Batman Nightfall: Volume 1 – Doug Mench

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You remember that time Superman died for a bit back in the nineties? Turns out that soon after, Batman broke his spine, and Batman: Knightfall explains how that injury came about.

Bane is a genius muscleman raised in a prison, and perhaps it’s that detachment from the mainstream cultural mileau that explains his decision to dress like a roided up luchador. His intensity and isolation could also explain why he’s so fixated on ‘breaking’ the Batman – the official reason is that he had nightmares about bats as a child. And yes, this Bane inspired the character with the same name in The Dark Knight Rises.

Bane’s plan to wear down Batman by freeing all the villains from Arkham Asylum, and attack Batman shortly before his inevitable breakdown. The great thing about this scheme is that it allows the writers to showcase iconic Batman baddies like The Made Hatter, The Riddler, The Scarecrow and the Joker, the last two of which even team up.

Batman’s replacement, a blonde assassin brainwashed by monks, proves too radical even for his mentor’s taste. But what he does with the batmantle will be covered in the next book, which I really need to read.