How Did Bane Take Over Gotham City’s Criminal Underworld in Knightfall?
In a special discussion with readers, CSBG continues its look at Knightfall by showing how Bane took over Gotham City’s criminal underworld.
This is “From a Different Point of View,” a feature where I discuss a comic book series with other people. This time around, due to everyone having to self-isolate, I figured I’d do a special edition where I discuss some crossovers with whichever readers that wanted to chat about them! We started off with Marvel’s original Secret Wars and now we’re doing Knightfall!
When last we checked in Knightfall, we discussed Showcase ’93 #8, Knightfall Chapter 14, “Bad Judgment” by Doug Moench and Klaus Janson (who also colored the issue), letters by Ken Bruzenak. Bane has broken Batman’s back. Alfred, Jean-Paul Valley and Robin have secured Batman and taken him back to the Batcave. Robin and Jean-Paul acquired some medicine that could help save Batman’s life. While they wait to see if Batman will wake up, the three of them are just waiting in the Batcave. Robin recalled an incident a while earlier where Batman had been upset with him. While they wait for Batman to wake up (and to find out the extent of his injuries), Robin recounts the story to the others.
It involves Two-Face returning to Gotham, blackmailing a mob boss, and then killing him to get the use of his mob goons. Two-Face then laid a trap for Batman and then put him on trial for betraying him back when Two-Face was just Gotham City district attorney, Harvey Dent. Batman luckily freed himself right before his sentence was carried out and then Robin and Alfred showed up to help out. In the process, Two-Face tried to kill Batman and Robin attacked Two-Face to keep him from killing Batman and Two-Face almost died because of Robin’s actions. Batman told Robin he screwed up, but he then woke up from the coma to let him know that he actually DID make the right decision.
We continue from Batman waking up in Batman #498, Knightfall Part 15, “Knights in Darkness,” by Doug Moench, Jim Aparo, and Rick Burchett, with colors by Adrienne Roy and letters by Richard Starkings.
Tom A. opened up with, “I like how you can just skip the Two-Face issues and not miss anything. Unless you REALLY wanted to see the exact moment Bruce woke up and said something.” I agreed that, yeah, the Showcase issues really were kind of pointless. I also noted, “Rick Burchett becomes the inker du jour on the Jim Aparo farewell tour.” Dean Hacker replied, “Burchett has a sharpness that really works nicely with Aparo.” I continued, “Burchett was finishing Dan Jurgens on Justice League around this time, so he was a big guy for DC.” Flavio Sette replied, “Gonna need to take a look at some of those issues of Justice League at some point. Curious as to how Burchett’s finishes over Jurgens’ pencils look.”
Sean Whitmore joked, “This issue features the character find of 1993: Sal Fiorini, Paul’s boss at Wayne Enterprises.” Flavio asked, “Yeah, does Fiorini ever actually appear? I feel like he’s mentioned occasionally, but doesn’t really make any appearances.” Sean explained, “He was in a few issues prior to Knightfall starting.”
Flavio wondered, “Curious to know what kind of security measures they could’ve put in so quickly that would be worth a damn.” I joked, “Bombs that go off if anyone has a luchador mask nearby.” Tom replied, “I’m curious too. And what security system did the Manor have beforehand? There didn’t seem to even be an alarm unless Bane somehow disabled it.” I replied, “Hey, the front door was locked! Isn’t that enough?” Sean joked, “Anyone with a head smaller than their shoulders is immediately put in an electrified net.”
I opined, “Bane’s gang takeover is high-larious.” Dean replied, “Gotham Gangs are awfully easy to take over.” Tom noted, “Yeah, apparently all you have to do is go into a place, kill somebody and proclaim yourself to be in charge.”
I noted, “Yeah, Bane is taking the Two-Face model. Shoot the head guy and assume the rest of the gang will just follow you.” Flavio replied, “Bane takes over the Gotham underworld in like two days. And he does it while charging 50 cents on the dollar for every buck earned through illegal means. Which is insane.” I questioned, “I wonder how Bane chose THIS gang. They’re a totally nondescript gang. No one we had ever seen.”
Tom wondered, “Say, what was the status of the Penguin during this period? You’d think he’d be involved in this.” Flavio explained, “I think this was before Penguin became a gangster.” I noted, “And by the way, wouldn’t it probably have been a good idea to show one of these mob guys earlier in Knightfall? So that Bane taking over the gang has more meaning to it.” Tom replied, “Yeah, would have been interesting if we’d seen mob guys try and take advantage of the chaos somehow before this. Or at the very least, use some of Batman’s non-insane established villains having their turf being taken over.” Flavio added, “Or at least they should say ‘these guys are in the Irish mafia,’ or like, just say that they belong to a major organization so that it doesn’t seem like they’re just a random gang. It just feels like the whole crew is those six guys.” I continued, “Yeah, therefore, when Bane takes over them later on, it MEANS something. Other than him taking over generic gang #2. It’s not like there wasn’t PLENTY of room in the earlier issues for stuff like this.”
Sean noted, “Organized crime in the Batman books often come off as just window dressing.” Flavio countered, “That did change after No Man’s Land, Sean. Later creators, even as recently as post-Infinite Crisis or post-Flashpoint would go on to flesh out the city’s mobs, or create new histories for them.” I noted, “But even there, it’s that standard thing where creators will do a really good job with Mob Guy #2. But then a new writer will come in, and have Mob Guy #3 be the new guy and Mob Guy #2 is never heard from again.”
Bane and his gang travel through Gotham, just annihilating the other gangs while the Gotham City Police Department seem useless without Batman. I noted, “Are Bane’s guys just murdering cocktail waitresses?” Flavio joked, “‘Selling cigarettes? Not on MY turf!'” And I added, “Gotta love how Bullock and Gordon are like, ‘Oh well, nothing we can do.'” Flavio joked, “See, that right there’s why we gotta abolish the police.” Sean joked, “Big Chief O’Hara vibes here” and Dead added, “‘GCPD: We Barely Care.'”
Flaio noted, “I like the idea of Bane going up to the roof just to yell to no one in particular that he’s taken over the city, and was then like “Shit, I got a business meeting with Catwoman, I gotta hurry home. I knew I shouldn’t have gone to a rooftop just to yell about how awesome I am!”
Bane is now in charge of Gotham, but who will answer the Bat-Signal? And how does Batman’s pals explain away Bruce Wayne’s injuries? And what role does Catwoman play in all of this? Find out in the next few installments!