5 Batman Comic Book Stories to Prepare You for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 27th, 2013 at 2:10 pm, This is a list post.

Dark Knight Rises Comic Book Stories Just as Batman Begins was partially based on Frank Miller's Batman: Year One, and The Dark Knight was based on a multitude of Batman stories - The Killing Joke and Long Halloween among them - Christopher Nolan, Jonathon Nolan, and David S. Goyer have clearly been inspired by a handful of Batman comic book stories in their development of The Dark Knight Rises. And while nothing in the world can truly prepare Batman fans for the end of Nolan's beloved Dark Knight trilogy (short of paying large quantities of $$$ for extensive psychotherapy), becoming thoroughly familiar with the source material is your best and least costly option. We've constructed a list featuring of five comic book stories that you should probably read in preparation for The Dark Knight Rises. Are you ready for the legend to end?

Batman: Legacy

Batman Versus Bane in Batman Legacy

"Batman: Legacy" is a sequel to another Batman story arc - "Contagion" - and serves, in some small part, as a follow-up to "Knightfall." Specifically, "Legacy" features the first rematch between Batman and Bane since the latter put the former into a wheelchair. After an outbreak of an incredibly lethal disease known as "The Clench" (but also known as the Ebola Gulf A, the Apocalypse Plague, and the Filovirus for some reason), Batman joins forces with Robin, Nightwing, Oracle, The Huntress, Azrael, and Catwoman to find its cure. The search leads them to the Middle East, where they learn that Ra's al Ghul and Bane - his new heir - are responsible for its release. Eventually, Batman and company return to Gotham City to stop Ra's and his League of Assassins from unleashing the disease onto the public. Batman manages to destroy the disease before it can do any real damage, then goes on to beat the dickens out of Bane in hand-to-hand combat. "Batman: Legacy" might not be fondly recalled as one of the great Batman stories, but its similarities to The Dark Knight Rises are undeniable - in particular, Bane's connection to Ra's al Ghul and his League of Assassins (the comic book equivalent of the League of Shadows from Batman Begins). Of course, we'll have to wait and see if Bane actually has connections to the League of Shadows in the forthcoming film, but it certainly seems likely at this point.

Batman, Incorporated Season 2

Talia Al Ghul in Batman Incorporated Batman, Incorporated season 2 - which is being published currently - is the culmination of Grant Morrison's legendary six-year-long Batman run. Drawn by the increasingly excellent Chris Burnham, it follows Batman and Robin (Damian Wayne, Batman's son with Talia al Ghul) as they fight to stop Talia from…well, murdering Damian. The name "Batman, Inc." refers to Bruce Wayne franchising and publicly financing the Batman brand on an international scale. Now, there's a Batman - or a Batman equivalent - in many countries and cities the world over. The implementation of Batman Inc. was done in an effort to be better prepared in the fight against the mysterious Leviathon, who was ultimately revealed to be Talia. While season 2 is ongoing, Batman Incorporated is one of the few Batman stories where Talia poses a serious threat to her "beloved," A.K.A. "the Detective," A.K.A. Batman. Previously, she was little more than a means for Ra's al Ghul to extend his legacy by marrying her off - now, she's the main event, smarter and more devious than Ra's himself.  Plus, she wants to hurt Batman like he's never been hurt before - by going after his one and only biological son. If rumors are to be trusted (and of course, they aren't always), Talia al Ghul will be in The Dark Knight Rises. Batman, Incorporated - and Morrison's Batman run as a whole - is your best bet for understanding just how dangerous she can be. Batman: Incorporated season 2 #3 hits shelves July 25 2012.

