18. Knightquest: The Crusade (1993-1994) Multple writers, multiple artists
Knightsquest: The Crusade answers the question ‘what if Batman was created in the 90s?’.
With Bruce Wayne paralysed (and hunting for Dr Kinsolving) the mantle of the Bat is taken up by brainwashed sociopath Jean Paul Valley. Valley quickly alienates Robin, seals off the Batcave, and begins turning the batsuit into something from a Rob Liefield fantasy full of pouches, spikes, flames, and stupidity.
The Crusade serves as a reaction to trends at the time for more extreme, darker heroes like Spawn and the like. In fact some of the villains introduced (and quickly dispatched) during this run could easily have come straight from an issue of Spawn, and most of them seem silly and over-written.
The entire run has some very bright spots and as a parody of 90’s comics it is genius. It takes all the tropes at the time and shows how silly they are while at the same time still being a very readable book. It also finishes just as the joke begins to wear thin.
Now to see what Bruce Wayne was doing all this time while Jean Paul Valley was brutalising criminals in a batsuit that has something that Bruce Wayne’s never did: a motherfucking flamethrower.
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