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"All very interesting, gentlemen - one man fighting another over the right to repeatedly risk his life attired like a bat..."
—Some random crime boss, Batman #510, summing up the climax of the arc.
File:Azrael-b.jpg


Around the time of The Death of Superman, DC started publishing Knightfall, a Bat Family Crossover featured in Detective Comics, Batman, and other related DC titles in the early 1990s. DC wanted to replace the aging Bruce Wayne as Batman, so it drew up a storyline wherein Batman would face each of his major foes one last time before bowing out. The prelude to the storyline took place from September 1992 to February 1993 and focused on introducing several new players in Gotham City and showing the mental state of Bruce Wayne. The main storyline took place from April 1993 to August 1994, and follow-up storylines lasted from August 1994 to February 1995.

The storyline truly begins with the introduction of Jean-Paul Valley, a blond haired ubermensch (code-named Azrael) trained to serve as a killing machine by The Sacred Order of Saint Dumas. Batman and Robin tried, with some success, to undo the brainwashing he suffered at the hands of the Order (called "The System"). Jean-Paul stayed on the sidelines during the prelude, but popped in now and again to remind readers he existed.

DC then introduced readers to Bane. Born and raised in a prison, the super-intelligent Bane underwent experiments to turn him a Super Soldier -- and while they worked, they also made him dependent on the drug known as Venom to achieve his full physical potential. Once he escapes from his "home", he makes it his goal to rule Gotham City, but to achieve his goal, he must dethrone Gotham's "king": The Batman.

Shortly after The Death of Superman, Batman starts breaking down. He starts losing his edge when he becomes unable to meditate and unwilling to rest. Bane watches from a distance as Batman begins to undermine himself, then decides to up the ante by interfering a bit more directly (he sends both Killer Croc and a Venom-enhanced Riddler after the hero). His big move -- the moment the excrement impacts the rotating device -- comes when he busts open Arkham Asylum and gives the escaping inmates enough weapons and supplies to wreak havoc all over Gotham. Batman, suffering from both the flu and sleep deprivation, forces himself to find and take down almost every last escapee.

Batman manages to take down most of his major foes in quick order before they can cause too much damage (some of the more obscure ones don't get captured, and Two-Face doesn't even make an appearance in the first arc), but doing so takes its toll on the Caped Crusader. After The Joker and Scarecrow push him to his limits, Batman returns home to finally rest his weary body. When he arrives home, however, he finds Alfred lying on the floor and Bane standing over him. Thanks to Batman's exhausted physical state, Bane wipes the floor with Bruce in a mostly one-sided fight -- which culminates in Bane lifting Batman above his head before bringing him down on his knee to break Batman's spine.

While Bruce lives, he can no longer assume the role of Batman, so Bruce tells Jean-Paul to assume the role of The Batman -- Gotham still needs its protector, after all -- while forbidding Valley from directly confronting Bane. Az-Bats does a serviceable job as Batman (though he keeps Robin sidelined), but after being exposed to Scarecrow's fear toxin, "The System" kicks in to "protect" Jean-Paul, and he begins to lose control and become more brutal in his confrontations with criminals. He also starts re-designing the Batsuit, first by adding clawed mechanical gloves armed with mini batarangs. He later bemoans his inability to fly and lack of protection against projectiles after a fight with Bane.

Commissioner Gordon becomes suspicious of Az-Bats (who he doesn't know has replaced the real Batman) when he fails, to, well, pull a Batman on him after they talk. Gordon's suspicions grow when the newly armored Batman fights Bane once again, but seemingly with the intent to kill him. Commissioner Gordon begins to order his men to fire upon the "fake" Batman, but when Az-Bats spares Bane's life, Gordon spares Az-Bats'.

Between Az-Bats losing his grip and the general Fan Backlash over Az-Bats, a healed Bruce Wayne eventually retakes the mantle of the Bat -- forcibly, of course, and mostly by outsmarting his mentally unstable protege.

