Following Knightfall, Knightquest was the aftermath of Bane breaking The Batman’s back in the Batcave, then taking over Gotham. Something had to be done. Gotham needed a Batman.
I found this storyline boring. Sorry writers.
The whole thing culminates in her having special powers that end up healing Bruce. The Search itself puts a rift between Bruce and Alfred, who leaves him for a time. Alfred is Bruce’s surrogate father. The years take their toll on him and he can’t take it anymore. Think of it like watching your child go to war every night for decades, getting beaten and bruised, coming home with broken bones and cuts and scars so deep, no amount of healing ever truly worked. That’s what Alfred had to deal with, and what he couldn’t deal with after such a close call when Bruce’s life hung in the balance.
On the flip side, we have The Crusade.
This is the story of Bruce’s handpicked replacement, a guy named Jean-Paul Valley. Valley was the vigilante known as Azrael. Brainwashed by something called “The System”, Valley saw the ghosts of his ancestors who told him what to do, how to act, how they world needed his brand of justice.
As Batman, he started doing his own thing, started changing. Batman became more violent during his tenure. He kicked Robin out of the Batcave, changed the costume, started adding armor, claws – all in line with his ‘more violent’ nature.
Soon, it wasn’t just the bad guys who were afraid of him, the good guys were too.
The two storylines run their course as Valley becomes more and more un-Batman-like and Bruce Wayne eventually returns to Gotham to see what a mess it all is and take back his mantle (KnightsEnd).
A side story is Robin turning to Nightwing for help when he is expelled from the Batcave. Tim Drake starts to come into his own during the whole Knight series as he is forced to work alone and later, with Nightwing.
During The Crusade, several notable folks recognize that Batman is not the original; Jim Gordon – who starts to distrust Batman as he changes, The Joker (who knows how he realizes it?) and Catwoman, who says he just doesn’t smell right. This just fuels Valley’s insanity. His goal is to be a better Batman, to do it all better, to prove that he is not just a worthy successor – that he is the only Batman.
KnightsEnd comes next.