Tuesday, August 11, 2009

_Batman: No Man's Land_

I picked up the first two volumes of this graphic novel set at my library. Turns out these are taken straight from the regular run of the Batman comic.

I'm not a regular Batman reader and I don't try to keep up with the overall continuity. That's why I like graphic novels, where you get enough of a narrative to stand on its own. But Batman's such an icon, I've of course learned a lot about him over the years. It's interesting to see how the character works in various writer's hands, too.

This series has an over-the-top premise even for Batman. In it, Gotham City has suffered two plagues and a devastating earthquake. Bruce Wayne went to Congress to ask for help, and was rebuffed. I think there's a whole political story about that that occurs in some other book, because Batman is absent from the early parts of this story, and there's a hint of some character who opposed help for Gotham.

Anyway, the government actually walls off Gotham and won't let anyone in or out -- after the initial evacuation, anyway. If you stay, you're considered to deserve your fate. Humanitarian aid isn't even allowed, which is pretty hardcore. It's hard to buy this setup, but it's, dare I say it, a lot of fun, because of what the writers can do with it after.

It's tribes in Gotham, many of them led by classic Batman villains. There's a story for each of these. The Penguin becomes a black marketeer. We get to see Two Face helping out with disaster relief. It's good stuff.

Great stories that focus on Jim Gordon, who has led the remains of the GCPD to establish their own territory in the turf wars that have claimed the city.

I plan to look for the rest of the volumes in this series.

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