These days, everybody involved says DC planned the whole thing from the start to stick it to readers clamouring for a Darker and Edgier Batman. True? Who knows?

Humorously reenacted here. See also Batman Doom, a Doom Game Mod loosely based on the Knightfall plot arc.


Knightfall contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Distillation / Pragmatic Adaptation: Given the sheer amount of material he had to work with, the Dennis O'Neil novelization managed to do a pretty good job condensing the storylines.
    • There was also a pretty good BBC Radio drama of the arc, which made it understandable even to people who weren't familiar with the comic storyline. Heck, it even managed to work in the Crusade sub-arc.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: A large portion of Detective Comics #660 takes place in one.
  • Abusive Parents: Shondra Kinsolving's foster father, a BRUTAL racist (but with the public appearance of a kind, generous pillar of the community), actually adopted her just so he could beat her.
  • Air Vent Passageway: Az-Bats uses one to ambush his foes.
  • Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: Bane's Venom switch
  • Anti-Hero
  • Anti-Villain: Clayface III and his wife, Lady Clay.
    • Trogg, whose only real crime was killing a corrupt cop for raping his wife.
  • Awesome but Impractical: For some reason, the ears on Batman's costume in the covers for this arc, but not in the actual comics, are about two feet long.
    • It's a staple of Kelley Jones' (the cover artist) drawings of Batman. Once Jones also starts doing interior art in the mid-to-late 90s, Batman gets two-foot long ears in the comics themselves as well.
  • Awesome but Practical: Az-Bats modifies the Batman costume's cape so it can be used to glide. This later became standard in most Batman incarnations.
  • Ax Crazy: At least half the parties involved in the crossover. Joker, Az-Bats, etc. One story that takes place during this crossover is even titled " Murdering Maniaxe".
  • Back From the Dead: Mr. Freeze was brought back to life during this arc, having been killed off beforehand in the Robin II: The Joker's Wild mini-series. His death was Hand waved by explaining that there had been a failsafe feature in his suit when Joker "killed" him.
  • Badass: Multiple examples:
    • Police officer Renee Montoya breaks into the Bates School For Girls and attempts to apprehend Zsasz all by herself (as described in more detail below).
    • Killer Croc picks a fight with Bane while nursing two broken arms (!) and actually manages to hold his own for a while.
    • The Riddler straps a (fake) bomb to his waist and takes an entire TV talk show hostage all by his lonesome - just so he can have a platform to broadcast his riddles to Gotham City's viewers.
    • Bane has men with guns kidnap Catwoman and a male companion and haul them before him, whereupon he threateningly asks Catwoman if she will be willing to work for him. "No," she tells him. "But I will work with you."
  • Badass Spaniard: Bane
  • Bald of Evil: Zombie, arguably the creepiest of Bane's Quirky Miniboss Squad.
  • Banana Republic: Santa Prisca, Bane's homeland.
  • Bat Family Crossover
  • Bedlam House: Though Arkham Asylum doesn't exactly get a lot of screen time in the story, Jeremiah Arkham himself (the place's director) gives it this flattering description:

 "The incessant laughter alone, echoing through the dark steel corridors, is enough to make one doubt the very existence of sanity. Add to that all the shrieks and whimpers, the snarls and whispers, all the cunning and drool-garbed incantations of paranoia and revenge, and one sees that this is NOT, in fact, an ASYLUM. It is, simply and unarguably, a MADHOUSE."