Catwoman: Selina's Big Score

Catwoman Selina's Big Store We can only guess as to what comic book stories influenced Christopher Nolan's version of Catwoman (as played by Anne Hathaway), if any at all. One can assume that it'll be a mish-mash of iterations - a la Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker - but again, that's a total assumption, and very possibly an incorrect one. So instead of suggesting a Catwoman comic book story that directly influenced The Dark Knight Rises in some manner, we've instead included a story that is just downright entertaining and excellent. "Selina's Big Score" was written and drawn by the great Darwin Cooke (DC: The New Frontier), the man who redesigned Catwoman as we know her today, goggles and all. It's essentially an old-school heist story with film noir leanings, reminiscent of Cooke's Parker adaptations with a beautiful, vibrant visual style that recalls his The Spirit re-imagining. The story follows Selina as she gathers a team of professional thieves to take down a mob train full of unmarked cash. By the end, the entire team is killed but Selina, who escapes with the money and a bit of a broken heart. As far as plot goes, it's all fairly conventional stuff, but what "Selina's Big Score" lacks in innovative writing, it more than makes up for with Cooke's breathtakingly colorful visuals.

Batman: No Man's Land

Batman No Man's Land "No Man's Land" was Greg Rucka's first foray into Batman-land (but his best, in my opinion, was Batwoman). Following the "Cataclysm" storyline - where a major earthquake all-but-destroyed Gotham City - the U.S. government evacuated, abandoned, and isolated the city, declaring it a "no man's land." Unfortunately, this left all the poor people who couldn't get out of town at the mercy of the criminals and super-criminals who refused to leave. As for how much "No Man's Land" has influenced The Dark Knight Rises, it's entirely unclear at this point. Originally, it was thought that Bane might have a Tesla-esque Earthquake machine (the imploding football field in the trailers seemed to confirm this), but his mystery machine was revealed to be something else altogether. That said, The Dark Knight Rises still seems to borrow a few elements from "No Man's Land" - particularly the way in which Bane and his mercenaries have cut Gotham City off from the rest of the world, leaving its citizens at the mercy of the villains inside. Might the Batman of TDKR also gather a coalition of super-friends (after his initial defeat at the hands of Bane) to help him eventually save Gotham from its "reckoning," as he did in the "No Man's Land" comic book? We'll soon find out.

Batman: Knightfall

Bane Versus Batman Knightfall "Knightfall" (which led into "Knightquest" and finally "KnightsEnd") was a major part of DC's big 1990s push to be more edgy and extreme following the death of Superman. After Bane discovers Batman's secret identity, he sets out to utterly exhaust him both physically and mentally by releasing every single big bad guy from Arkham Asylum for the Caped Crusader to deal with. Batman, of course, deals with every single big bad, but when he returns home to what he assumes is the safety of Wayne Manor, he finds Bane waiting for him - and he's just too tired to defeat a giant 'roid freak in a fist fight. Thus, Bane proceeds to snap Batman's back over his enormous right knee, which paralyzes Bruce Wayne forever (fortunately, "forever" in comic books translates to approximately one year). In a moment of desperation, Batman passes the bat-mantle to a man named Jean Paul Valley - previously the armored vigilante Azrael of the insidious cult "The Sacred Order of Saint Dumas." At first, things go fairly smoothly. Using "The System" (deep psychological brainwashing from "Dumas"), Valley builds an ostentatious armored bat-suit that would make Rob Liefeld blush and defeats Bane pretty brutally, but without killing him. However, the longer Valley "plays" Batman, the more his brainwashing takes hold and the more violent and (gulp) deadly he becomes. Eventually, Bruce Wayne rehabilitates himself, re-dons the cowl, and - with the help of Robin and Nightwing - defeats the psychotic and armored Azrael Batman. All's well that ends well? While "Nightfall/Knightquest/KnightsEnd" started swimmingly - the book depicting Azbats (as he's sometimes referred) taking down Bane is particularly thrilling - it suffers from a general '90s malaise and a less than satisfying conclusion. We don't yet know how much The Dark Knight Rises will borrow from "Nightfall/Knightquest/Knightsend," but we do know from the trailers that Bane will - perhaps early on? - beat Batman senseless, and it might be a beating that takes him out of the game for a good chunk of the movie. Will Christian Bale's Batman have his back broken? It's possible, if unlikely. Will someone other than Bruce Wayne take over the bat mantle? Probably not, but there has been a lot of speculation on that front.

Batman Versus Bane Dark Knight Rises So how'd we do, Screen Ranters? Do you think these Batman comic book stories will properly prepare the uninitiated for the The Dark Knight Rises? Or do you think there are other more suitable Batman stories out there? Keep in mind, this wasn't a list of "the 5 best Batman stories ever," as that would almost certainly be an entirely different list. The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters July 20th, 2012. - Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.
TAGS: batman, the dark knight rises

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  1. I haven’t actually read Knightfall all the way through, is it really all that?

