Batman No Man’s Land Volume 1, by Bob Gale et. al. ISBN 1563895641
Five out of five stars
The premise for this new line of stories is a stroke of genius. Gotham City has been subjected to a powerful earthquake and the federal government considered it too expensive to repair. Officials then declared that the territory was no longer part of the country and all people needed to evacuate it. All legal authorities would vanish, no one could enter or leave, not goods could pass in or out and the people that remained would be on their own. All services such as sewer, water and electricity ceased.
People on both sides of the good/evil divide stayed. Some of the poor refused to leave the only home that they knew, there were undocumented immigrants and some of the powerful criminals of the Batman storyline also remained. Groups carved out their territory, pseudo-governments emerged where gangs of scavengers searched for stored food and other goods of value.
There are a few points of hope, Police Commissioner Gordon and some of his force have remained and have kept a section of territory under their control. There is also a church/haven run by some Catholic priests where they are trying to continue their good work under very difficult times.
In the opening section of the story where the conditions are being established, the question becomes, “Where is Batman?” “Has he abandoned the city or is he dead?” These are key questions that are largely ignored by Commissioner Gordon, for he must act as if he will get no help. He needs to find ways to expand the territory under police control using the limited resources at his disposal.
This combination of post-apocalyptic events and the actions of Batman in Gotham City is the work of creative geniuses. It provides a great deal of options for the directions of the story as well as material for a long series. Reading this opening, background piece will hook you on reading the entire series.