  • Berserk Button: Batman's, as mentioned below, is reliving the death of Jason Todd. Az-Bats is also pretty pissed off when Nightwing yells that he'll always be inferior to Bruce as Batman.
  • Body Horror: Clayface III's condition, which forces him to stay inside a containment suit at all times. Also, Deke Mitchell AKA The Corrosive Man, whose skin literally exudes powerful acid. Which he can feel every second.
  • Bottled Villainous Reserve
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Scarecrow, disguised as a college professor, brainwashes half a dozen teenagers into becoming his loyal henchmen using a combination of fear gas and virtual reality helmets. How crazy are they? One of them doesn't hesitate to kill another student when commanded to, and yet another one (the only one who demonstrates awareness that he is being controlled, but cannot help it) is told to jump off a roof, which he does (Anarky saves him, though).
    • Jean-Paul Valley fits under this as well, especially towards the end of the arc.
    • Mad Hatter and Poison Ivy also both utilize these as henchmen at points in the arc.
  • Breaking Out the Boss: The entire violent psycho wing of Arkham; Bane's minions.
  • Brought to You by The Letter "S": Sorta; the good guys wear black arm badges with Superman's "S" shield in memory of Superman, who had just died.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: Az-Bats' first encounter with Abattoir involves a literal school bus of innocent children.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Nightwing to Batman after he reclaims the cowl, for not calling for (Nightwing's) help, for letting a non-Batfamily member be Batman, and for leaving Tim Drake (Robin) with a complete headcase who might have killed him.
  • Cardboard Prison: Okay, excusable in this case, since Bane had basically attacked Arkham with a small country's worth of firepower.
  • Career Killers: Lady Shiva and Tally Man (the latter of whom was introduced during this arc).
  • Covers Always Lie: A bit of a variation here, but the "next issue" tag at the end of Batman #491 bills Scarecrow in Batman #492, the first "official" part of Knightfall. Scarecrow doesn't appear anywhere in said comic except on the Batcomputer's list of escapees, and the villain that Batman faces in it is, in fact, Mad Hatter.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Batman (Bruce) vs. Bane.
  • Cycle of Revenge: What Bruce was HOPING to avoid by not having Nightwing be Batman. Oops.
  • Damsel in Distress: Many, including Mayor Krol, Shondra Kinsolving & Jack Drake, etc. Invoked by The Joker during Az-Bats' stint as protector of Gotham, where he actually HIRES a college-age girl to act this part for Az-Bats. It almost works, too.
  • Death by Secret Identity: Benedict and his Dragon learn Bruce's identity. Both die. Shondra Kinsolving reverts to childhood.
    • Averted with Bane.
  • Death Trap: Several, though the one built by Abattoir is the most disturbing.
  • Deconstructed Trope: You wanted a Darker and Edgier mainstream Batman? You got it. Enjoy your psychopath.
  • Disability Superpower: A crippled Bruce Wayne still takes down several armed terrorists trying to kidnap his neighbors just by knowing where and how to hit them.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Look, no one's denying that Bane had a nightmarish childhood: growing up in prison, seeing his mother get raped (to death!), getting knocked into a coma for an entire month, doing solitary in a pit full of seawater and rats, being forced to fight other inmates night after night, and finally being unwillingly injected with "Venom" in an unbelievably cruel For Science! experiment that the doctors are almost certain will kill him. But are we to believe that he'd truly want to go to all the trouble of breaking out of prison, traveling to a foreign city he's barely even heard of, and concocting an elaborate scheme to physically and psychologically break down a man he's never met all because that man wears a costume that makes him look like a creature that terrified Bane in nightmares when he was a boy?
    • Bane's entire life has been shaped by this as well. His entire childhood was spent in prison because of a crime his father committed before Bane was even alive. To be fair, said crime was trying to overthrow the freaking state.
    • He didn't go after Batman because he resembled the creature. After learning about him, he decided to beat the biggest, baddest dude in Gotham, because he could never beat the bat in his dreams. He didn't really plan anything after breaking bats.
