Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Knightfall Tuesday: Batman #500

Knightfall Part 19
Giant Sized Issue
Writer: Doug Moench

Part 1 Art Team
Penciller: Jim Aparo
Inker: Terry Austin

Part Two Art Team
Artist: Mike Manley

This picks off right where we left off from the last issue of Detective Comics. Azbats is thrown from the top of Gotham Hotel and barley makes it into a water fountain to save his own ass. Bane takes a bunch of Batarangs to his neck and chest area and makes a break for it. Azbats is injured and knows that he is in no shape to stop Bane from getting away.

Bane is losing lots of blood and goes to where he has a very large supply of Venom. Bane gives himself a triple dose and heads out to kill the new "Batman". Azbats returns to the Batcave and runs into Robin. They get into an ideological debate about the way Batman should operate. The new Batman says that Bruce Wayne was created for older times and that in order to save Gotham City the new Batman has to fight fire with fire. Azbats calls Robin a bleeding heart and that he's off the team.

I like the back and forth between Azbats and Robin. It's a direct commentary on Superhero comics of the 1990's. Many fans wanted their heroes to be very extreme. I guess that means looking like you just step out of a Rob Liefield comic.

Azbats takes over the cave and losing himself in The System he goes on about creating a brand new Batman costume. And Boy does it look just like something out of the 90's. Bane is ready to end his fight with who he feels is the pretender. Bane takes a control of a electric billboard and invites Batman to a final one on one.

Azbats takes flight in his new costume in some really great panels by new Batman artist Mike Manley. I don't know but I do love Jim Aparo's Batman but Manley brings this really dark and moody feel to the book.  It's really fantastic stuff. The art by Jim Aparo is top notch too and to have a legend like Terry Austin ink it makes this book a real treasure to own.

Azbats comes face to face with the man who broke the original Batman. A fight breaks out in the middle of Gotham Square. The police block off the area and under the orders of the Mayor, Arman Krol, they don't interfere with the battle. Azbats in his new costume has the upper hand with his claws and slashes Bane up really badly. This issue also has some of my favorite dialogue in a comic book.

Bane: Gotham is mine--in my pocket!

Azbats: Prepare to be mugged.

Laugh all you want but as a kid reading this I freaked out at how cool this all was.  Bane recovers and then leads Azbats on a chase that leads to a Gotham train station. Bane and Azbats board and fight on the train. The train conductor is killed and he slams into the lever which makes the engine speed up. Robin shows up and saves the passengers by unhooking the engine from the other cars of the train. The trains flies off the track and the slams into a building.

Azbats pulls himself and Bane from the wreckage. Just as Azbats is about to kill Bane, he backs off.  Another great scene is when Bane knows that his is beaten and no longer calls Azbats a pretender.

Bane: Kill me...Batman.

Azbats:...No. You are broken, and blackgate prison will hold the pieces.

Bane is taken into police custody and Robin stops to have words with the new Batman. Robin tells Azbats that he is tough but maybe he's what Gotham needs. Azbats turns and flees into the night. All in all this was a giant sized issue. I loved reading this, it felt like I was reading a big blockbuster summer action movie. The pacing and storyteller is just amazing. I could read this until it was falling apart. I think that's why I have more than one copy. But it's an amazing story of one hero's fall and another man's rise. Before you go see The Dark Knight Rises check this out. It's got a ton of the same themes and I think it deserves another reading.

So thanks to you the reader for coming back week after week reading Knightfall Tuesday. I'm kinda sad to see it go. As they say, nothing gold can stay.

Email us at theverbalmosh@gmail.com and let us know what we should review next.

-Tash Moore

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