[World of Bats] Batman Book Club: Knightfall Part 2 -- Broken Bat

Welcome everyone to the World of Bats, the Batman Book Club! This week we’re going to continue the trek through the famous 90s event Knightfall.

The Dark Knight has been through the ringer trying to stop all the villains that have escaped Arkham Asylum, but when he finally confronts the man who has orchestrated it all, will Batman have anything left in him to stop Bane?

Here are the six issues:

Knightfall: Broken Bat

Batman (1940) #495
Detective Comics (1937) #662
Batman (1940) #496
Detective Comics #663
Batman (1940) #497
Detective Comics (1937) #664

Time to Read: 2019-12-30T06:00:00Z2020-01-04T06:00:00Z

Discussion Questions:

  1. We see Batman go against some heavy hitters, from Poison Ivy, to the combined team of The Scarecrow and The Joker. Which confontation did you enjoy the most?

  2. What did you think of the final, famous confrontation between Batman and Bane? Is it as good as it is hyped up to be?

  3. What is your favorite moment in these six issues?

And of course, any other thoughts, questions, and spilling of the feelings over what happens to Bruce are welcome here as well.

Thanks for coming by, and hope you enjoy the story!


Me in a “Best Robin” debate:

Batman punching Joker

I consider this story to be the final “classic” Batman tale, with Troika introducing the modern, seemingly invulnerable Batman. Still, Bruce’s ability to take as much as a beating as he does is still quite impressive. As a smart ape once said:

Okay, so I may have been reading the most recently uploaded issue of Silver Age 'Tec while making this comment…


Which confrontation did I enjoy the most?
Definitely scarecrow and joker. Although I liked Ivy’s deadfellows, I enjoyed watching Joker feeding Crane’s fear toxin.

Breaking of the Bat?
This fight was everything and more for me. This has been my first time reading Knightfall and I’m very used to Batman being near invincible that hearing his struggling thoughts, throughout, and his ultimate break is very humbling to realize that Batman is very human.

Favorite moment?
When I busted out laughing at Riddler’s dedication:


I really liked the fight with Joker. Though it was kinda anticlimactic to have Scarecrow blow up the tunnel and escape, the Jason flashbacks gave it a whole other feeling than just the routine “villain of the week” vibe.

The final confrontation with Bane feels like filler, but I think that works to the issue’s advantage. Spending part 11 of this story on a complete beatdown and breaking of the Bat gave it a lot more weight, and I feel like if they were to condense the story by cramming parts 11 and 12 into a single issue (or parts 10 and 11), Bane’s beating wouldn’t have the same effect on me.

That said, a part of me thinks that if I was reading Knightfall week to week when the issues initially came out, I would have found this issue to be annoying since it doesn’t really advance the plot, and the little bit of story progression that happens could be summarized in half the length of the issue.

As absurd as this probably sounds, my favorite moment within these six issues is when Ventriloquist shoots himself in the hand. After all of these little check-ins as he tries to find Scarface with the aid of Socko, to see him fall so deeply into his delusions was always very interesting to me.


@AlexanderKnox – I find it interesting that you consider this the last story where Batman feels vulnerable. I feel like while a lot of writers, especially in recent years have made him feel a lot more emotionally vulnerable. Scott Snyder and Tom King directly come to mind for this, for good and for ill, depending on who you ask.

And who can argue against super-intelligent gorillas?

@parasite_knight – definitely with you on Riddler. If you want to be the best villain in Gotham City, it’s all about that A E S T H E I C.

@Batman0803 – The fight with Joker is definitely a highlight. This might be a good question for the #1 Todd Fanboy himself, but I wonder if this is the first time other than maybe the last issue or so of Death in the Family that we had a “Batman fights Joker while thinking about Jason’s death” moment like we see more often later on like in Hush.

I can kind of understand what you mean about the length of the breaking and how it could have further moved the plot along. On the other hand, I think similarly to how they staged the fight between Superman and Doomsday for the Death of Superman, they knew that if they were going to have this newbie come along and do something this substitive to the Bat, it has to be seen, it has to be explicit, it has to be earned.

That said, I do agree that similarly to last time we went through this, I feel like they do have some fillers in terms of how every issue everyone’s telling Batman “Yo, please take a nap, you’re starting to go coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs” and he’s like “Nah.”


I agree that Tom King has brought this side of him back recently, but for a long time (including Scott Snyder’s run), he has seemed less “emotionally vulnerable” and more “utterly paranoid,” which isn’t quite the same thing.

Nope. :stuck_out_tongue:


There’s definitely some “utterly paranoid” moments – I think paranoia is kind of ingrained into Bruce’s DNA at this point – but I can think of far more vulnerable moments like in Zero Year.

