Comics Corner Issue #9
Welcome back one and all to Comics Corner you’re high powered magnifying glass, over the world of ink and panels. Last time we met we concluded the second act of the classic Batman Knight Saga. This week we reach it’s dramatic climax with the third and final part, Knights End.
July 1994 – August 1994
Writers: Doug Moench, Alan Grant, Chuck Dixon, Dennis O’Neil
Artists: Mike Manley, Bret Blevins, Graham Nolan, Ron Wagner, Tom Grummet, Jim Balent, Josef Rubenstein, Barry Kitson
Bruce Wayne who had previously been broken by Bane (literally) has now come full circle. Having recovered and with his body back in working order Bruce looks to right the wrongs committed in his absence. Whilst out of action Bruce handed the mantle of the Bat to Jean Paul Valley aka Azrael, an assassin trained from birth to serve the order of St Dumas. Previously Valley and the order of St Dumas had been somewhat of a mystery, but in Knightsend the roots of both are exposed a little more.
Previously Valley had gone off the rails in a series of mindless, savage attacks and although he is still overtaken with blood lust his actions have a direct purpose. Still ravaged by visions Valley curbs his torments and steers his turmoil towards a man known as Lehah, the man who killed his father. However Valley’s crusade plays out as a second string in comparison to the meat on top of Knightsend’s bones. The arc’s main focus is on Bruce Waynes return, although physically fit his dexterity, sensory reflexes and fighting skills are no longer up to scratch. To get him back to where he once was, Wayne has enlisted the help of a mysterious figure by the name of Shiva. She is a deadly assassin who pushes Bruce to his very limits, by slaying a well versed master and laying the blame at his door, Shiva has laid down a gauntlet for Bruce as the masters students line up to take the OG Batman out for good.
Shiva insists that the oncoming onslaught will only stop when Bruce can break his one and only rule. To escape and prove his worth he must kill, but surely the Bat would never do that…..or would he? Bruce Wayne’s gauntlet not only pushes our hero to the very edge but it ready’s him for his biggest test, the fight to take back the mantle of the bat. This angle not only makes for pretty compelling reading but also allows for some great fight scenes over the series, with each battle Bruce gets faster, stronger and more prepared to face Jean Paul Valley. When the two incarnations of Batman do face down it makes for a truly epic battle, it’s not hard to guess who comes out on top but even so it’s one hell of a fight.
I was left a little out of sorts with KnightFall but the third and final act more than makes up for it’s predesscors short-comings. The writing’s tight, focused and sharp and the build up of the story works really well. Although a long read the Knight Saga as a whole, is definetly worth investing both time and money in if your a fan of Batman. Sure it has some rough edges and in places is a little bloated but there is some use of character, plot development and plenty of entertainment to be garnered from it.
Next week we jump ship from DC to Marvel to take a look at Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s The Ultimates, so if you want to read along with us get your hands on a copy of both volumes STAT! However if your reading something else dont be afraid to let us know what is, maybe it’s something you want to recommend to both me and everyone else. Whether joining in or flying solo, whatever you are reading over the next seven days enjoy, and I shall see you here next week.