Fans of Batman are lucky to get Greg Rucka--the talented, gritty young author of Keeper and Finder, among others--sharing time with their favorite licensed character in this novelization of DC's complete No Man's Land comic series. (And fans of Rucka--assuming they get around to reading this at all--will still likely hold the opinion that Atticus Kodiak could take Batman in a standup fight any day.)
DC shook up Gotham--literally--in its 1999 Batman plot arc: a 7.6 earthquake rocked Gotham City, wreaking enough destruction to bring the broken, crime-ridden, runt kid-brother of Metropolis and New York to its knees. In the story line's most indulgent liberty, those fat cats in Washington decide to write off Gotham, à la Escape from New York, blowing up the connecting bridges, mining the surrounding waterways, and signing into law the Federal Declaration of No Man's Land, which makes it a crime to even set foot in the city. The usual suspects from Arkham Asylum, Two-Face and the Penguin, the Riddler and Dr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Mr. Zsasz, file out to begin running the show, strong-arming and manipulating the block-by-block turf battles that envelop the now-ultraviolent city. A conflicted Batman shows up fashionably late, only to find that these lunatics are the least of his worries: Lex Luthor, Superman's archfoe, has nefarious designs on Gotham too. Could this possibly get any better? Sure, No Man's Land is derivative fiction, but the appeal of Rucka--and, of course, Batman--can make this one worth the read. --Paul Hughes
Collecting BATMAN: NO MAN'S LAND #1, BATMAN #563-564, BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT #83-84, DETECTIVE COMICS #730-731 and BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #116.