The Dark Knight Rises weekend is over, and most of the people who have wanted to see end to the Batman trilogy have hopefully gotten a chance to see it. For those who haven't seen the film, shy away from the rest of this now because I may spoil a few things here and there!
After watching The Dark Knight Rises, you may be wondering where the ideas for this story came from? Most hardcore fans of the world of Batman will tell you that this movie's story comes mainly from two big story lines in the Batman universe: Knightfall and No Man's Land. Sure, you can say that parts of this movie derived from other storylines like Long Halloween (which influenced Batman Begins and The Dark Knight more than anything) and Batman: Year One, but Knightfall and No Man's Land are the real heart here.
So now that you've seen the movie, and know what it's based on. Let's take a look at the actual storylines and see what makes them so great. Two of my favorite Batman story lines that I'm already going to recommend you pick up in trade.
This is the iconic story where Bane beats the heck out of Batman and breaks his back. To sum this all up, Bane tires out Batman by letting baddies out of prison, then when they face each other, Bane puts him out of commission. While Bruce is trying to recover, Jean-Paul Valley takes over as a much more violent and technologically adept Batman. Bruce has enough and takes Jean-Paul down, but, as you may know, there's much more than that.
Recently, DC Comics rereleased the storyline in two books, rather than the three books which they've had in the past. Either of these versions are fine to pick up.
That iconic scene with Bane breaking Batman's back in the movie in here in this book. This is the intelligent, strategic Bane here.
This book also deals with Bruce/Batman coming back from the "dead" essentially. As a reader, you think Bruce is done for good, so there's a feeling of hopelessness, like in the film as Bruce rebuilds.
There's a whole lot different about Bane here. He relies on Venom to gain strength, and he's a much bigger brute here. He is a one man army. He may not be as creepy or terrifying as the Dark Knight Rises counter-part, but he's the first villain Batman fought who actually won.
A lot of this book revolves around Bruce Wayne rebuilding himself to become Batman again, while he does this, however, Jean-Paul Valley takes over as Batman and he does not hold back. It all boils down to a Batman versus Batman showdown.
No Man's Land
This is one epic storyline. This takes place over 5 collected trades, six if you count Cataclysm, which you should. It's a lot of reading, but worth every second of it.
In No Man's Land, a huge earthquake hits Gotham and the government quarantines the island. Bruce leaves Gotham in order to appeal to the government for aide. The city breaks down into sectors run by different gangs, and when Bruce returns, 100 days later, he's got a lot to clean up. Sound familiar? Minus the specifics, this is a big part of The Dark Knight Rises story.
When you pick this one up, which you really should, you better be ready to devote yourself to roughly 90 issues of comic books.
The whole idea of the city being held hostage by criminals is there as well as the government trying to keep its citizens in the city.
Batman/Bruce being gone for the city as it wades in its own filth/crime is also there.
What Dark Knight Rises doesn't take from this as much as it could have is the idea of factions and the town being split up into different sectors. Villains run these sectors, GCPD has a sector. This is a big book and follows so much.
This is more than just about Batman. It's about the Batfamily and how this quarantine affects the DC Universe. Aside from Batfamily members, you'll also see Superman, Young Justice, and even Hitman. This story is a lot bigger than Batman and it's one of my top five Batman story lines.
So, there you have it, two great Batman story lines which had elements in the recent The Dark Knight Rises film. I highly suggest seeking these two stories out at either your LCS, on the web, or digitally. Have you guys read these books? What other Batman story lines appear in the The Dark Knight Rises?