The writers Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins broke us once again with the first title of the Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Batman Knightfall! The tale tells us of a historic moment in the DC universe when the Batman was broken by Bane in arguably Batman’s most heart-wrenching defeat he/we has ever experienced. But after time to heal and a small stay of a temporary successor for the dark knight, Bruce Wayne remerges stronger then ever and reclaims his city from the deranged Jean Paul! But what if Jean Paul AKA Azrael didn’t lose to Batman…. this is the tale. First heres a NON SPOILER REVIEW…..
For the first jump into the Dark Multiverse line I will say it totally hit the mark! i enjoyed every bit of the story, it was as gruesome and nuts as you would think the universe the Batman who laughs came from. Jean Paul does not disappoint. A Twisted point of history in the Batman mythos that clearly could have happened if anyone remembers the original Knightfall story arc. The writers did exactly what we needed and made the story fresh and worthy for the future continuity. Its a Must Read!
Now on to my SPOILER portion. In 3….. 2…… 1……
HOLY COW! If you thought you knew the ruthlessness of Jean-Paul you only know the humbled watered down version lol. This man ferocity knows no bounds. The history starts out just as before; Bane breaks Batman, Bruce chooses to pass the mantle until his symbol was perverted by Jean Paul. And Bruce returns to defeat the usurper but he does not succeed. With the deciding blow Azarel defeats the Batman in similar fashion as Bane. Now dubbed Saint Batman he begins his 30 year long crusade. First by burning the old Gotham to the ground, and then to rebuild it into something new. He now rules Gotham with an iron fist powered by faith and fear.
But 30 years is a long time on the human body. Time has proven to be taxing. From the use of Lazurus Pits to now using Venom to keep himself in fighting shape. Not only has he became more so dependent for these supplements.
I find this to be one of the best examples of what desperation any normal person would go through in the place of Bruce Wayne. We’ve seen Bruce beaten and bloodied on more then one occasion, but with the options of the pits or venom he has always elected to forego the drugs. He knew at some point it would make him dependent and eventually create a person not himself anymore. Jean Paul is barely holding together he even has made the tradition of visiting one person every year. Yes Bruce is sort of alive.
Saint Batman has tortured, and piece by piece dismembered the original Dark Knight for the passed 30 years. All for the one day satisfaction that Bruce will finally admit that he made the right choice is making him his successor. 30 years proves that it will not happen, but Jean Paul is all about tradition.
Fast forward a bit and the plot thickens. Were introduced to a new character and he is poetically enough the son to non other Bane. Tourne doesn’t look like much but he’s been trained by the best and arguably has probably surpassed his father in strength and skill.
He also has a couple neat tricks up his sleeve. By naturally creating his own venom to gain the strength his father needed injections for. Since this is a natural ability for him he can easily dispatch many foes at any moment.
Now his mission, to bring an end to Saint Batman’s tyranny, revenge for his father, and to bring the mantle back to the true Batman, Bruce Wayne. Tourne and his compatriots The League of Assassins know to truly defeat Saint Batman is to beat his spirit push him to the brink. So he and his mother Lady Shiva (Im assuming she is his mother just due the fact she mentions to Jean Paul that he was her love. Correct me if i am mistaken lol) bring Bruce a means to fight back.
After bringing us back to Saint Batman defending his city from the League, his mind in now becoming an obstacle. If you know the story of Azrael he is known to hear the voice of St. Dumas; and the voice is telling him thats he’s been on a downward spiral and was bound to fail. Jean Paul now physically weak and is need of more venom to continue the fight which Shiva and Tourne have already done away with his stash, turned his wife into a traitor, and introduced Bruce in his new nano-tech Batsuit.
At this point he tips to his breaking point and now the real fight begins. The 2 sides clash at full force, the battle is brutal. Bruce dispatches Saint Batman’s two proteges quickly while Shiva and Tourne attack him head on. But Jean Paul still has some tricks up his sleeve. He realizes quickly that Tourne creates his own venom in his body so to replenish himself he tears his arm off to ingest his blood.. gross but effective lol.
Saint Batman is in top shape. Now able to stand toe to toe with Bruce and Shiva. Though he looks to have the upper hand, but venom tends to cloud the mind and leaves Jean Paul cocky and unaware. Tourne returns to deal a final blow to Jean Paul and break the Batman. Obviously ironic/poetic but so necessary., its the same reason why Jean Paul even had the chance to become Batman. And Banes son brought back a glimmer of hope by defeating Saint Batman.
Now it would not be the dark multiverse without a twist. The Battle is won but the end result is not what the League of Assassins had in mind. Bruce after 30 years of torture and time came to a new realization. Gotham is better off alone, so he kills Tourne and Lady Shiva to make sure Gotham is left cutoff from the rest of the world. In fact he also thanks Jean Paul in helping figure out that his biggest mistake was ever depending on anyone but himself. The true Batman mantle has been returned, just not the way we expected.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I really enjoyed this issue. It hit all the right tones to on a Gotham that was ruled by a tyrant. And a Jean Paul that at some point struggled to hold it all together. Great story and amazing action set a high bar for the upcoming stories. Worth the buy and the read for the collection. As I said before great start to the Tales from the Dark Multiverse line of titles.
Hope you guys enjoyed the review dont forget to comment and look out for our Tales from the Dark Multiverse Death of Superman Review.