightfall's basic conceptual premise could be reduced and reshaped to serve a cohesive, thematically focused through-line, but more on that shortly.) The lack of narrative cohesion isn't helped by the decision to collectively novelize all three parts of the trilogy: Knightfall, Knightquest, and KnightsEnd. Though O'Neil does reshuffle the sequence of events somewhat, presumably because he recognized exactly what I've pointed out here (that what works in a series of single-issue comics can't necessarily be translated verbatim into a novelized composite), there's no concealing the jarring shifts in focus from one segment to the next. But Bane is vanquished early in the second part, Knightquest, scarcely to be referenced again, and the focus then shifts to Jean-Paul Valley, a character who's barely been spotlighted up till that point. For instance: Rather than bestowing the mantle of the Bat on Valley, a temperamentally unstable assassin with whom Batman has barely established a baseline of trust, why not have Dick Grayson (Nightwing) do the honors in the interim? Alas, that question gets the short shrift (an even more unforgivable transgression here in the novel than it was in the comic), because at no point is empathy established with Jean-Paul.

Batman Knightfall is not a graphic novel. It is a novel (sans graphics) based on three story arcs which ran in monthly comic books from 1993-94. The novel format allowed ONeil to get into head of a villain like Bane and help one how he was transformed into a monster and why he was so truly obsessed with the death of Batman. One would suspect that to be the case considering some of the superhero films which have come out in the last year and the dearth of story in many of the mainline comics (DC and Marvel) being published today, but Batman is known for the Detective Comics venue and there is one particular section of this tri-partite novel that is more detection and deduction than combat.