  • Dumb Muscle: Completely subverted; Bane is one of Batman's most intelligent foes.
    • Played straight by Amygdala and Killer Croc, though.
      • Not so much with Croc. Yes, he's more animalistic than smart, but during his second fight against Bane, he broke his venom injection button to fight in equal grounds.
  • Easter Egg: A quick eye will spot writer Doug Moench and artist Norm Breyfogle (who had contributed massively to the arc) amongst the Batcomputer's list of escapees from Arkham Asylum.
  • Einstein Hair: The Mad Hatter - which is fitting, considering that he's mad and is a master of electronic mind-manipulation.
  • Estrogen Brigade Bait: Director. Joker. OM NOM NOM.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Mad Hatter's chimpanzee (eh, close enough) actually took down a trained and highly dangerous falcon.
    • And a frightened monkey keeps Batman company as he rests following his capture of Firefly at the Gotham Zoo.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Well, more like Anti-hero, but mweh.
  • Fan Nickname: Az-Bats
  • Fan Service: Zsasz infiltrates the Bates School For Girls in the middle of the night, so all his potential victims are wearing skimpy nighties and undies.
  • Faux Action Girl: Officer Renee Montoya. She sneaks into the Bates School For Girls (undeniably gutsy, especially since another police officer and a SWAT team member have already been butchered by Zsasz for daring to do so) and tries to capture Zsasz all by herself. Only Zsasz ends up taking her hostage, too, and only Batman's intervention saves her from getting her throat slit.
    • Batman's arrival only stalls things. Montoya ultimately frees herself from Zsasz's grip with a headbutt.
  • Flash Back: Classic-Bats' entire fight with Two-Face is told this way, as the writers apparently forgot (or didn't have the room) to show Two-Face in "present time" before they had Batman face Bane.
  • Follow the Leader: Coming on the heels of The Death of Superman arc, one could see Knightfall as DC Comics' attempt to continue pulling in revenue during what was a boom period of Comic Book readership by making drastic changes to an iconic character.
  • Freudian Excuse: Quite a few: Garfield Lynns (The Firefly) and his sister were put in a foster home at a very young age. Harvey Dent (Two-Face) was abused as a child. Bane and his mother were imprisoned for a crime his father had committed, and during that time Bane was subjected to a cruel medical experiment. However, Batman does not buy into the trope: "A tortured childhood is no excuse for being a monster. I know."
  • General Ripper: Mayor Krol is a very mild version of this; instead of the normal "they're just misunderstood people" Gotham bureaucrats, he flat-out tells Gordon that if his men want to minimize casualties, they should shoot to kill.
    • Straw Man Has a Point: He did get elected on a strong law-and-order platform, and he points out that hundreds of Gothamites will die at the hands of serial killers if Gordon's men don't employ lethal force.
  • Genius Bruiser: Bane.
  • Girl of the Week: Shondra Kinsolving, perhaps Bruce's only serious love interest that's black. Her... reasons for dropping out of the running stir up more than a few Unfortunate Implications.
  • Go Among Mad People: The Death Trap that Joker puts Dr. Arkham at Arkham Asylum (where else?) is hinted to have driven the good doctor mad by the time Batman rescues him.
  • A God Am I: One of Az-Bats' first opponents is The Scarecrow under this delusion. This sort of personality for Scarecrow is rarely, if ever, brought up again.
  • Gun Porn: The "final" story that takes place during Knightquest, featuring Gunhawk, features an ungodly amount of this. Fitting, considering that its writer, Chuck Dixon, is a self-proclaimed gun enthusiast.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Zsasz gives this to Batman during their fight. Batman, already exhausted both physically and mentally, snaps when he suggests that they are Not So Different, and almost beats the guy to death.
  • Harmless Villain: While the Riddler may have been helped by Venom beforehand, he's considered so inconsequential compared to the other Arkham escapees that Robin takes him out by himself. Heck, Mad Hatter was given more priority than he was!
    • Maxie Zeus. The Novelization explains it best:

