BATMAN: KNIGHTFALL VOL. 1 (DC, Fourth Printing, 2012; Softcover)
Collects Batman: Vengeance Of Bane Special No. 1, Batman Nos. 491-500, Detective Comics Nos. 659-666, Showcase '93 Nos. 7, 8, and Shadow Of The Bat Nos. 16-18 (cover dates April- October, 1993).
Writers: Doug Moench, Chuck Dixon, and Alan Grant
Artists: Pencilers- Jim Aparo*, Norm Breyfogle*, Graham Nolan, Jim Balent, Bret Blevins*, Klaus Janson, and Mike Manley*; Inkers- Scott Hanna, Tom Mandrake, Bob Wiacek, Josef Rubinstein, Dick Giordano, Steve George, Terry Austin, Rick Burchett, and the Pencilers with * by their name.
Believe it or not, I have never read any of these comics before now. I am not a DC continuity expert by any stretch of the imagination so I don't know what fits, what doesn't, which Earth this is, so on and so forth. My review will be solely about the stories in the stories in this book.
Those who have seen The Dark Knight Rises will see many scenes that seem familiar, since much of the material of this 630-odd page book was translated right to the big screen. Unlike the movie, once Bane breaks Bruce Wayne's back a guy once named Azrael becomes Batman. He does all of the requisite '90s hero things, all extreme and brutal with a new, now horribly dated costume redesign.
I enjoyed the gauntlet that Bane made Batman go through with villains like the Joker, Two-Face, Killer Croc, Scarecrow, etc. Bane didn't really beat Batman fair and square in my opinion because of this, though. Batman was mentally and physically exhausted by the time that he fought Bane for real.
The writing in this book is good and the story continuity is tight while the artwork is hit or miss. You get some great stuff by Jim Aparo and other stuff that falls somewhere in the middle. It works for what it is. I enjoyed this book, to be honest with you. This event seems to polarize fans, but twenty years later it's history. Looking forward to reading Volume 2 someday.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.
The OCD zone- I am a sucker for these phonebook style trades. I don't know why, but give me a complete run of something in one chunky brick and I am far more likely to buy it than I would be buying three smaller books at the same price point.
There is a typo on the page in the back of the book with the cover for Batman: Knightfall Part Two: Who Rules The Night TPB cover. It is incorrectly titled Batman: Knightfall Part Two: Broken Bat TPB.
DVD-style Extras included in this book: Batman #500 variant by Joe Quesada and Kevin Nowlan. (2 pages)
Batman: Knightfall Part One: Broken Bat TPB cover. (1 page)
Batman: Knightfall Part Two: Who Rules The Night TPB cover. (1 page)
Linework and Color restoration rating: 4.75 out of 5. Things look tight and clean to my eye, with only one or two pages looking marginally off.
Paper rating: 4 out of 5. The mando paper is only marginally thicker than the stock found in the Showcase books. While it is nice that it has zero glare it feels a little lightweight for my taste. I also worry about it yellowing like my old Alan Moore Swamp Thing trades have over the years. DC collected edition fans are a curious lot, as they not only want the books to collect a run, but they want the exact same crappy grade of paper used in the original comics. I don't understand it at all. It would be like buying a Blu-Ray and preferring it to be presented in 250p as it was originally mastered rather than remastered in 1080p...since that is how it looked when it was originally released.
On the flip side, this is also inexpensive, so I will just view it as a full color Showcase Presents phonebook and sleep well at night. Truth be told, when I descended down this collected editions rabbit hole 10+ years ago, I liked Masterworks and Essentials and that was about it. If the Essentials were in full color (like the Epic line nowadays) then I would have been perfectly fine with the cheaper paper. As the years have rolled by I have become more accustomed to higher end books and the price points involved with them.
Binding rating: 4.25 out of 5. Perfect bound trade paperback. These fat books always seem pretty solid to me.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. Nice thick waxlike lamination.