Curiosity Inc. wrote:
I'm intrigued by Knightfall, myself. Apparently, that's the story in which Bane is portrayed as Batman's physical and mental superior, rather than some simpleton, overmuscled thug as he's portrayed in other media.
Has anyone here actually read Knightfall? Care to comment?
The entire Knightfall epic is absolutely brilliant, in my opinion. Bane was never the dim witted thug he was portrayed as outside of DC comics, and that's never more evident than in this arc. The drug he was addicted to, Venom, that gave him his increased strength was introduced in a Legends of the Dark Knight tale (of the same name). In his early career, Batman experimented with an early version of Venom to try to improve his game. He had to go cold turkey though, after it proved highly addictive.**HERE BE SPOILERS**
In Knightfall, Bane orchestrates a mass breakout from Arkham. All of Batman's enemies are unleashed on an unsuspecting city. As planned, Batman is forced to work non-stop to try to prevent Gotham falling into absolute chaos. Even with the help of his team mates, the burden proves too much. Bane has anticipated this, and having deduced Batman's identity - lies in wait at Wayne Manor for the perfect moment to strike.
And boy does he strike!
The result of this hellish fight causes Bruce to pass on the mantle of Batman to Jean Paul Valley (Azrael) while Bruce travels the world in an attempt to recuperate both body and mind.
In his absence AzBat does a good job, to begin with. Then his previous programming by the Order of St. Dumas begins to reassert itself and hell comes to Gotham.
(For background on Jean Paul Valley/Azrael, see the excellent "Batman:Sword of Azrael")
Knightfall is collected in three oversized trade paperbacks, but sadly they exclude the year-long "The Crusade" chapters. These chronicle AzBats shenanigans as he spirals deeper into madness. "The Crusade" fits neatly between Vol.2 and Vol.3.
I guess, for the completist, you could pick up Batman: Venom, Batman: Sword of Azrael, Vengeance of Bane, Knightfall Vol.1-3 and Vengeance of Bane II: The Redemption.
Mind you, Bane's story continued long beyond even that. At present he is the main muscle in the new Secret Six ongoing series
It's worth noting that the majority of fans hated AzBat. This was DC editorial's intention though. At the time, Image comics were taking off and every other hero was turning crazy violent in response. Besides being an excellent character in his own right, the AzBat incarnation proved to fans that there was more to great enduring heroic characters than lethal weapons, kill-switch mentality and a load of pouches strapped over their body
Anyone read Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On A Serious Earth by Grant Morrison? I bought the GN as I was intrigued by the concept and the artwork, but I regretted my decision by the time I finished the book, as I can't help but feel that everyone seems a bit out-of-character.
Especially when the Joker slapped Batman's bum playfully.
Anyone else who has read it? Any thoughts?
Hmmm... I don't see anyone as being out of character in that GN. Joker plays Batman beautifully, from the very outset. He knows exactly how to push Batman's buttons and he does it with relish. Why wouldn't Joker mess with Bats in that way? He's got Arkham under his control and Batman is there under Joker's terms. Obviously the green haired nutter cannot resist getting under the Bats skin
As with pretty much all of Morrison's work, the story is metatextual. It's more than just what you read on the surface, with many layers in art and writing that are there for the finding. A great comic book study in madness in it's various forms. Symbolism and iconography are loaded into the story, and while not essential to the understanding they do make for some intriguing easter eggs.
I personally love this GN, and this fan made trailer
is simply gorgeous