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GKO: MADHOUSE

Here you will find our rambalings on all area's of Batman, interviews and speical features!

JL: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS REVIEW

We review Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.

BATMAN OF ZUR-EN-ARRH

We take a look at the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh from Batman #113.

GREG RUCKA INTERVIEW

Gotham Knights Online - Interview with Greg Rucka.

BTS: MUSIC MEISTER

A behind the scenens look at The Music Meister.

REVIEW: SB: PE

We review Superman / Batman: Public Enemies.

J.H. WILLIAMS III INTERVIEW

Gotham Knights Online - Interview with J.H. Wiilams III

REVIEW - BATMAN: AA

We review the most eagarly anticipated game this year!

BATMAN CRIME JAZZ

Composers talk crime jazz for Batman

GKO FEATURE - BATMAN KNIGHTFALL PRELUDE

Posted by Bob Tilley Thursday, 7 January 2010


Before we get started on this months feature reviews there are a few little background details you need to know about Batman Knightfall. Now unlike a number of comic book titles in the 90s sales for the Batman titles wasn't doing all that bad. DC Comics were still reeling from the highly successful "Death of Superman", and like the end of the 1930s, DC wanted to follow up on the this success, and it was Batman's turn.

Batman: Sword of Azrael: Knightfall started in April 1993 with Batman #492, but the set-up for this story started back in 1992 with Sword of Azrael. Written by Batman group editor Denny O'Neil and drawn by up coming artist Joe Quesada (now Marvel Comics chief editor). The story introduces us the Jean Paul Vally a young university student who was brain washed at birth by his father, who was a member of a group of assassins called the Order of St. Dumas. Jean Paul Vally's secret training called "The System" is unlocked revealing his true heritage Azrael. The story involves a villain called Lord Biis, and arms dealing. It's mainly a story of redemption, Jean Paul Vally learning who he is and controlling the system for good. Back then unknown to fan's Jean Paul Vally will be playing one of the biggest roles throughout Knightfall...

Batman Vengeance of Bane: Next on the cards was a mysterious one shot titled Batman: Vengeance of Bane and possibly one of best villain origins of all time. Bane... born in prison and subjected to unimaginable cruelty, through isolation he trained his mind to withstand the torment and through his hunger to learn he discovered Gotham City and legend of Batman. One element of this issue was its 90% focus on Bane himself, and the reason he is so driven as a character. His loyal followers who are serving their sentence alongside him and the experiments that were conducted on him involving "Venom". There's the magic word, Bane is drug induced junky, which is the ultimate steroid pumped directly into his brain. Forget the other incarnations of Bane you've seen in the animated series and movies. During Knightfall, Bane is (in mine mind), the perfect enemy to be pitted against Batman.

Both antagonists do eventually meet, but its like seeing to boxers weighing each other up before a fight.

Now one element I need to add, which is probably one of the most crucial part of Knightfall is Batman's state of mind. This story is happening straight after the events of "The Death of Superman", he has lost his best friend and in the issues leading up to Batman #488, Bruce is starting to push himself to the limits. The Black Mask has reappeared and Batman's physical state of mind is starting to deteriorate.

Batman #488: Personally I think this is where Knightfall should have started but that's debatable. This is Jean Paul Vally's first proper introduction into the on going Batman universe. Batman assigns Robin to train Jean Paul, this overhaul includes a new costume and crime fighting training techniques. It's a good building block for the series and at that point I was happy to see Azrael as a member of the Batman family.

Batman #489: Now to the good stuff. Bane finally makes is appearance in what I dubbing the prelude to Knightfall. Before we get to that part though there are a few key elements to this issue. Killer Croc makes his appearance after what I believe to be a long missing stint from the comics. A little but of back story again and the usual ridicule is thrown in sending him on a rampage through Gotham. Bruce starts his relaxation therapy with Dr. Shondra Kinsolving, when Killer Croc rampage is aired on Gotham news Bruce is in a deep sleep and both Alfred and Robin are reluctant to wake him... in steps Jean Paul Vally. Robin convinces him to put on the Bat costume and fight with Croc.

Now back to Bane who also saw the news alert and decides to show Gotham where Croc failed to kill Batman he will succeed. Killer Croc gets the better Batman (Jean Paul), but before Croc can take down Batman Bane makes an appearance and ends up breaking both Crocs arms. He also says to knows that Jean Paul isn't the real Batman and simply walks away from the fight. I love this little element, which make Bane even more menacing than ever.


Batman #490: This issue is one of my favorite of the prelude stories. It continues with Batman (Jean Paul), and Robin getting ready to talk with Commissioner Gordon. Batman (Bruce), shows up and says thanks Jean Paul for helping with Croc, but they won't fool Gordon.

