June, Knightquest was a multi-part storyline published by DC Comics from It is the second chapter of a three-part trilogy colloquially referred to as the "Knight Saga". Knightquest follows events chronicled during the " Knightfall " story-arc and leads into the multi-part final chapter, " KnightsEnd ". During this time, he drives Robin away because he believed Gotham post-Bane to be so tough that only violence could answer its criminals. Indeed, in several issues Robin is left horrified as Jean-Paul ferociously attacks common criminals, often with a weapon and sometimes nearly to death. He repeatedly redesigns his Batman costume, adding more gadgets and lethal weapons, including laser, razor-sharp Batarangs and a flame-thrower.
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Publication[ edit ] The initial idea for the character of Azrael stemmed from a two-part story idea pitched by Detective Comics writer Peter Milligan circa , as he was leaving that position. The two series each hit numerical milestones at the end of the arc, with a triple-size th issue of Batman and the ominous Detective Comics number wrapping up the storyline only one month apart.
The massive story was quickly collected into two volumes of trade paperbacks. The stories were not treated as crossovers and the Batman titles continued as they had before "Knightfall" where the creative teams each pursued its own storyline. Instead of a crossover, "Knightquest" was more of an umbrella title that also encompassed some issues of Batman: Shadow of the Bat to avoid giving away their plans, the publishers treated it as though it were the new status quo, so issues were not numbered as chapters.
Additionally, The Crusade served as a launching point for the first ongoing monthly series featuring Robin in solo adventures. Neither thread of "Knightquest" was collected in book format until over two decades later. Nothing was truncated, as the Batman editorial line made use of all of the Batman-related titles at their disposal, such as Catwoman, Robin and Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight normally an anthology title with stories set in the past. The serial nature of the Batman titles continued beyond the end of "KnightsEnd", with the "Prodigal" and "Troika" storylines, and into subsequent unbannered stories.
Prelude[ edit ] The prelude to "Knightfall" began with the introduction of two new characters key to its storyline in issues prior to the release of "Knightfall": Azrael , a. Bane , introduced in Batman: Vengeance of Bane 1 January by Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan , an orphan born and raised in a Central American island prison, self-taught and ruthless, who underwent an involuntary experimental operation to become a new type of supersoldier, before breaking free and deciding to take Gotham City from its "king", Batman.
The two characters were quickly added to the cast in the monthly Batman titles, with Azrael being a superhero-in-training who fights alongside Batman, while Bane was introduced as a supervillain. Within the regular series, the buildup to "Knightfall" begins with a six-issue run in Batman September - February , in which Batman at the onset of a personal psychological mid-life crisis is forced to deal, in rapid succession, with the returning villain Black Mask and his gang who target Bruce Wayne and Lucius Fox , a crazed killer called Metalhead, and a sharpshooter assassin hired by an imprisoned mobster to murder Commissioner Gordon.
Batman begins to feel that he has lost his edge, especially after his failure to capture Black Mask. He finds himself unable to meditate or even focus. As Bruce Wayne, he contacts holistic therapist Shondra Kinsolving for treatment.
Despite the advice of everyone in his life, including Dr. Bane begins a series of encounters letting Batman know of his presence and his intentions. This escalation culminates in an assault on Arkham Asylum in Batman April , where Bane breaks the inmates free and supplies them with numerous weapons to escape.
Zsasz , Cornelius Stirk , Abattoir , and Amygdala. The scenario creates a rift in the relationship between Robin and Batman, as Batman irrationally seeks to face the outbreak alone—in later issues, Robin asks Batman if he is even needed as his sidekick anymore.
Art by Jim Aparo. Over the next few issues, Batman becomes weaker and weaker as each criminal is put away. The fight between Bruce Wayne and Bane is detailed in Batman After his defeat, Bruce Wayne enlists the aid of Dr.
Shondra Kinsolving to rehabilitate him and asks Jean-Paul Valley to take up the mantle of Batman so that Gotham has a protector. Tim Drake argues with Bruce to allow Dick Grayson the former Robin and then-current Nightwing to become Batman, as he is more experienced and mentally competent.
Bruce replies that Grayson has his own responsibilities and would only take up the mantle of the Bat reluctantly Dick later expressed resentment at not being asked to stand in as Batman. Indeed, Bruce gives Jean-Paul strict orders never to engage Bane in combat—and when Jean-Paul does face Bane, only his modified gloves save Jean-Paul from being thrown to his death. Gradually, Jean-Paul alienates Robin with his paranoia and arrogance.
Jean-Paul leaves Bane broken mentally and physically, though he struggles with the choice of whether to simply kill Bane or hand him over to the police. He decides that he will let Bane go to Blackgate Prison.
Jean-Paul continues to watch over Gotham after the fight, but grows increasingly unstable. Cover to Detective Comics Art by Kelley Jones. A paraplegic Bruce Wayne, traveling across the globe on a rescue mission with help from his allies, including members of the Justice League Task Force, in The Search story arc.
Instead of a crossover with a definite ending, the publishers treated the scenario as though it were the new status quo, leaving it open-ended. He becomes increasingly violent and mentally unbalanced. During this time, he drives Robin away because he believes Gotham to be so tough that only violence could answer its criminals. In several issues, Robin is left horrified as Jean-Paul ferociously attacks common criminals, often with a weapon and sometimes nearly to death.
He repeatedly redesigns his Batman costume, adding more gadgets and lethal weapons, including metal claws, a laser, razor-sharp batarangs and a flamethrower.
Valley becomes compelled by a desire to be a better Batman than Bruce Wayne, especially when he discovers his lack of interest in detective work caused him to make false assumptions about Catwoman he thought that she would sell a powerful nerve gas to terrorists , when she merely wanted to dispose of it so that it could not be used to hurt anyone.
