Reading Knightfall Part I: [Spoilers]
Why is Batman already tired before he starts chasing everyone down? Who is the French dude?
To answer your questions: Bruce was already suffering from exhaustion and burn-out for several issues before Knightfall began, in fact, going back shortly before Bane showed up. The "French dude" is Jean Paul Valley, aka Azrael, who first appeared in the miniseries Batman: Sword of Azrael. This mini was collected in trade paperback, but is out of print.
If you're interested in the prelude stuff, check out Sword of Azrael, as well as Batman 484-490 and Detective Comics 654-658, the issues that led up to Knightfall.
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I'd just like to say that I picked up the Demon trilogy TPB recently as I've never before really had the chance to read any older Ra's stories apart from Son of The Demon and The Demon Laughs. And this thing was worth it on the strength of Birth of the Demon alone.
The shovel....That was amazing.
Heart of Hush is an awesome story. It would be even better if you didn't have to read Hush first, or if it had the artwork from Hush.
Thanks to this thread, since I was last here I've read the whole Grant Morrison thing, but despite also taking in Elegy and Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader? I feel like I've missed out on a lot of the immediate death-of-Batman stuff like his buddies' reactions and the decision for Damian to be Robin presumably leading into Batman And Robin. Was this sort of thing covered in any of the non-Morrison books? What else can I collect to get the bigger picture: the first few posts are great for covering the Morrison era but other than the list of trades there's little other info I can use.
As I recall, there wasn't really a whole lot that actually showed the decision for Dick to become Batman and take Damian as his Robin. There was the Battle for the Cowl, but, if I remember correctly, that doesn't really answer any of the questions you had. TBH, I think the bulk of it is communicated in Batman and Robin as Dick and Alfred are talking about Damian, and in Red Robin where it flashes back to Tim's decision to take on the Red Robin role and a confrontation he had with Dick regarding Tim no longer being Robin.
Other than that, things just kind of happen.
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The trades are a little weirdly collected. Issue 5 is the start of the Council of Spiders arc, but is collected as an epilogue to The Grail arc, and then the rest of the arc is collected in volume 2. This is the best arc imo though, so get both volumes at the same time. The rest of the arcs are also very good, except for maybe The Rabbit Hole. Either way if you like Tim, definitely get this run completely!
Battle of the Cowl - this is the shit storm that happens when criminals discover Batman is dead, crime explodes and no one is ready to take his place with Dick, Tim and Jason scrambling to figure out what to do. This mini should've been awesome, in concept at least, but instead was handled by Tony Daniel in his first major writing attempt and the result is clumsy and quite amateurish and it inexplicably makes a complete mess of Jason Todd IMO. It's silly balls-to-the-wall action though and you might find it fun, I'd check out the first issue and see if you want to keep going.
Long Shadows - the first arc by Judd Winick on the Batman title post death. Issue 687 is where you'll actually see a little funeral take place and a heavy conversation between Superman, Wonder Woman, Alfred and Dick which really should've happened somewhere in Morrison run - this is probably the emotional beat you're looking for. All up it's only a half an issue though and problem is the rest of the arc is pure dreck. Really forced, shallow symbolism and themes throughout a plot which basically consists of Dick smiling for news cameras (Batman smiles now! Unreal!) and Two-Face recycling lazy monologues about "masks and identity" while teleporting around the Batcave. Read Batman 687 and be done with it.
Azrael: Deaths Dark Knight - this mini picks up the story of Michael Lane directly from RIP and is set during the chaos of Battle of the Cowl. It's an excellent little mini in its own but also notable for transitioning Dick Grayson into a role of authority in Gotham, and containing the scene where Talia successfully bargains with Dick to take on Damian as the new Robin (issue 3 iirc). Skip the trade, it's padded out with two very poor Batman and Detective annuals from that year.
Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader - this was released at the same time of Bruce's death and seems designed to convey the weight of the event even though it's actually a non-canon, standalone story with few ties to the main Batman universe at all. More of a mythic parable than anything else this has villains and allies from various eras attending Batman's funeral while Alfred, Joker and Catwoman tell the story of how he died. Thing is though all the stories are different and none actually relate directly to the Batman we know, rather they're metaphoric interpretations from various characters' perspective. This is in essence The Final Batman Story for the ages, and it's Neil Gaiman so it's obviously excellent...but may not be what you're expecting here. The trade also contains Riddler and Poison Ivy origins by Gaiman, which are awesome. Overall probably one of the best Batman trades of all time. edit - just realized you read this already!
Last edited by nepenthes; 06-11-2012 at 09:38 PM.
I liked Battle for the Cowl personally.
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Just finished the first half of the Morrison run and really enjoyed it. But one thing kind of bothers me: why wasn't Morrison allowed to kill Bruce Wayne? It was odd to read such a great, long story, with so many twists and turns, just to find out that Bruce was "killed, or whatever" in a non-Bat book. It's almost as though your reading the book, and Bruce's death is a footnote (#701-702) in the series. Bother anyone else, or am I missing something?
Just found that kind of odd. I think I'll be skipping the Return and all that, and going straight to the B&R books.
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