Thursday, 10 September 2015

Batman - Knightfall, Volume 3: Knightsend Review (Doug Moench, Chuck Dixon)

In the final part of the Knightfall saga, Bruce must become Batman once again and take Gotham from the hands of the power-crazed Jean-Paul Valley aka Robo-Batman! But to do so he must retrain with the help of Lady Shiva - for there can be only one!

Phew - thank god THAT’S over with! Knightfall is one of the worst Batman books ever and it’s spread over three ghastly books. It’s not a very complicated story - Bane beats Batman, Jean-Paul Valley beats Bane, Bruce beats Jean-Paul Valley - and that’s why it’s so boring to read when it’s stretched over so many pages. It doesn't help that the various writers - Doug Moench, Chuck Dixon, Jo Duffy - all produce terrible work too. 

Valley’s character motivations are bizarre - something about avenging his father all the while receiving visions from St Dumas - and being Batman is so important to him for some reason. HE WON’T SHARE ‘COS HE’S A BABY! It’s amazing it took so long for someone like Grant Morrison to come along and say “Batman Inc - a Batman in every country!” thus avoiding the ridiculous battle for the title that’s at the heart of this saga’s finale. But oh well, it’s gotta happen here because it’s the terrible ‘90s! 

I appreciate that Bruce’s struggle to get back to full health is him going through the gauntlet of Shiva’s goons - his rising mirroring his downfall, because that’s what led him to being vulnerable to Bane. And I actually liked how Bruce finally defeats Jean-Paul, not through dumb punching (though there’s plenty of that too) but in a clever visual metaphor. It still didn’t make reading the 350+ pages worth it or any less excruciatingly dull. 

It’s just so repetitive seeing Bruce exercising, then fighting Shiva’s latest assassin, then looking over the edge of a skyscraper, willing himself to jump like he used to, and then walking away. This sequence happens several times in the book. Jean-Paul is charging around Gotham pointlessly while Dick and Tim are following along, doing nothing of consequence. Catwoman’s looking for some device that was probably explained in her solo title but because she got stupidly shoe-horned into this event it makes no sense. 

Also at one point during one of Bruce and Jean-Paul’s fights, Jean-Paul’s armour gets a paintjob out of nowhere, going from blue and gold to red and gold! It’s such a stupid outfit too, way too jagged with too much stuff - a badly designed wreck. 

Knightsend was the overlong, far too drawn-out finale to the overlong, far too drawn-out event series that was Knightfall. As a Batman fan, I’m glad I can say I read it, but I will never re-read this godawful comic ever again nor can I recommend it to anyone!

Batman - Knightfall, Volume 3: Knightsend

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