Batman: Knightfall (4 stars)

Timely re-issue that showcases Bane, 'the man who broke the Bat'

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Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench & various

(DC/Titan)

Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises is one of the most anticipated blockbusters of 2012. Not only will we get Anne Hathaway as Catwoman but Tom Hardy stars as brutal criminal Bane. To film fans, Bane is a bit of an unknown quantity, but comics fans know him as one of the Caped Crusader’s most vicious enemies.

It was the epic Knightfall where he first made his mark and became ‘the man who broke the Bat’. Knowing Nolan’s revisionist nature, only the bare bones of the concepts behind Bane will make it into The Dark Knight Rises, but it’s still fascinating to see his origins.

A super-villain powered by a super-steroid called Venom, Bane isn’t your typical meat-head: he’s a master strategist, fully prepared to play dirty, releasing all the prisoners from Arkham Asylum as his opening gambit. Batman is worn down as he battles his way through all his old adversaries, going up against Two-Face, Joker, Scarecrow and more in quick succession, before Bane swings in for the coup de grâce.

Comics in the 90s were full of cheap gimmicks and Knightfall is no exception; the writing here is often trashy, pulpy nonsense and the art fluctuates wildly (only Kelley Jones’ cover art really shines). But it’s a full-on action spectacular with hardly any time to draw breath between each Bat-villain encounter, and a helluva lot of fun. The comic’s sheer scale steamrollers any flaws, resulting in an exhilarating romp with nearly every insane crook Batman has ever fought.

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