Batman: No Man's Land: Volume 2
Greg Rucka, Kelley Puckett, Denny O'Neil, Chuck Dixon, et. al., 2012
Issues originally released in 1999
Premise: Sequel to Volume One. It's winter in the ruin of Gotham. Batman's had enough of the anarchy, and he pulls in his people, old and new, to start bringing order back to the city.
At the start of this volume, Batman's attempts to make headway against the criminal organizations currently running most of the city get a nasty set-back. Later we finally get to the part (it's in every Batman epic) where Batman pulls his head out of his ass and says: hey, I have all these great people around me! Maybe I should get some help! In short, there's a lot more Batfamily in this volume, and I loved it.
Helena gets a bit shafted in these issues, mistrusted and shoved to the outskirts. Sure, she generally doesn't play well with the big groups, and I know Batman “wants” her to be the wild card, where her strengths are, but he sure is a jerk to her along the way.
Anyway, we have a new Batgirl to deal with in the meantime! These pages contain the introduction of Cassandra Cain, super-ninja and all around cool cat. I get it now! I get the love for Cass that the fangirls overflow with! She's a little broken, but so determined to be better, so straightforward in her feelings and her sense of right. Oracle believes in her. Now I love her too.
Moving on, there's a fun crossover with Young Justice, highlighting Robin (Tim), Superboy and Kid Flash stumbling into trouble in Gotham. Batgirl plays back-up to Azrael in a two-part adventure I really loved. Nightwing is sent to 'take back' Blackgate prison from the vigilantes Bruce put in temporary control, which goes about as well as could be expected. There's a really fantastic story revealing what's going on with Poison Ivy, and near the end of the book is a three-part Catwoman story where the art's kinda nasty but the writing was really fun.
Overall I really enjoyed this volume. Similar to the first, not all the art was to my taste, but I thought more of it was great in this one. There are some really fun stories in this book.
I have been getting such a kick out of these volumes. They're huge, and while they all fall under a longer arc, all the individual plots are between one and three issues long, so even if you don't like one story, you might like the next one.
4 Stars – A Very Good Book (might have been 5 if not for the occasional unpleasant art.)
Pick up Batman: No Man's Land, Vol. 2 at Amazon.com
Volume Two Contains The Following Issues:
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #119-121
Batman: Shadow of the Bat #87-88
Detective Comics #734-735
Young Justice in No Man's Land #1
Azrael: Agent of the Bat #56-57
Batman Chronicles #17