    • I found it unimpressive so I just bought the Infinity Gauntlet instead.

    • Oh boy, is it ever.

    • Knightfall is fantastic. It really is pretty crazy.

    • Knightfall and NO Mans Land are two of my favorite batman stories ever. However, I highly recommend getting both in Novel format they are excellent and more fleshed out fully as stories. The comics were good but the actual novels are far better.

    • yes it is all that go to your local comic shop they are selling all 3 parts in huge books thats how i got mine

  2. Cool Write up.

    Extra Reads:
    TDKReturns – Batman returns after a 10 year disappearance.
    Vengeance of Bane I and II – Chronicles Bane before/after Knightfall
    Catwomam: When in Rome – Catwoman Looking for possible family ties to Carmine Falcone.
    A Tale of Two Cities – Novel depicting the events leading up and to a French Revolution, of which TDKRises is based on

  3. And don’t forget to read “A Tale Of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. A classic book that the Nolen brothers used as a main source for the Batman Rises plot.

    Look here:

    http://collider.com/dark-knight-rises-tale-of-two-cities/178106/

    • Sorry…. Dark Knight Rises.

    • It also influenced Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan. Spock tried to use it to give Kirk a message, but Kirk didn’t understand.

  4. I dont read comics, but that storyline sounds intriguing and very good.

  5. Nxt thursday 6pm showing…lets goooooo!!!!!

  6. As long as they dont include AzBats i’ll be happy. Yeesh, that thing was a nightmare to look at.

  7. You forgot to put in the most important book it takes inspiration from: The Dark Knight Returns.

    • I disagree. Other than one or two small details it has very little in Common with The Dark Knight returns. Batman is back after a long absence. That’s all the really have in common.

      • I disagree with your disagree lol. The Mutant Leader, his ideals and how Batman has to defeat the Mutant Leader to stop his cause and army he built. And through the little revealed through the trailers, i have seen some infamous mages and dialogue from TDKReturns.

        • I disagree with you disagreeing with him disagreeing. Bane always seemed visually-inspired by the Mutant Leader, and I’m talking about the original comic book incarnation of Bane. But the movie version’s ideals seem more like those of Batman Begins’ Ra’s al Ghul. What does he have in common with the Mutant Leader, in terms of ideals?

          • Ben..

            Lol alotta disagreeing going on. I do agree that Bane tactics are very similiar to Ra’s but the message he sends to the people of Gotham sounds more like The Mutant Leader (TML). “Gotham belongs to mutants” translated to “Gotham belongs to the lower classes”.

            From the trailer Bane seems to have inspired many citizens to rise up against the higher class – much like TML. In TDKReturns, Batman knew arresting TML would not stop the army he had built. Batman needed to destroy his symbol, a recurring theme in Nolan’s world, so Batman set up a stage where he could defeat TML in public.

            I believe a simliar thing may happen in TDKRises. Batman will have a public showdown with Bane in attempt to destroy the faux symbol Bane has created. I maybe pulling on loose strings here lol, but the idea of Bane perverting Bruce’s idea of a symbol, something Ra’s taught him (and Bane?), seems to fit the story and go with the whole idea that Bane is the Anti-Batman.

            • I actually agree with everyone

  8. I remember reading that some sort of movie tie-in merchandise specifically states that Bane is tied to the League of Shadows. Apparently, he was too extremem for that group of extremists, so they kicked him out.

    • I have a feeling this movie’s darkness will spring from the lack of good options it presents. Batman is despised as an aristocrat and his vigilantism has been criticized as pseudo-fascist. Bane is a mix of a revolutionary and a dictator, so forget any Thomas Paine type wisdom from him. The actual government was infiltrated by League of Shadows agents in the first movie so it may be only a dummy regime. Even the Dent Act, which I don’t know much about, evokes the Patriot Act to me.
      It might make it difficult to decide whose face to wear on your t-shirt after it opens and before the next big movie.

