↠´ Read ☆ Batman: Knightfall by Dennis O'Neil ☆ 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 One shouldn t make any assumptions based on the source material, however Even though Dennis O Neil wrote the book, The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics, and many of the great comic arcs themselves as well as putting in a great tenure as editor of the entire line , he notes in the afterword that comics and novels are two distinctly different pardon the redundancy for emphasis things Indeed, he offers the careful observation that form does partially follow content p 349 Since I mention three story arcs, you won t be surprised that the book is divided into three overlapping sections.
The novel format allowed O Neil 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 Then, he masterfully takes another character and evolves that good guy into something of a monster himself Both villain and good guy or, at least, anti hero see visions and are somewhat the creation of their fathers Such psychological transformation can be visualized in a few graphic scenes, but not explored deeply without sufficient prose Here, it is extremely vivid.
As if that wasn t interesting enough, there was also a brilliant consideration of vigilantism We usually think of Batman as a hero Yet, where would Batman have to go over the line in order to become the criminal which many law enforcement agencies and officers would consider him if he existed in real life To be able to explore this idea in such vivid descriptions without compromising the integrity of Bruce Wayne was quite vivid.
If that isn t enough to commend this effort, please note that this is not simply filled with action scene after action scene 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 detection and deduction than combat Indeed, Bruce Wayne becomes something of a modern Sherlock Holmes, complete with Holmes predilection for disguise Of course, it also helps that this section takes place in England.
Yet, there is also a love story knit into this tri partite story It is full of seeming betrayal and offers enough emotion to make you put down the book for a few moments If you have ever, yourself, fallen madly in love with someone, you ll understand both the promise and the danger of such a connection, such an interweaving of lives Knightfall has all of these elements and including familiar characters in the classic cast which make appearances whenever it would be logical There is little to say that wouldn t create spoilers, but I m glad this doesn t follow the comics to the letter because Knightfall is a richer experience.
I never thought any book could beat Greg Rucka s novelization of Batman No Man s Land, and though this might not, they re tied for first.
While Batman No Man s Land took on a great premise, and pushed plot, plot, plot Batman Knightfall is a bit interested in introducing the new characters from this series You think you know Bane Well if you ve just seen the Tom Hardy version, you don t know him until you ve read the chapter of his life in this book.
Just a great book, and a great way to think about Batman in a whole new way.
A Savage Fight With The Supervillain Bane Has Left Batman Virtually Crippled And Gotham City Defenseless As Bruce Wayne Begins The Long Process Of Recovery, He Realizes He Must Choose A Successor In His Role As The Dark Knight But Is His Apprentice Ready Is Gotham City Ready And What Will Happen When Wayne Returns To Reclaim Gotham City And His Role As The True Batman I m a big fan of pretty much all comic book superheroes, but Batman has a trait that no other DC or Marvel hero that I know of, anyway has he doesn t have any actual superpowers Instead of being a member of a powerful otherworldly race like Superman, or becoming endowed with superhuman abilities by accident as Spider Man did, Bruce Wayne relies on nothing than technology, intelligence, natural strength, and friends such as Robin and Alfred to fight crime Many people think of Batman stories as being light hearted, thanks to the campy Adam West television classic, but the way the bat is presented in the movies is much closer to the original comics Knightfall is sort of Batman Beyond meets The Life and Death of Superman The story is engaging, if a little light on action the writing is crisp and, content wise, the only concerns are some violence as you d expect, though it goes slightly overboard at times and small doses of profanity Fans of the Caped Crusader will most likely not be disappointed by Knightfall.
My favorite superhero as a kid has always been Batman The Dark Knight reawakened my child like admiration for the character How much of a fan am I Enough to read a novelization of a well known, iconic even, story line that I ve only read some pages of.
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 Through time, Bane has learned to become a great fighter and, with doctors analyzing from afar, introduces him to a drug called Venom , which enhances his strength to near superhuman power and with the aide of other prisoners, escape prison and emigrate towards Gotham City Not long after arriving at Gotham does he know of Batman guarding and watching.
Knightfall is also known for one of the most iconic moment in Batman lore by breaking his back on his knee.
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 However, while he heals, he hires a stand in Jean Paul Valley, a drifter who hides a very secret past, helps Bruce Wayne in the biggest way possible However, Wayne s plan backfires as Jean Paul, with each passing night, becomes and attached to the Batman persona To almost obsessive and dangerous levels.
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 Like Jean Paul, a mysterious past that soon comes back to haunt her and jeopardizes Bruce s chances of full recovery.
What else can I say other than this book entertained the shit out of me It may not be the graphic novel with this was adapted by one of the co writers, so it s close enough, for now Plus, the Knightfall comics are in three omnibuses, 600 pages each, roughly So, if no one has time for that, this is a good, fast pick me up I also liked that I got to see Tim Drake he seems to be the underrated Robin Everyone always flocks to Dick Grayson or Damian Wayne He s considered to be the best detective out of all the Robins even so than Batman You see the genesis and almost aging of Time Drake from the first page, then when you have read the last page.
Knightfall, in comic form or novel form, is an essential read for any Batman fan.
