Chapter By Chapter (usually) features me reading one chapter of the selected book at a time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.

The 19th chapter is very long and 18 very short. So I decided that since these are the last two chapters of part 1 and the actual Knightfall portion of the arc I’d go ahead and read both anyway so we can get on to the next part. That means we’re about to see the defining event of the arc, the breaking of Batman’s back. Right now he’s in bad shape after last chapter’s run-in with the Joker.

It’s kind of strange to think that Bane was never intentioned to be the villain of this storyline. He was created just for it, and yet he’s not overall important. This could have been any of Batman’s rogues, or just an accident while saving lives. And yet they created a character to do something major in Batman’s life and then virtually not matter to it. I’m also not sure that Bruce ever got payback since we’ll see Jean Paul is the one to go after him. Frankly it feels like they underused the villain. However, I’ve got a lot of reading to do so let’s get to it.

Chapter 18 is a bit of downtime, the calm before the storm. Tim has a date with Ariana, his girlfriend around this time. For some reason Alfred gets her name wrong…as Adrian. While I don’t want to give the usual suspects any fuel for making Tim bi when it’s clearly Alfred not knowing her name since this is Tim’s first date with her (and all we really see is her walking her to her door and the awkward good-bye not wanting to push things) in light of what’s happened to Tim Drake as of this writing it feels weird. Meanwhile Bane is sure Bruce is Batman based on guesswork and he and the gang take a limo tour of the city. Of interest is the contrast between Bruce in the cave, in really bad shape, and Bane dreaming of the bat creature again, the “monster” he wants to tame to assume dominance. Otherwise, not much happens in this chapter though both do push Dr. Kilsolving and what she’s done for Tim’s dad. She’s sure to be important to Bruce’s recovery or otherwise this subplot feels unnecessary.

Chapter 19 is the big fight. While Jean Paul was called in to take care of a damaged Bruce he’s not aware of Bane’s arrival. Alfred fails to stop him and calls Tim. I just checked and according to Wikipedia this story was happening in the final days before Superman recovered from a case of the deaths so I guess he wasn’t available and at the time the Bat-Family was rather small and Nightwing was in New York if memory serves. (This was before he started operating out of the fictional city Bludhaven.) So they aren’t able to stop Bane from beating the daylights out of Batman and taking him away but they do follow into the city, where overhead a few stragglers of early morning he shows off his bringing Batman’s back down on his knee. We don’t get the actual break here…which I thought took place in the Batcave but I haven’t read the actual comic being adapted here.

The fight itself is 90s brutal, as Batman is no match for Bane. He’s too far gone and even pulling down the mask doesn’t “activate” Batman for Bruce. It’s well told, and credit to O’Neil for his description but it hurts as someone who grew up with Batman to see him treated like this. He stands no chance, but it’s hard to take seriously how easy it is for Bane to figure this all out. No, I don’t care that he grew up in a brutal prison and has a certain view of strength. Everything up to this point of Band figuring out Bruce’s identity, to see through the guise this easily just feels hard for me to believe given what little impact Bane actually makes in this arc after this. He’s a plot device with a dark backstory and not much else. Realizing this kind of weakens Bane as a character. He’s just a means to an end. Anything could have taken Bruce out of the picture and despite the importance given to Bane I’m just not feeling the payoff as far as the novelization goes.

Next week we start a new numbering…so kind of like modern comics. Part two: Knightquest begins with chapter 1.


About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

One response »

  1. […] Last time we ended part one with the infamous back breaking, though it didn’t happened where I heard it did. It’s rather brutal, but it is adapting a 1990s comic. This is a rather long chapter, 17 pages. I expect to have a lot to talk about here, so let’s get to reading. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s