 "It is my will that I be thus bound [in a straitjacket]," he told his loyal subjects, the grass and trees. "It pleasures me to deny myself my omnipotence as it pleasured me to bring wrathful lightning bolts upon the place where it pleasured me to be incarcerated. They thought to imprison a god? Ha! Do the fools not realize my might --"

One of his loyal subjects, a maple tree, reared up before him and he ran into it. He broke his nose and fell unconscious.

  • Heroic BSOD: What almost happens to Batman once he hears that Arkham's been busted open.
    • Bruce does slip into one for a while after Bane beat him.
  • Heroic RROD: What actually does happen to Batman that leads to possibly his most devastating defeat.
  • ~He's Back~
  • Hoist Hero Over Head: Bane does this a lot, but never more strikingly than in this storyline, when he hoists Batman over his head and slams him down on his knee, breaking Batman's back.
  • Hollywood Acid: The Corrosive Man's "self-sustaining acid-based metabolism".
  • Hulk Speak: Amygdala.
  • Human Popsicle: Mr. Freeze, deprived of his usual refrigerated suit, has undergone a more ordinary version of this trope when he's first found by the police.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: Cornelius Stirk and Abattoir.
  • I Have Many Names: In regards to the Saga itself. Despite the use of "Knightfall" to talk about the whole saga, the title was only used to describe Bane's reign of terror, his attack on Bruce Wayne, and Jean-Paul Valley taking up the identity of Batman. Then you've got "Knightquest", which was was two story arc under the same umbrella name. One was "The Crusade" which details Jean-Paul's tenure as Batman and descent into madness, though outside of these elements, most of the stories published were standalone stories. The other was "The Search" which follow Bruce Wayne's search for Jack Drake and Shondra Kinsolving and his recovery from his injuries. Lastly, there's "Knight's End", where the first half deals with Bruce Wayne's retraining and getting back into shape, and the second half deals with Bruce redonning the Batsuit and--with Nightwing, Robin, and brefly, Catwoman,--confronting Jean-Paul and taking back the identity.
  • I Know Karate: Scarecrow. No, really.
  • I Work Alone: The treatment Robin gets from BOTH Batmans (Batmen?) throughout this series.
  • Kangaroo Court: A Flash Back that Robin has briefly after Batman has been broken depicts Batman being put on one by Two-Face, providing further explanation as to why he's so tired during the events of this arc.
  • Knife Nut: Zsasz.
    • Zombie is one as well, being a professional knife-thrower and such.
  • Laughing Mad: Joker, Joker, Joker.
  • Licking the Blade: Mr. Zsasz in a woman's dorm does this after killing one of his hostages.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Bane
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Seriously, this arc reaches into the deepest depths of C-List Fodder, fishing out guys like Abattoir, The Cavalier, and The Ratcatcher when they've run out of big-name villains.
  • Master of Disguise: While Az-Bats protects Gotham, Bruce really gets to show off his disguise skills during his globe-hopping trip in search of Shondra Kinsolving and Jack Drake.
