REVIEW: ‘Tales From The DC Dark Multiverse: Knightfall,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Tales From The DC Dark Multiverse: Knightfall #1 is published by DC Comics and is part of the one-shot series following six corrupt versions of DC’s Super Heroes as they arrive to terrorize Earth. The issue is written by Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins, with art by Javier Fernandez, colors by Alex Guimarāes, and letters by Clayton Cowles. The issue is a re-telling of the classic story Batman: Knightfall where Batman famously took on Bane only to become broken in every sense of the word.

In Tales From The DC Dark Multiverse: Knightfall #1, it is 30 years after that fateful night and Bruce Wayne has failed to take back the mantle of the Bat. Instead, Jean-Paul Valley has taken his place as Saint Batman. However, Saint Batman has a much more brutal sense of justice and willing kills those he considers criminals, leaving Gotham in a constant state of fear.

Tales From The DC Dark Multiverse: Knightfall #1 starts with a reminder of how the Dark Multiverse became intertwined with the DC continuity back in Dark Knights: Metal, which was also the brainchild of Snyder. The flashback to The Batman Who Laughs’ origin is guided by Tempus Fuginaut, a cosmic being tasked with preventing intrusions from other Universes, especially from the Dark Multiverse. Tempus Fuginaut’s narration sets up the timeline and is a brilliant way to guide readers through this alternative timeline. This is not the world we know and this Bruce Wayne was never successful. Instead, we are introduced to a much bleaker outcome. In this dystopian, sci-fi future there is little hope as Bruce is nothing more than a head and torso that has been continuously tortured over the years.

Jean-Paul Valley’s Saint Batman is a disturbed character with a warped sense of justice. He has tortured Bruce in hopes of gaining his approval. Saint Batman has continued to hurt those close to the original Dark Knight in hopes of breaking Bruce further. Watching Bane break Bruce in the original comic is heartbreaking but watching Bruce become as helpless as he is in this issue is somehow worse. The introduction of Bane’s son is unique and while the character attempts to bring Bane back to humanity, he also recognizes his father’s flaws and how he became lost in his own crusade, similar to Batman in the original Batman: Knightfall and now Saint Batman.

The beauty of Jean-Paul Valley is his connection to his faith. It guides him and holds him back at the same time. As part of the Sacred Order of Saint Dumas, Valley has been brainwashed through psychological conditioning. He lives under the constant pressure and fear of failing the order. In Tales From The DC Dark Multiverse: Knightfall #1, Valley feels he has not lived up to the mantle of Azreal or Batman. Because of this, he has become more and more unhinged.

Tales From The DC Dark Multiverse: Knightfall #1 is, at moments, very convoluted, like everything that has come out of Dark Knights: Metal. However, it is also a fantastic elseworld story that works as a character study of Jean-Paul Valley. And, in that character study, the issue shows just how close Bruce Wayne and Jean-Paul Valley actually are. Valley’s religious crusade is not as far off from Bruce’s own crusade against crime.

Snyder and Higgins craft a haunting story that is devoid of hope. Additionally, Guimarāes’ dark color palette fits this grim and dystopian Gotham. Meanwhile, Fernandez’s art excels, particularly in its close-ups. A lot of the emotional depth of the characters is seen in their eyes. It isn’t hard to see just how lost Jean-Paul Valley is when his expression also mirrors that. Overall, Tales From The DC Dark Multiverse: Knightfall #1 is a must-read for Batman fans, particularly fans of the original Batman: Knightfall. Fans will be happy to know that Dark Knights: Metal is not required reading before picking up this issue. The Dark Multiverse one-shots continue with The Death of Superman.

Tales From The DC Dark Multiverse: Knightfall #1 is available now wherever comic books are sold.

Tales From The DC Dark Multiverse: Knightfall #1
4.5

TL;DR

Overall, Tales From The DC Dark Multiverse: Knightfall #1 is a must-read for Batman fans, particularly fans of the original Batman: Knightfall. Fans will be happy to know that Dark Knights: Metal is not required reading before picking up this issue.