Welcome one and all to your weekly comic book fix, Comics Corner. In this issue we’ll be looking at the halfway mark within the Batman Knight Saga.
KNIGHTQUEST – PART TWO: THE CRUSADE
October 1993 – June 1994
Writers: Chuck Dixon, Alan Grant, Doug Moench, Jo Duffy
Artists: Graham Nolan, Scott Hanna, Vince Giarrano, Mike Manley, Tom Grummet, Joe Rubenstein, Eduardo Barreto, Barry Kitson, Jim Balent, Dick Giordano, Brett Blevins, Bob Wiacek, Bob Smith, Frank McLaughlin, Ray Kryssing
So here we are with the final and longest part of “Knightquest”, stretching across 28 separate issues of “Robin”, “Catwoman”, “Shadow of the Bat”, “Batman” and “Detective Comics”. The wide spread and the heavy amount of issues in comparison to both “The Search” and “Knightfall”, made this part of the saga a little too saturated and distracted for my liking. Although the whole arc was only penned by four writers for me it seemed a little too all over the place at times. There is a significant amount of filler through these 28 issues, some of the villains such as the Trigger Twins (a pair of identical twins dressed as cowboys) were pretty pointless and strangely out of place. Other villains such as Abbatoir and Mekros were good but not given enough time to develop into something more fulfilling.
To give those not reading along with us some backstory, where part one of Knightquest was about the search for Jack Drake (Robin’s father) and Dr Shondra Kinsolving. Part two is about the man a disabled Bruce Wayne has handed the Batman mantle too, Jean Paul Valley. A man who not so long ago came to find out he has been brainwashed and trained as an assassin since birth. Prior to Part Two Valley had shown some cracks in his approach as the Batman but in part two we see him crumble to dust and begin to lose his shit big time. Violent rages, near murderous attacks, and visions involving his spiritual patriarch St Dumas and his father leave Jean Paul a danger to himself and the citizens of Gotham. On top of this spiralling disaster, Jean Paul has driven Robin away so he is left to unravel in anger all by himself.
Much like The Search, The Crusade hinges on the aspect of relationships and this is what redeems the arc’s mistakes in my opinion. The crumbling relationships Jean Paul’s Batman has with both the boy wonder and Jim Gordon adds gravitas and drama to the proceedings. But the key factor is Jean Paul’s relationship with himself, at times he fully pours his entire being into the scornful, angry, violent side to his personality. He becomes obsessed with perfection, always altering his outfit to reach deadly new lows, he becomes utterly consumed and teeters on the very edge of insanity. But when he becomes conscious of that person, the divide is vastly different. It’s this polarising of one person that draws you into keep reading through Knightquest even when it becomes distracted from its main plot.
Even if you do struggle with some points like I did it’s definetly worth pushing through, because at points the story gets incredibly dark especially at the end of the arc. It also sets itself up nicely for the third and final installment of the Knight saga, by pushing Jean Paul’s Batman to a place Bruce Wayne has always avoided. Not to mention with Bruce Wayne healed and left to undo the damage done by his substitute, Knightsend is keyed up to display an epic battle between two very different Bats.
Next week we conclude the Knight Saga and I for one cant wait to see how the story ends. After that we’re moving onto Mark Millar’s “The Ultimates”, so if you want to read along with us, those are the titles you need to acquire. On that note I shall bid you farewell fellow comic fans. Whatever you are reading over the next seven days enjoy, and I shall see you here next week for the final chapter in this legendary Batman saga.