red_jack's Batman: No Man's Land #1 - No Man's Land Book One review

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    Great start, but a few weak spots.

    So, I'm reading the No Mans Land story arc after thoroughly enjoying Cataclysm and Road to No Mans Land. Never realised that this was the plan: a lawless destitue Gotham, made alien to the rest of the world. Police have to resort to turf war tactics like all the other gangs, while Batman tries to restore justice and peace in a Gotham he's not used to.

    Most vehicles, machinery and electricity in Gotham is down and the first writer starts of the arc brilliantly. I don't know much about Bob Gale but I'll keep an eye on him from now on.

    In fact, as I am on the second volume and I've seen other writers shitting on the story arc, I just wish Bob Gale did it all now. Check out my review on the second volume so you know what's bugged me so much.

    So, Bob Gale starts off Volume 1 beautifully with great dialogue and a fascinating insight into the mindsets of the remaining gothamites who have not fled an earthquake ravaged city.

    Scarface is the first real opponent shown and he controls his gang using ammo.. a weak tactic compared to the other well known Batman villains. We are shown that Killer Croc is simply on a rampage; Poison Ivy has the park, Black Mask and Penguin have two strong areas of their own and Joker is a frightening mystery. Brilliant start to the arc.

    What's even better is the introduction to Oracle and her struggle to cope with lack of equipment. You really do feel sorry for her.

    To end Bob Gale's run, he finishes the first chaper with the end of Scarfaces reign.

    Devin Grayson takes the next chapter and she focusses on Scarecrow.

    I wont complain much about this chapter because Devin did well, here. The focus is more on the church and the refugee group. Another focus is also on Penguin and his plot to exploit the refugees by stashing his surplus weaponry at the church.

    The story is pretty interesting at first. Scarecrow has a unique motive: his desire to see fear spread through fear of god. I thought that was a fresh new angle for Scarecrow, since he wouldn't really have the equipment to make his special fear toxins. The story kind of drags too. It becomes convoluted with complicated, hard to follow plans from all parties involved.

    Plus, we finally get a glimpse of Black Masks gang.

    Now, this is where I start seeing things that bother me a bit.

    Black Mask is one of the most interesting villains at this point in the Batman world. He's very rarely seen, Batman can't get ahold of him and he has a massive following of scary mask wearing freaks. Only this time, they're no longer wearing masks, but instead wnader around brandishing nothing more than vests, khakis and scarred complexions. Doesn't Black Mask have a huge empire that transcends into Bludhaven? I went along with the story anyway, since it was explained Black Mask went off the deep end.

    All in all, the first volume is very good, but Bob Gale is the best writer by a mile and I wish he was the only writer for the whole arc now

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