Batman: No Man’s Land
Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3
Vol. 4, Vol. 5
by Greg Rucka (and others)
One of the biggest comic crossover events that was not Universe wide is the Batman: No Man’s Land event that took place during 1999. Preceded by Batman: Cataclysm, the crossover took place in all the Bat-universe books, including the four monthly Batman titles — Detective Comics, Batman, Batman: Shadow of the Bat, and Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight — as well as the larger Batman family like Robin, Catwoman, and Nightwing.
This may be deemed as a bit of a cheat, attributing to Rucka the success of No Man’s Land, as when you look at the full list of authors behind this massive event, he is just one of many. However, with issues of the two main comics under his belt — Batman and Detective Comics — Rucka definitely had a lot to say in this series. And when you look at the credits on the trade paperbacks, Rucka’s name appears in all of them.
No Man’s Land was epic, nothing short of it. Gotham City is hit by a massive earthquake that sees destruction everywhere. Over the next few days and weeks, it would become evident that Gotham would not be making a quick recovery. Eventually, the United States of America declares Gotham City a No Man’s Land — meaning that it is no longer part of American territory. People are asked to leave, and many hundreds of thousands do.
Naturally though, not everyone leaves. Criminals and low life’s stay around, but so do those who have lived in Gotham all their lives, and know it is their home. Add to that a force of Gotham PD and the Bat family, and you have the makings of a great story.
Territory is divided between some of the biggest criminals Gotham has faced including Two Face, Poison Ivy, the Penguin, Killer Croc, and more. But the GCPD also take a stake, and try and reclaim what they can, as does Batman. So the story unfolds and keeps you spellbound all the way.
The story is nothing short of fascinating, as the DC writers tasked with writing No Man’s Land investigated what life would be like in a city with so little. Power has been cut, food is scarce — if it’s existent at all — crime is rife, and life is cheap. But as you get to watch characters like Oracle, Jim Gordon, Catwoman, and the Huntress — the second tier of Bat characters — as they deal with the situation and help, it is really quite fun to read.
Of course Batman is cracking skulls left right and center, with Robin and Nightwing on their own much of the time trying to lay down a measure of law and order.
Other characters like Rene Montoya, Harvey Bullock, Sarah Essen (Jim Gordon’s wife), and the Joker play massive roles. And by the end of the series you have seen pretty much every living criminal that has ever crossed through Gotham. It’s almost as if they wrote a series finale you’d find in a TV show like Star Trek; with all the old characters coming back to say goodbye.
You can get the trade paperbacks for No Man’s Land (plus Cataclysm, which is necessary) from InStockTrades.com. They were good enough to supply us with copies of all of them for this Rucka week, and we thank them, for this tribute to Rucka would not have been possible without them.
But it is Greg Rucka’s immense talent that has entertained me these past few weeks and months as I’ve prepared for this, and to him I say an even bigger thank you.