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BATMAN: KNIGHTFALL (PARTS 1 & 2)

Part 1

Part 1: Broken Bat - Batman is pushed to his absolute limits and beyond when a new villain calling himself Bane arrives in Gotham for the sole purpose of destroying Batman. Typically my response is "Get in line, pal" but this time Bane has a detailed plan that exploits Batman's weaknesses: his absolute belief that only he can save Gotham and his unwillingness to quit. Bane begins by observing the Batman in action and deciding to strip him of that which makes him the most powerful and then break him. He unleashes all the inmates of Arkham Asylum, the cage that contains all of Batman's worst foes, and watches as Batman faces challenge after challenge despite sickness or exhaustion. Then finally, when Batman is at his weakest, he confronts Bane's thugs and then Bane himself.

Part 2

Part 2: Who Rules the Night - Bane has broken the bat. Bruce is out of commission but he observes that Gotham needs a Batman. Then he does a mistake - he chooses Jean Paul Valley, alias Azrael, as his temporary substitute. Part 2 plays like a big ''What if...?''. What if the Batman was a maniac that is as brutal as the villains he confronts. Jean Paul Valley as the new Batman crosses the line Batman has drawn and not only that, he disobeys Bruce's prime directive - Stay away from Bane. As the story builds up, Jean Paul becomes more and more maniacal, changing the batsuit in the process transforming it into a body of armor in a bat rendition of the Azrael costume. ''This is war'', he quips. He tracks down Bane and finally he confronts him.

Alongside Knightfall plays ''Knightquest'' which was never reprinted in collected format. The story is concluded in another huge volume, Batman: Knightsend.