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 forget them.
this bane is cunning, strategic and utterly brilliant quietly taking over gotham s underground he lures batman in and destroys him, in body, mind and reputation will there be a happy ending The ultimate graphic novel It is essentially the best graphic novel period What I liked is that Batman is stripped of all his abilities It is proven that there can only be one Batman When Paul Valley takes over He start to develop his own updated violent version of batman He chases criminals using force and attempting to murder them Which destroys what Batman stands for On the other hand the Idea of bane breaking all the inmates at Gothom out is enough to lead Batman on a wild ride dealing with all his arch enemies I think that this is the most action packed novel you get out of batman Each issue deals with every villain batman has faced What can you ask for This is an excellent piece of art.
Note I read this novelization in conjunction with the newly released Batman Knightfall Omnibus Vol 1, the review of which you can read here.
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 As such, this novelization reads like a breeze.
It s not without issues, though 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 Many of the chapters are just bald faced info dumps without any forward story momentum or value change to speak of It s not great storytelling.
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 Whereas in the comics, each issue dealt with Batman going after one of the supervillains that had escaped from Arkham part of a larger overarching conflict , having him deal with the Joker, the Riddler, the Ventriloquist, etc.
, one at a time makes the whole piece feel disjointed and episodic A chronicle that was designed to work in comics form in 22 page bursts doesn t necessarily translate well to other media, particularly a long form novel, which has its own narrative requirements 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 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 For instance, the first section, Knightfall, is about a vengeful Bane versus a battered Batman fair enough 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 More on the problem s with Valley s characterization shortly Bruce, meanwhile, is sent off on an adventure in England to rescue his therapist Shondra Kinsolving and Jack Drake Robin s father despite the fact that, ya know, his back was recently broken Again, maybe all these concurrent plot threads worked in their original serialized presentation, but in novelistic form, it all seems so disjointed Lot of things are happening, but none of it seems as though its building toward an inevitable climax Novelizing the Knightfall trilogy was a noble creative experiment that, ultimately, doesn t cohere.
Now, all that said, the source material had some flaws in its own right, and those seeped into the text of this novel, as well 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 To be fair, this is addressed however fleetingly by Robin and or Alfred, but Bruce unceremoniously dismisses the idea on the grounds that Nightwing is his own man now Huh That s pretty thin even by comic book logic There have been plenty of instances in which Nightwing has pinch hit for Batman and certainly under circumstances as dire as these, Dick would do his part so that argument makes no sense, especially in light of the only other substitute available the brainwashed, mercurial Azrael Bruce doesn t waste so much as a second enlisting Valley into action he spends as much time considering it as he did dismissing the possibility of calling up Nightwing And the whole story is built on the premise that somebody needs to step in and deal with the supervillains running loose in Batman s stead, so in Bruce s desperation he turns to Azrael which turns out to be a catastrophic miscalculation This aspect of the story, however, isn t convincingly handled, so the entire conceptual premise rests on a rotten foundation, alas The whole house of cards comes a tumblin down under even rudimentary scrutiny.
I should also note, picking up on a thread I hinted at earlier, that some of the characterization is weak Tim Drake s Robin has never been interesting they made him way too much of a well adjusted Boy Scout after being burned by criticism that Jason Todd was an unlikable snot O Neil establishes in this book that Tim is thirteen going on fourteen, but he carries himself with the demeanor of a preternaturally confident seventeen year old no one, it seems, knew how to write for this character, cause no one really bothered to figure out who he was Jason and Damian, though far less admired by the readership than Dick and Tim, were infinitely compelling and psychologically complex Robins.
And let s discuss, as promised, O Neil s own creation, Jean Paul Valley, who transitions overnight from harmless, insecure nerd to violent, entitled jerk You don t empathize with Valley at all you re just waiting for the real Batman to come put him in his place It would ve been far interesting to present a nuanced character who simply took a different approach to being Batman that would ve allowed for a philosophical counterpoint that would ve brought thematic complexity to the saga s thesis question Is Batman with his inviolable code of ethics a 20th century anachronism in an increasingly violent world on the verge of a new millennium Alas, that question gets the short shrift an even unforgivable transgression here in the novel than it was in the comic , because at no point is empathy established with Jean Paul Pity.
Shondra Kinsolving is also a woefully underdeveloped character, and even a somewhat offensive archetype I mean, she s a literal Magical Negro view spoiler one who gets effectively lobotomized at the story s end so Bruce can miraculously return to form hide spoiler I bought this and the The Life Death of Superman novelisation around the same time And I remember really enjoying both despite their original versions being graphic novels This is a cheaper way to experience both storylines despite the lack of art both were top notch reads in my book.
The saving grace in the dearth of characterization is, I think, the portrayal of Alred and his erstwhile charge and employer s relationship Alfred has long been a favorite character of mine now set in granite since Michael Caine s performance , and he, at least, does not have a hundred different interpretations of his character to hinder his writing Alfred is as he always was steadfast, sarcastic, funny, and interested in the well being of his surrogate son s Bruce Wayne and Tim Drake than he is in the pursuit of vigilante justice Bruce compares their partnership at one point to Wooster and Jeeves, to which Alfred takes mild offense 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.
The deep flaws in the book notwithstanding, I did enjoy it, and I would recommend it to Batman fans There were moments of genuine, wicked humor that I was glad to see from Batman something I loved about the most recent film interpretations of the character , including a response to Gordon speculating that Batman is a ninja paraphrased I took a corespondence course It was either ninja or air conditioning repair, and since I already had a black suit And Bane, at least, was a fairly interesting though again not as well developed as he could have been villain Unlike that horrifying version of him in the equally horrifying Batman Robin film I look forward to seeing what is done with him in The Dark Knight Rises