I kind of had a feeling that there had to be earlier moments of that, but I think this is the earliest one I’ve remembered reading.


He’s literally electrocution-proof in Zero Year. :stuck_out_tongue:

Eh, I’ll save my gripes on that story for when we get to it.

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To be fair, this one is certainly the first issue to be quite so explicit about it. In Batman #451, Bruce thinks about killing the Clown Prince before facing him, and the circumstances of the story don’t lend themselves to a traditional “Batman punches the Joker a lot” scenario (though Gordon nearly shoots him at one point). Then in Batman 3-D, the Joker brings up Jason to throw off Batman during a chase, but the Dark Knight refuses to let it faze him (probably because John Byrne threw in the reference more out of obligation than anything).


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


I got to agree with you guys. That “Jason Todd” meltdown was the highlight of the series’s for me. To be honest, I don’t even think the scarecrow fear gas really worked. I think it only reminded Batman of Jason, while keeping him in full cognitive control of who he was dealing with (because he immediately went to save the Mayor, without a second thought right after destroying Jokers face).

The Bane fight wasn’t bad, but I was expecting a bit more I think. It wasn’t as if I really expected Batman to win given how he had been running himself ragged since Black Mask, then spike face, then Metalhead, then the riddler, and finally the Arkham Breakouts. If anything, my entire thought on Bane evolved. After reading this, I realize between the movies (live and animated), the shows, and the games…Bane has never gotten enough credit.


So we have to pick just from the heavy hitters? I liked the confrontation with Firefly the most, really. Joker vs. Scarecrow was good, too. You would think as a PhD that Dr. Crane would know psychopaths don’t feel fear the way normal folk do.

Yes, it’s true to its epicness, although for most of his history I don’t think Bane has lived up to this moment.

Joker getting sprayed by Scarecrow, and Batman getting his back broke.


Well said pal. I know there are a few comics out there (besides Knightfall) that really flesh out Bane, but the movies really make him out to just be a muscle-bound henchman. I guess Dark Knight Rises gave him some personality, but in the end he turned out to be more like Talia’s lieutenant and not the criminal mastermind that he is.


1. We see Batman go against some heavy hitters, from Poison Ivy, to the combined team of The Scarecrow and The Joker. Which confontation did you enjoy the most?
His fight with joker hands down. It was so satisfying to see him let loose and beat the crap out of joker for what he did. Every time he screamed Jason it was like watching your favorite team score.

2. What did you think of the final, famous confrontation between Batman and Bane? Is it as good as it is hyped up to be?

The actual fighting is nothing unique in my opinion but its great because of the buildup leading to it. Also the dialog from batman as he is getting beaten. It was emotional to see him so low and at his ends, heart breaking really.

3. What is your favorite moment in these six issues?

Bat’s beating Joker is up there but I think it might be the conversation he has with Bane before the Fight starts in issue 11 at the beginning. You know this is it and its not good and you feel scared for him because Bane is a monster.


I gotta admit, it’s been a minute since I read these issues and I was just going by what was on the covers. :sweat_smile:

And yeah, I have to agree that in a lot of ways Bane really hasn’t been able to top this moment. I will say that at least unlike other characters in his vein, like Doomsday, at least he’s been able to be an interesting character in other ways, if only because, you know, he actually is a character, with personality and stuff.

The moment of Scarecrow spraying The Joker with fear gas and his…reaction is one that seems to be getting a lot of notice, and with good reason, that’s definitely a great moment.

True, but I think considering the last time he was in a movie it was “GRR. MONKEY WORK,” I think a lot of fans were thankful that he actually had more than two brain cells flopping around his skull.


I would argue that his appearances in the DCAU were pretty bad, too. And at least Jeep Swenson’s “Honey Company” Bane has the potential for so-bad-it’s-good appeal.

While it’s technically a dream, I remember him being pretty good in Over the Edge. And while it’s probably the worst of the animated movies, I remember him being the closest to the comics in Mystery of the Batwoman.

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I just wish we didn’t have to choose between “the BTAS writers hate Knightfall” Bane and Gimp Mask Bane. :stuck_out_tongue:


I actually rewatched Batman and Robin a couple days ago, and I laughed so hard when Bane would speak. I mean, the Bane in Knightfall is manipulative, evil, cunning, and of course, freakishly strong. The Bane in Batman and Robin literally walked around placing bombs whilst saying “BOMB, BOMB, BOMB” to himself every time he put one down.

So yeah, I get what you mean that the Bane in Dark Knight Rises was a rewarding experience for fans (myself included).