Who Is that Cowled Man?
This middle volume is a little bit of a letdown, though that isn't too surprising, considering where it falls in the spectrum of the whole major arc. The good news of this volume is it collects for the first time a lot of the issues involved in this period. Fans of The Search may be disappointed, since it does not have any of those issues (and probably should), but by this point no one should be surprised this collection is missing them, and those who are interested in this storyline will find enough to be interested anyway. Fans of the real Batman may not need this collection, though Azrael/Jean-Paul Valley fans will certainly be glad this collection exists, even if the stories aren't all that meaningful for most of the collection. It does have some highlights here and there, but it does take a fairly long time to build up any steam or interest, especially to the casual Batfan. The only really interesting thing going on for most of the collection is J-P's internal conflict: is he an Angel of Death, a heartless assassin like his father wanted him to be; or is he an Shadow Instrument of Good, a noble defender of the poor who has to take the grime of corruption upon himself? This culminates in one of the darker issues of the collection - some may say "especially for 1993!" but dark is dark, regardless of what year it is published. The other "highlight" of the collection is Gordon's increasing despair with the new Batman. It's not enjoyable to see him realize he is now all alone, but his character moments are great in its way. The culminating panel of Gordon destroying the Bat signal should have received a bigger space for such a drastic event. Completists will most likely want to pursue the diasporic issues (lists of which are available elsewhere), if they don't already have them, but those who are only interested in the major Knightfall Saga will be more than satisfied by this 20-year reunion collection. It's not as good as the first, but it was good to finally read what the KnightQuest was all about.