  • The Merch: The few figures in the Hasbro's Legends of Batman toyline that didn't correspond to the Elseworlds theme of most of the figures could be called Knightfall: the Toyline, as they were based on the characters in the comics at the time and the events were mentioned in a few of the figures bios. Included were Crusader Batman (a normal Bruce Wayne Batman figure), Nightwing, Catwoman, the Joker, the Riddler (Bane injecting him with Venom was mentioned in his bio), and a few figures of Azrael as Batman. Despite this, Bane never got a figure, but the Bane figure from the Batman and Robin toyline was based the comics version of the character rather than the movie one, so that figure should fit in quite nicely. DC Direct later did a toyline based on the story featuring Bruce in the Tengu outfit, Nightwing, Catwoman, Bane, and Azrael Batman.
    • Misaimed Marketing: Hasbro's Legends of Batman toyline was marketed towards children. Thankfully, they showed some restraint by not doing figures based on characters like Zsasz or Abattoir. Still, making three figures of Az-Bats for kids and mentioning the events in quite a few of the figures' bios does enter WTF territory.
    • Comic Accuracy/Toy Accuracy: The first Azrael-Batman figure, Knightquest Batman, was colored in Azrael-esque colors rather than the colors of his Batman armor. Lapses into Hilarious in Hindsight as years after both Knightfall was over and the the toyline's run had finished, Azrael briefly sported a version of his Batman armor in a similar color scheme to the figure during the "Bruce Wayne: Fugitive" arc.
  • Missing Episode: Of a sort. While Knightfall and Knightsend were collected into trade paperbacks, Knightsquest and everything in between weren't. Very odd given that there are hundreds of Batman TP Bs, ranging from storylines to random collections, even one devoted solely to the Bat Cave. Why Knightsquest wasn't considered worthy of collection is anyone's guess.
  • Monster Clown: Why the hell do you even need to highlight this?!
    • Same reason they're highlighting this: to see why anyone bothered to put such a lengthy text in spoiler caps where the entry was so simple and obvious.
  • More Dakka: Tally Man fires way more shots than needed to kill his targets.
    • And Gunhawk. Dear lord, Gunhawk.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast
    • Abbatoir - French for "slaughterhouse"
    • Amygdala - part of the brain responsible for feelings of primal rage
    • Bane - old-fashioned term for "scourge"
    • Killer Croc (Killer. Do I really need to explain this one?)
    • Poison Ivy (Ditto.)
    • Zsasz (Doesn't mean anything in particular, but damned if it doesn't sound scary!)
  • Nice Hat: Mad Hatter's all-important top hat, which serves as both a two-way radio and the central controller for his mind-controlling hats. And his exploding bowler hats.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Thanks to Anarky's meddling, Scarecrow almost manages to escape from his confrontation with Az-Bats.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Mr. Zsasz
  • Nineties Anti-Hero
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: During the Joker's "return" during Az-Bats' time as Gotham's protector, he kills two men that look an awful lot like Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert...
    • While classic-Bats was running himself ragged, the Riddler took a talk show host and her audience hostage on live TV. The host of the show, Cassie Josie Rudolpho, was basically a blonde Sally Jessy Raphael.
    • Some psychobabbler shills his "I'm ok, you're ok" book based off of the Arkham escape on Harry Mann (Larry King) and Link Rambeau (Rush Limbaugh).
  • No Ending: The Novelization. Alfred is gone and Bruce hasn't decided whether to resume being Batman. The final lines of the book are potent.