His questionable behavior climaxes when he encounters the serial killer Abattoir , who is keeping an innocent prisoner in a secret torture chamber : Jean-Paul purposely lets Abattoir die, thereby condemning the prisoner to death as well.
Other villains Jean-Paul faces include Mr. Their investigation leads them to the Caribbean and then Great Britain. Asp demonstrates this new form of mass murder on a small English village. When Bruce Wayne finds Kinsolving, he finds himself caught in the middle of a telekinetic tug-of-war between Asp and Kinsolving. Bruce eventually leaves England to return home to a civilian life in Gotham, but Alfred remains in England, not wanting to see Bruce Wayne damage his body further.
He does not return to Gotham until a while later, when Dick Grayson persuades him to do so in later issues. Artwork for the cover of Batman: Shadow of the Bat vol. Valley now spends his time doggedly pursuing him. Returning to Gotham, Bruce meets with Tim.
Bruce decides to retire and allow Jean-Paul to continue as Batman. Jean-Paul refuses and tells Bruce to leave the cave and never come back. To rehabilitate his skills due to his lost reflexes after so long out of action, Bruce asks the famed assassin Lady Shiva to retrain him, using a mask to conceal his identity and arguing that she will do it for the same reason that she does anything; it might be interesting.
After helping him regain the essentials of his combat reflexes, Shiva then pits Bruce against several vengeful expert martial artists , having killed their master while wearing a distinctive tengu mask that carries a motif of a bat that she subsequently gives to Batman. Finally, in the midst of an attack by the final martial artist, Bruce feigns using the " Leopard Blow " fatal maneuver Shiva had taught him, leaving his would-be assailant apparently dead.
Shiva would later learn the truth. Now back in fighting shape, Bruce returns to the Batcave and resumes his role as Batman. Coincidentally, Catwoman is chasing the same man because he owns a neural enabler which might allow her paraplegic friend to walk again. Selkirk already wants to kill Jean-Paul for destroying a valuable weapons cache in Gotham Harbor. When they eventually all meet, mass fighting and gunfire ensue.
Bruce and Catwoman save Selkirk and his aides just before the helicopter explodes from the leaking fuel, his decision to protect criminals affirming to Catwoman that the true Batman has returned.
When Bruce tries to find Jean-Paul using the Batmobile, it explodes due to a planted booby-trap. Nightwing fears Bruce dead and takes his vengeance out on Jean-Paul on a party boat. The police arrive in time to prevent Nightwing from committing murder, but Jean-Paul escapes. The final battle of the "Knightfall" saga takes place between Jean-Paul Valley and Bruce Wayne in the caverns surrounding the Batcave below Wayne Manor: rather than beating Jean-Paul at hand-to-hand combat, Bruce outwits him by escaping into a passage too narrow for Jean-Paul to go through in his armor, thus forcing Jean-Paul to remove most of it.
After being momentarily blinded, Jean-Paul removes his cowl, sees Bruce standing over him in the original Batman costume and concedes defeat, saying "You are the Batman Bruce decides not to take Jean-Paul to the police because it was his decision to make Jean-Paul the Batman, leading to his subsequent breakdown. Art by Mike Gustovich. Bruce passes the mantle of Batman to Grayson so he can re-evaluate what it will take to restore his aura of invincibility.
Because of the events of the entire arc, considerable time passes before Commissioner Gordon restores his trust in the idea of a Batman working for good. In doing so, Dick avenges his worst mistake from his days as Robin, when a mistake in a confrontation with Two-Face caused a man to die and nearly killed Bruce. He also comes to appreciate the incredible physical and mental burden Bruce places on himself in donning the Batsuit. Troika is the Russian word for "trio".
The saga also shows how Batman makes changes to his life as Bruce Wayne, his relationships with his "family", plans to live without Alfred, and copes with the decision of making Jean-Paul his replacement. It has Nightwing going to England in order to track Alfred down.
In it, he is found on the street by Bruce Wayne and given money to leave Gotham to travel the world and find his purpose, as had Bruce. His journeys take him to Europe, where he uncovers conspiracies within the Sacred Order of Saint Dumas which had brainwashed him.
It is followed by the one-shot graphic novel Batman: Bane. After the events of Batman: Bane, Azrael is tasked by Batman to track down the recently resurfaced Bane. After meeting, the two men struggle, and Bane gets the upper hand with the aid of a small band of Santa Priscan soldiers and his old henchman Bird.
He restrains Azrael and injects him with Venom, with the plan of using him as a super soldier to take over Santa Prisca. Azrael is able to resist addiction to the drug and eventually conquers Bane and flies him back to Gotham City.
They arrive just as the massive earthquake occurs. Bane attempts escape but is unable; as a last-ditch effort he unsuccessfully tries to convince Azrael to form a partnership.
Instead, Azrael reaffirms his dedication to Bruce Wayne. The cover of issue 37 depicts Bane breaking Azrael over his knee in a recreation of the famous cover of Batman , "Knightfall" part Reading order and release dates[ edit ] Each story arc of the "Knightfall" saga ran across a number of Gotham City-related comics. This created a fairly complex reading order, which is summarized below.
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Knightfall is a Batman Family crossover published in Bane , the primary villain of the storyline, is introduced in Vengeance of Bane , and the vigilante Azrael is introduced in Sword of Azrael. Knightfall is divided into two parts. Knightquest is also divided into two parts. Contents Synopsis Knightfall The plot of Knightfall began with the master criminal Bane freeing all of the maximum-security inmates of Arkham Asylum. The storyline of Knightfall drove a large rift in the relationship between Robin and Batman, as Batman sought to face the outbreak alone. Indeed, in later issues, Tim Drake, the current Robin, asks Batman if he is even needed as his sidekick anymore.
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