  9. I know some on this site have seen secret advance showings and I am not asking for any spoilers, but clarification. It is said that this is 8 years after the last film.
    Has Batman been completely gone or has he still been fighting crime, but doing it but staying away from the police?

    • There’s only like a week of waiting left man… just wait and see for yourself.
      I guarantee it’ll be more satisfying than having details like that be spoiled for you.

      • Not everyone is the same. I prefer to get all the info I can before the film. Spoilers don’t bug me so much. TDKR will be just as satisfying if I have been fully spoiled on the story as it would be had I not been.

  10. Had previously never read the comics, but decided to get into some Batman stories to prepare me for TDKR.

    First I read The Dark Knight Returns, which I found lying around my house. It was excellent. But it seems that the only part that they’re really gonna incorporate into the movie is the fact that Bruce is coming out of a long retirement, possibly with the character of the mutant leader being replaced by Bane. Also, the ending might be a good ending to The Dark Knight Trilogy, but I don’t know.

    I then read Batman: Venegance of Bane, which was pretty good. I assume they’re doing Bane’s backstory to some extent in this film, so I’m sure they will borrow some elements from the story. Seeing that it’s Nolan though, I doubt he’d completely copy the story 100%. He probably made a lot of changes (which is usually good, IMO)

    Now I’m in the middle of Knightfall (only have knightfall. not knightquest or knightsend.) And after that I’m going to read Batman: Bane of the Demon.

    Not sure if I’m gonna have time to read any of the above comics.

    • Bane will probably double as the Mutant Leader from Dark Knight Returns, since like a Rocky opponent he defeats Batman once and then gets defeated.

      • Yes, but seeing that this is a Christopher Nolan film, I doubt it will be that simple. I doubt it will just be “Bane defeats Batman, Batman is hurt, Batman recovers and rises and defeats Bane”. There are definitely going to be a lot more layers involved here (IMO).

        • I was agreeing with one thing you said, not writing a plot synopsis of the movie.

          • Ok my bad. And I wasn’t disagreeing with you, I was just stating another (related) opinion of mine.

            • Read No Man’s Land. Gotham is cur off from the rest of the world and left to its own devices. Survival gives heroes and villians blurry lines. It also famous for giving Batman a back to basics feel. Good read.

              • I hate it when they try to explain the madness in Gotham by cursing the city. Why not just say it was built on an Indian burial ground.
                …Have they done that?

  11. I have a copy of Greg Rucka’s No Man’s Land novelization that I never quite got around to reading. Also, on the advice of (SR user) Robert Palmar, I’ll be watching A Tale of Two Cities (1935). I vaguely recall Knighftall and the only Catwoman series I read was the run featuring Jim Balent as artist.

    • Jason the No Mans Land Novelization is fantastic. Much better than the actual comic. The story cuts out a lot of the fat that plagued the comics.

  12. So far it looks relevant as of what we seen in trailers I will love to see a surprise character other than Miranda Tate (Talia Al Ghul).

  13. Should include Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns,” where Batman comes back from retirement to battle the leader of mutants (for TDKR read Bane). He gets thoroughly defeated but returns to defeat him. Great ending where Batman feigns death while defeating Superman, only to lead an underground of Sons of the Batman to further his cause. Maybe some lines from the book as well in the movie. Just sayin’

    • I bet that happens in real life after the movie comes out. Just kiddin’

  14. I haven’t read Batman Inc yet (planning to though), and I’ve also never read ‘Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score’, but I can definitely recommend the others. Great books.
    Kinda surprised that The Dark Knight Returns isn’t on here though…

  15. i haven`t read those-they aren`t spoiling the film, are they? I hope that of those 5 only 4 of them have a chance of being in the film. lol, i thought you weren`t supposed to give spoilers hencing that it`s a movie to be seen on a large screen.

  16. I saw the movie on tuesday it was pretty awesome! They did use parts of KnightFall and 2 other comics you wont believe the twist and thats all I’ll say…

    • WHAAAT?? How did you see it???

      And PLEASE, do not post any spoilers here. If you do, I will hunt you down and kill you. (JK) (Or am I???)