 "Bruce, is there still a Batman?" Tim asked finally.

"Damned if I know," Bruce said.

    • The novel even Lampshades this with its opening quote:

 Endings to be useful must be inconclusive - Samuel R. Delany, The Einstein Intersection

  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: JASON!
  • The Obi-Wan: Lady Shiva becomes this to Bruce for a while.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The Riddler infiltrates the TV studio during the taping of Rudolpho's program by wearing a baseball cap and trench coat over his usual mask and costume.
  • Passing the Torch
  • Perverse Puppet: Ventriloquist's many substitutes for his main Demonic Dummy, Scarface (including "Socko").
  • Pet the Dog: Before Az-Bats had gone completely off the edge, he did get a few of these, most notably the Alan Grant storyline with the illegal immigrant's baby.
  • Pie in the Face: As part of his movie-themed crimes, the Joker ambushes Az-Bats by having his henchmen pelt the guy with knockout-drug-laced cream pies. All the while, the entire scene is set up like a 1920s silent picture - Az-Bats specifically notes that the only sound present is "the tinkling of a ragtime piano".
    • There's also a bit of Uncanny Valley in this scene, as the Joker's men are all dressed in drab grey clothing, have completely bleached-out skin, and are moving in a comically "jerky" manner (apparently in an attempt to look like actual silent-movie characters). As is true of most things with the Joker, this twists the humor into a Nightmare Fuel dimension: you can't tell whether these thugs are human beings, incredibly lifelike robots, or some unspeakable combination of the two.
  • Police Are Useless: Explicitly mentioned by Alfred in the arc's novelization. The one real "victory" for the police, Maxie Zeus, captured himself by running into a tree without even freeing himself of his straitjacket.
  • Power Armor: Az-Bats converts the Batman suit into this.
  • Punctuated Pounding: Jason! Todd!
  • Pyromaniac: Firefly.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: Bruce's disguise as Sir Hemingford Grey during his stay in England is that of an extremely rude, crass Upperclass Twit.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The eyes of the masks of Azrael's armor as Batman sported red eyes instead of the usual white ones. There's also the lenses of Bane's mask.
  • Relative Button: Scarecrow & Joker (Joker especially) find out that making Bats hallucinate Jason Todd's murder is a VERY BAD IDEA.
  • Rogues Gallery Showcase: Over the course of the story you run across virtually all of Batman's major villains and a good portion of the very minor ones - and they even introduce a bunch of new guys!
  • Run the Gauntlet: Dear lord, this gauntlet puts the ones that Jeph Loeb came up with to shame!
  • Save the Villain: Many examples from both Batmen, but the one that immediately comes to this troper's mind is the conclusion of the fight with Two-Face.
    • Averted with Abattoir. During a System-induced hallucination, Jean-Paul lets him die, which in turn lets a prisoner Abattoir had die and caused a recovered Bruce to realize he made a mistake in appointing Jean-Paul to fill in and forces Bruce to take back the cowl.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Not quite, but Bane does time saying that he will "BREAK YOU!" to Bats just as he delivers the crippling blow.
  • Separated at Birth: One of the Trigger Twins suggests this origin to his brother. It's never confirmed.
  • Serial Killer: Mr. Zsasz and Abattoir. Of the two, Abattoir most closely resembles a real serial killer, having as he does a set, obsessive pattern.
  • Series Continuity Error: In Batman #496, Scarecrow openly grumbles that his fear gas won't work on Joker. He apparently forgets this little fact a mere three issues later, in Detective Comics #664, where he sprays Joker with his fear gas. Surprise, surprise - Joker reacts by asking him if he has different flavors, and beats the crap out of Scarecrow with a chair. (And mind you, both these issues were part of the same story, so not even the taken-for-granted loose continuity of different comic book story arcs can justify this).
    • Detective Comics #661: Riddler is seen in his suit-and-bowler hat outfit, in his hideout, and planning a caper. Detective Comics #662: He's shown in his jumpsuit, and it's a given that it's supposed to be the same scene. Considering that Riddler's arm was in a cast during his scene, there's very little reason for him to suddenly change outfits.
    • Another one, involving a lot of the issues already mentioned--Detective Comics #662, Batman #496, Detective Comics #663, Batman #497, and Detective Comics #664 all take place in that order and most, if not all, of them are on the same freaking night to boot. Batman's clean-shaven in the former two and Batman #496 ends on a cliifhanger. Detective Comics #663 picks up where it left off, but suddenly, Bats has stubble. It would be Depending on the Artist if then-Detective Comics artist, Graham Nolan, has done it alone. The problem is then-Batman artist, Jim Aparo, partook in it, too.
  • Shout-Out: One of the Ventriloquist's puppets is an Irish-accented cop named "O'Hara."
    • The arc pitting Az-Bats against Joker is chock-full of references to classic cinema, from Casablanca to RoboCop to the silent slapsticks of the 1920s.
  • Single-Minded Twins: The Trigger Twins always seem to be on the exact same wavelength. Hell, they met when they tried to rob the same bank at the same time.