Gordon has lit the Bat signal because they have received a riddle. Bane is also across from the police station and listening in on the conversation, he commits to solving the riddle before Batman. While Batman and Robin are traveling to the Batmobile the connection between Batman's first encounter with Bane in "Vengeance" and the last issue is made. Bane gets to the riddler first and injects Edward Nygma with venom driving him crazy. Now super strong Batman has to let the Riddler escape while he disarms a bomb. They have another encounter at the end of the issue and Batman wins. What's interesting about the end of the issue is the final plan that is set in motion for the next issue and the main vain of Knightfall... The destruction of Arkham Asylum.

Batman: #491: This is it the final issue before Knightfall begins. It's probably the most important issue of all and it also shows the level of planning that went into setting up an amazing story event. Bane and his gang crack the nutshell and release the nuts literally. By destroying Arkham Asylum Bane has undone all the hard work Batman has done over the years. Every high profile criminal is released and the story focuses a lot on the Joker who takes the Dr. Jeremiah Arkham hostage. Batman goes in and during a number of fight scenes he eventually rescues him from a lethal booby trap. Now it's up to Batman to hunt down every last inmate and return them the Arkham. There is great panel at the end of this issue of Batman screaming into the sky, this shows he is already at breaking point and the fight has only just begun. This issue was drawn by the late Jim Aparo who plays a major art role in Knightfall.

So that's the events leading into Knightfall. In my mind these issues are as much a part of Knightfall as the actually series. They build such drama and make you feel the pain Batman is going through during the entire series. Jim Aparo and Graham Nolan are one of the main reasons I love this series so much an I can't wait to start reviewing the entire arc.

LISTEN TO THIS WEEKS PODCAST ONLINE COVERING NEWS, REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS WITH GUESTS FROM ALL BATMAN INDUSTRIES!



GKO: PODCAST #43

This week we cover the usual news in the Batman Universe. 4th to 17th Oct, including Batman: Knightfall Pt11.
23-10-10

GKO: PODCAST #42

This week we cover the usual news in the Batman Universe. 20th Sept to 3rd Oct, including Batman: Knightfall Pt10.
09-10-10

GKO: PODCAST #41

This week we cover the usual news in the Batman Universe. 13th to Sept 20th, including Batman: Knightfall Pt9.
14-09-10

GKO: PODCAST #40

This week we cover the usual news in the Batman Universe. Aug 30th to Sept 12th, including Batman: Knightfall Pt8.
14-09-10

GKO: PODCAST #39

This week we cover the usual news in the Batman Universe. Aug 23rd to Aug 29th, including Batman: Knightfall Pt7.
31-08-10

GKO: PODCAST #38

This week we cover the usual news in the Batman Universe. Aug 9th to Aug 22nd, including Batman: Knightfall Pt6.
24-08-10

GKO: PODCAST #37

This week we cover the usual news in the Batman Universe. Aug 2nd to Aug 8th, including Batman: Knightfall Pt5.
03-08-10

GKO: PODCAST #36

This week we have a new host and review Batman: Under the Red Hood along with all the news from the week.
03-08-10

GKO: PODCAST #35

This is our SDCC '10 coverage special covering all the news from July 19th to July 25th.
26-07-10

GKO: PODCAST #34

This week we cover the usual news in the Batman Universe. July 12th to July 18th, including Batman: Knightfall Pt2.
19-07-10

GKO: PODCAST #33

This week we cover the usual news in the Batman Universe. July 5th to July 11th, including Batman: Knightfall Pt1.
12-07-10

GKO: PODCAST #32

This week we interview writer Judd Winick about the Red Hood.
05-07-10

GKO: PODCAST #31

This week we cover the usual news in the Batman Universe. June 14th to June 20th.
21-06-10

GKO: PODCAST #30

This week we cover the amazing release of Batman #700. June 7th to June 13th.
14-06-10

GKO: PODCAST #29

This week we cover the usual news in the Batman Universe. May 31st to June 6th.
7-06-10

GKO: PODCAST #28

This week we cover the usual news in the Batman Universe. May 24th to May 30th.
31-05-10

GKO: PODCAST #27

This week we cover the usual news in the Batman Universe. May 10th to May 23rd.
24-05-10

GKO: PODCAST #26

We return for a quick April round table episode.
10-05-10

GKO: PODCAST #25

This week is our 25th Anniversary episode including a new co-host.
21-03-10

GKO: PODCAST #24

This week we interview with artist Lee Garbett to talk about his current run on Batgirl
01-03-10

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