  17. I hope we see some Azrael…

  18. Either bruce dies or he is exposed ln the end

  19. I think this is going to borrow much from the Miller’s Dark Knight Returns- particularly book 2: Huge gang army, lead by the main villain, defeats Bats as the city falls into ruin…. Bats is rescued by a female Robin (or Catwoman). Duo fights back and saves the city….

  20. What about KnightsEnd ? Though Bruce did undergo physical training in that one , not sure how it will portray here.

    • That was included in the Knightfall segment.

  21. I think you should have included war games just for the fact of batman trying to keep the city from falling apart

  22. I’m trying to figure out why this article recommends the Catwoman story, then proceeds to spoil the ending. Not cool…

  23. here the 10 reasons why darknight will not be the number one film of year as expected because of avengers big UPSET.
    10. Bane and Batman in one scene are the same height, you got to be kidding me! i nicked-named Bane small-hulk, just call him toddler Hulk now.
    9. bruce wayne dying or anyone dying in this overrated film would not be a shock.
    8. while anne hathaway is cute, but catwoman wise she is most unattractive female everr to don the costume with her horrible 3D glasses.
    7. where has Bruce Wayne risen from? the bathtub, LOL.
    6. this movie will open big and then wither away like the last harry potter film.
    5. the movies plot plain and simple is frank miller’s the darknight returns.
    4. whats with the large pacifier in bane’s mouth with poisoned milk in
    it, LOL.
    3. first there was Darth Vader and now we have Dath Bane, LOL.
    2. Nolan followers said no way avengers touches the darknights numbers
    and now they are losing sleep hoping for a hail mary that the darknight
    beats avengers, LOL.
    1 the only way this movie shocks me or anyone else is if it serves
    as a bridge to MAN OF STEEL and JUSTICE LEAGUE. (but its not happening because nolan says there is only one hero in his universe but yet 100′s of villians, LOL.) as downey put it so eloquently, screw dc’s complicated psycho hero MESS. HAHAHA

    • Five LOLs in one post. You made yourself laugh so much, I’m amazed you were able to keep typing. I’m glad that at least someone finds your inanities amusing. “The bathtub.” Good one.

      • For people who don’t actually follow batman comics are animation the movie would be okay. ANYBODY who looks at the animation or the main comics would barf at this movie – hate it all you like – its the truth! and he’s right with most of what he said…I mean really even the crappier batman movies had bane accurately in terms of his height etc. I admit I loved how they got his personality spot on…that’s good but don’t remove the character from what people know…its like what they did to deadpool in x-men. ree-diculous. This movie had some nice twists but ultimately over-rated – so yeh he had a right to ‘lol’. the prognosis — Good for movie buffs — bad for anyone who actually watches the show and reads the comics.

  24. I liked the Legacy story line a lot. Was awesome to see Batman beat the snot out of Bane finally.

  25. After having seen The Dark Knight Rises, I’d add…The Long Halloween and HUSH are good draws for Catwoman’s character and relation with Batman.

  26. TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION…THIS ARTICLE….the ending of the film….It just hit me

    1. BRUCE WAYNE….WITH A CANE.
    2. WAYNE ENTERPRISES victim of a hostile take – over by business rival JOHN DAGGETT allied with BANE ( DEREK
    3. POWERS allied with INQUE?? )
    4. THE BAT – WING…
    5. THE JOHN BLAKE´s…eh…TERRY McGINNIesque PLOT

    THIS FILM SHOULD´VE BEEN CALLED…”THE DARK KNIGHT…BEYOND”.

  27. TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION…THIS ARTICLE….the ending of the film….It just hit me…

    1. BRUCE WAYNE….WITH A CANE.
    2. WAYNE ENTERPRISES victim of a hostile take – over by business rival JOHN DAGGETT allied with BANE ( DEREK
    POWERS allied with INQUE?? )
    3. THE BAT – WING…
    4. THE JOHN BLAKE´s…eh…TERRY McGINNIesque PLOT

    THIS FILM SHOULD´VE BEEN CALLED…”THE DARK KNIGHT…BEYOND”.

  28. what about Batman vs Bane which told the story of Talia and Bane’s secret affair and the woes of Ra’s Ah Gul?

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