  • Slasher Smile: Not only The Joker, but Tally Man as well.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: It's a nineties comic. What did you expect? Joker's ice cream cone of explodey death stands out pretty well.
  • Superhero Paradox: Anarky comes to this conclusion and thus reasons that Batman, however noble his intentions may be, is a bad thing for Gotham in the long run. This leads to Anarky attempting to kill him, resulting in the Nice Job Breaking It, Hero above.
  • Swiss Army Appendage
  • Sword Cane: The Joker wields one during his final showdown with Az-Bats, along with a revolver in his other hand.
  • Take That: Az-Bats was a Take That to The Dark Age of Comic Books superheroes, according to the Word of God.
  • Ten-Minute Retirement
  • That's What I Would Do: The Batmobile is stolen. Batman gets it back, starts the car...and it explodes. Fortunately, he guesses this just in time to leap out of the car. Robin asks him how he guessed the villain had wired the car to blow. Batman's response: "Because that's what I'd do."
  • Theme Naming: Bane's henchmen, Bird, Trogg and Zombie, are all named for 60s rock groups.
    • In that case, he should've been "Byrd" since the band was called "the Byrds", not "the Birds".
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill
  • Too Dumb to Live: Az-Bats fires a flamethrower after getting doused with fuel, thus setting himself on fire. Admittedly he was crazy and armoured, but still.
    • Also, the Siskel and Ebert expies, who criticize a movie directed by The Joker.
  • Too Many Belts: Granted, he did ditch it during one of his modifications to his armor, but what was the point of the utility belt on Az-Bats's leg?
  • Took a Level In Badass: Once doused with Venom, Riddler can go toe-to-toe with Batman, and would've beaten him had Bane's henchmen not shot him (long story).
  • Training From Hell: Lady Shiva's "training" for Bruce to regain his fighting prowess is to have him don a Tengu mask that she herself wore when she killed an Old Master. This prompts said Old Master's seven disciples to come after Bruce, who beats them one-by-one, regaining his prowess bit by bit along the way.
    • In the novelization, he simply trains with her for an extended period, until he can both hold his own and it feels good to fight again.
  • Train Job: The Trigger Twins, a pair of Western Outlaw-themed gunmen, plan to pull one off on a modern-day bullet train.
    • Traintop Battle: What inevitably ensues when Az-Bats catches up with the two.
  • Underestimating Badassery
  • Victory by Endurance: The way Bane defeats Batman.
  • Villain Team-Up: Remarkably few in number, given how many inmates escape from Arkham. Joker & Scarecrow's (brief) partnership is the most prominent. Also, there's the Ventriloquist and Amygdala. This doesn't last very long.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Scarecrow and Joker. In fact, after Joker taunts Scarecrow once too often, he gets some "fear gas" sprayed in his face and retaliates by beating Scarecrow unconscious with a chair.
  • Weak but Skilled/Unskilled but Strong: How Batman and Jean Paul fight in the finale. Batman is in peak condition but it's his skills that make him dangerous. Jean is no slouch either but he relied more and more on armor upgrades until he was pretty much wearing a smaller Hulk-Buster costume.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Both Batmen do a good job of rounding up the Arkham escapees, but three (Killer Croc, Ventriloquist, and Joker) are still at large by the time the story ends properly, with no resolution to their status.
    • The Ventriloquist and Croc loose ends are tied up in the follow-up "Prodigal" storyline. Joker, on the other hand, does seem to vanish into thin air after escaping down the street in his hospital gurney.
      • Also a lot of stuff is unanswered for the poor souls who have only the three trades to read on the matter. Another example would be that Bruce had seven students to fight but only six appear in the third volume.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tim Drake's reaction to Jean Paul Valley's... take on being Batman, even before the costume modifications.
    • Dick Grayson gives Bruce one of these for not appointing him the new Batman.
    • Both Dick and Tim give this to Bruce when he uses a lethal move to defeat the last disciple in his training. It is later averted though, since he only pretended to kill him for Sheva to see, but actually measured his strength to merely knock him out.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Expounded in the Novelization. Training with Lady Shiva, Bruce realizes to his shock that violence was always a part of him, and that he enjoyed it, even when convincing himself that it was a means to an end. Without reveling and enjoying violence, instead of just as a means to an end, Bruce was ineffective.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Literally, in Mayor Krol's case.
  • The Worf Effect: Killer Croc basically boils down to a convenient excuse for Bane to demonstrate his power. Later on, he fights Bane again... and loses.
    • Their second fight was unconcluded due to a flood. Bane resurfaced first, but only because he had to keep appearing in the storyline.
  • Would Not Hit a Girl: Subverted: Batman hurls a Batarang at Poison Ivy's head while battling her and her brainwashed slaves, breaking the skin of her lower lip and making her bleed. Then, just before handcuffing her, he kicks her in the face, purely out of spite.
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