Comics V.S. Media – Knightfall v.s. TDKR


Andrew Parisi, Staff Writer

For my second comic book vs media comparison, I wanted to compare one of the most infamous moments in comic book history, to the on-screen adaptation of it. This is the comparison of Batman Knightfall (1993) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Now, these two adaptations both tackle the very important story of the breaking of Batman. 

Now, if you know me, you know that I am a super huge Batman fan. So, besides my undying love for Batman, I want to make notice of why I am writing this piece. So first off, I don’t want to compare comic book events like The Death of Superman because there have been so many different adaptations of it. Superman Doomsday (2007), Batman Vs Superman Dawn of Justice (2016), and The Death of Superman (2018) were all different adaptations of the popular story for example. So covering an event such as Bane breaking Batman’s back and his return has only truly been explored in the comics and the one film, The Dark Knight Rises


Batman Knightfall:

Now last time I explained how trade paperbacks work, and how the term issues is the equivalent to a chapter in a book. A trade paperback is the equivalent to that of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, with it being one portion of the story in an overarching convoluted plot that develops as the books go on.

The comic is separated into 3 major parts, with each part having 3 trade paperbacks for a total of 9 books. The first part is everything up until Batman’s back was broken. The second part was not covered in the film, and this is the biggest difference between the two. The second part is all about the character Azrael, who takes over the mantle as Batman after Bruce is decommissioned. And the third part is all about Bruce Wayne reclaiming the mantle of Batman.

Now I read this entire series over the course of my junior school year, and was thoroughly intrigued. However, this long story does a lot that could not, unfortunately, be added into the film.

The character of Azrael is the first major difference between Batman Knightfall and The Dark Knight Rises. Azrael is an assassin who was trained to help cleanse Gotham if need be. He lacks the morals that Bruce Wayne does. So, when Bruce finally offers the mantle to Azrael, he takes it up without bearing the full weight of it. 

Azrael has Robin (Tim Drake) solve multiple crimes and cases, all while Azrael is focused on taking down Bane. He wants to prove to the Bat-family, himself, his mentors, and the city that he is the superior Batman. James Gordon is the first to notice that Batman isn’t being himself and accuses Azrael of being a copycat.

When conventional crime-fighting methods do not work, Azrael develops a brand new suit in order to stop Bane, and all the other villains of Gotham. The suit features built-in grapplers, a flamethrower, strong metal claws, and all of the other previous gadgets that Bruce Wayne had used.

These unconventional methods led to Azrael having an identity crisis. He had conflicting personalities of Azrael the assassin, Azrael the Batman, and Azrael the normal human being. All of these personalities would conflict with each other, and would lead to the death of some of the villains of Batman’s rogue gallery.  

After a long-awaited healing, and the help of a sorcerer’s handiwork, Bruce Wayne had recovered. After his recovery, he donned a new outfit in order to reclaim the mantle as the one Caped Crusader. Note, this is the first time that a black outfit was used to represent Batman’s attire. Every outfit prior had always been his traditional blue and light gray outfit.

In trade paperback #7 out of 9 total. Batman finally convinced Azrael to return the mantle to him, after beating him with minimal effort. Although he had recovered, Bruce Wayme was still weak. In an attempt to prevent himself from exerting too much force, Bruce Wayne gives the cape and cowl to Dick Grayson, AKA Nightwing. 

When Bane inevitably returned, Bruce Wayne reclaimed the mantle one final time, and stopped the criminal. That’s how the story ends.

The story, in my opinion, was very drawn out. I didn’t cover it a lot, but there are 3 whole trade paperbacks where Bruce Wayne is in a wheelchair and Azrael is doing little to nothing. If you want to get into comic books, I do not recommend this as a starter story, as it is way too drawn out for my liking. However, it was very satisfying reading through Bruce Wayne’s pummeling of Azrael. 


The Dark Knight Rises:

Now The Dark Knight Rises is, in my opinion, much better than the drawn-out comic book plotline. To keep the story simple, Bane comes to Gotham with Thalia al Ghul and the goal is to take over and destroy the city. Bane breaks Batman’s back, and he’s on his own to heal himself.

In the end, Bruce does heal, returns to Gotham, and defeats Bane. I remember when the film came out and was overall terrified by Tom Hardy’s performance. Christian Bale’s work was stellar on this film as well, definitely doing the characters justice. The film did not include any plotline with Azrael (for obvious reasons), and frankly, it made the film that much more engaging. Because instead of dividing my attention between 3 different stories, one of Azrael, one of Bruce, and one of Robin (remember, he just solved crimes alone), it became a more coherent story. By showing us Bane’s success and then Bruce’s struggles while recovering from the bone-shattering injury, it makes the story all the more entertaining. A classic villain versus hero scenario.



I think that the comic book suffers from DC comics’ love of money. The entire story, involving all 3 parts (9 trade paperbacks) lasted from 1993-1994. DC really wanted to add shock value to the story so they had the reader guessing the entire time what Bruce Wayne’s fate was. However, the reader knew that once Bruce Wayne wasn’t dead, he was going to find a way to make a return. So after that point, it just felt really long-winded.

The film having a runtime of 2 hrs and 45 minutes was definitely more enjoyable for me. The story was engaging and I felt compelled to continue watching. The acting felt crisp, despite Tom Hardy’s accent giving me nightmares. But the rest of the film was definitely one of the most enjoyable out of the Christian Bale trilogy. 

Just remember, if you want to get into comics and Batman. Take everything I say with a grain of salt, as I am a huge Batman nerd. But that’s what comic books are all about.