Continuing my recollection of favourite comics from my past leads me to another comic from when I was a teen. Batman had been a favourite for so long so when the fact that Bruce Wayne was to have his back broken came out I knew I had to read it. Having no knowledge of where to find this story due to having no availability that I knew of as a teen in the UK in the early 90’s I had to wait for the BBC to produce an audio drama which came out 2007 to read the full story. I did however discuss the story to my father who somehow managed to get me a copy of Batman 500 which I still own now.
The story set over multiple volumes brings in two new major characters into the Batman world. The violent vigilante Azrael and the scheming super intelligent super strong Bane. Bane who wants to be the strongest and defeat anyone he sees as a threat puts his sights on Batman. He releases Gotham’s in mates who Batman has to go and try and catch. Eventually Bane confronts a tired and run down Batman and defeats him breaking his back in the process. Wayne has his new apprentice Jean-Paul Valley take over the role of Batman, Jean-Paul had previously been an assassin for a religious order and as he takes on the role of the Bat he moves it into a more violent style happy to kill his opponents. He defeats Bane using his new armoured suit and then continues in the role in his own violent way.
Bruce sees he isn’t right for the role and heals himself over time eventually taking on Jean-Paul using strategy and cunning rather than a direct fist fight. He is then left to take back the cowl and repair the Batman name.
When I eventually read the comic it didn’t disappoint. The art drawn by numerous artists over the three volumes is superb. Bane comes across as this monster and is huge compared to Batman. His cunning and the use of venom made him my favourite villain within the Batman universe. He has appeared in numerous comics since as well as a brilliant re-appearance in the cartoon Batman of the Future where he is a wreck drug obsessed old man.
The film The Dark Knight Rises takes the basic story line of Knightfall with Bane breaking the Bat. I personally would love the whole arc filmed as it deserves it. The comic followed the Death of Superman arc which we have kind of seen in the new Batman v Superman film so who knows what the future holds. – Ian
Knightfall Wiki Page for all the writers and artist information.