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No Man's Land is a Batman Family crossover event published in 1999. The story deals with Gotham City being declared no longer part of the United States. This is following several disasters that happened to the city in Cataclysm, [[B

Quote1 ...and after the Earth shattered and the buildings crumbled, the nation abandoned Gotham City. Then only the valiant, the venal and the insane remained in the place they called No Man's Land. Quote2
--Crossover Taglinesrc

History

No Man's Land is a Batman Family crossover event published in 1999. The story deals with Gotham City being declared no longer part of the United States. This is following several disasters that happened to the city in Cataclysm, Contagion and Legacy. Gotham becomes a lawless wasteland that is divided into territories held by the most powerful figures.

Synopsis

Batman 0559

Gotham is a War Zone

Gotham City had suffered the results of a magnitude 7.6 earthquake in an event commonly referred to as the "Cataclysm". With hopes for rehabilitating the broken city, the United States government declared it a No Man's Land, which effectively quarantined the entire island city. Bridges were destroyed, and any other means of entering or leaving was guarded by the U.S. Army. While the JLA did not assist in the quarantine for ethical reasons, they were so occupied keeping outside forces from conquering the city, that the situation inside was left to Batman and his allies; Superman, semi-relatedly, offered his help in the city but Batman refused.

Inside the city, the freed inmates of Arkham Asylum battled for control, as did various gangs. Fighting to reduce the chaos were the members of Gotham's Police Force who chose to stay behind, as well as heroes like Oracle and Huntress, who adopted the Batgirl persona in Batman's absence. As Bruce Wayne, Batman had left the city to try and solve the problem politically, using his name and money to convince the federal government to belay closing off Gotham. Unfortunately, his efforts failed, arguably because he appeared to the government as Bruce Wayne--an air-headed billionaire with little concern for serious issues--of which the No Man's Land was exemplary. Some one-hundred days after the Federal Declaration of the No Man's Land, Bruce returned to Gotham to reclaim the Batman title and his people, many of whom had long since given up on him. Even his former partner, Jim Gordon, believed that Batman had abandoned Gotham to the Arkham escapees.

What Batman returned to was a system of anarchy on a grand scale. Since there was no longer anywhere to spend it, money became worthless; people would barter anything from batteries to services to protection for daily necessities. It seemed the only person to have any use for cash was the Penguin, who had nightly events where those few with cash left spent it all on such rare and simple items as an apple. The Penguin, despite his riches and implicit opportunities to flee the city, instead opted to stay. He had his own mysterious leak to the outside and apparently enjoyed taking advantage of the dire situation in Gotham.

Batgirl Cassandra Cain 0019

A new Batgirl

With Batman being gone for so long, and his very existence debatable in the Gotham underworld, the Huntress was able to pass herself off as not only Batgirl, but Batman himself, as she faced off against many of Gotham's criminals. Following the example of the gangs in town, she even tagged her territory with the bat symbol. When Batman returned to Gotham she began operating as both Batgirl and Huntress, but after a confrontation with the Dark Knight, Helena returned to her Huntress identity full-time. Cassandra Cain arrived in Gotham City during this time and, with Oracle's blessing, took up the Batgirl mantle, beginning a lasting friendship between them.

In an effort to redeem herself, the Huntress went to the aid of a church that was open as a hospital and sanctuary to anyone desiring it in Gotham. Having no protection because of their benevelent intentions, the church and its kind staff were sitting ducks. The Huntress' desires to use her expertise to protect them was seen more as an unnecessary and warlike show of force than as help, even when she was trying to halt the Scarecrow's machinations to sabotage the church's efforts. It seemed to the Huntress that no matter what she did, she could never earn the approval of the Batman.

Several members of Batman's Rogue's Gallery were there to help maintain the terror, though even they still had to improvise and had difficulty surviving, as did everyone else. Two-Face became a major warlord, acquiring and losing territory every so often, and caused problems for the police and in a daring move kidnapped Jim Gordon for breaking a previous alliance. The Penguin, as previously mentioned, remained in the city and was approached by Mercy Graves, acting on behalf of Lex Luthor, to begin a rudimentary clean-up of the downtown districts for Luthor's eventual move-in.
Death of Sarah Essen 2

Sara Essen is murdered by Joker

Poison Ivy took over Robinson Park (though in the series Ivy did not act as a villain; she instead cared for numerous orphans, was nearly killed by Clayface, and in a deal with Batman was left alone in exchange for her providing fresh produce twice a week to the remaining citizens), Mister Zsasz owned his own territory, as did Mister Freeze. Bane, too, was involved indirectly as a strong man for Lex Luthor; he notably destroyed the Hall of Records to fulfill one of Luthor's goals and drastically reduced Two-Face's territory in the process, reducing the former District Attorney's warlordism to insignificance. Despite his status as a super-villain, the Scarecrow was welcomed into a church filled with refugees and manipulated various factions in a plot to send the church's refugees spiralling into fear and despair. The Riddler, strangest of all perhaps, actually fled Gotham and spent the year in quiet insignificance. The Joker made the most of his rare appearances. Near the end of the saga, he lured Sarah Essen, Commissioner Gordon's wife, into a twisted game of cat and mouse. He ended it by fatally shooting her. In an act of rage, Gordon shot the Joker in the knee.

Without the benefit of advanced technology, Oracle used her resources to become a low-tech version of herself. She used paper to document events and the passage of time, operatives and emergency phones (knowing which ones were still in operation) to gather intel, and maps coloured by pencils to keep track of who controlled which portions of the city at a particular time. Her maps were frequently shown in the comics to help the reader follow the progression of territorial disputes (Gotham City maps in current series are based in large part on Oracle's maps from this series). Oracle remained one of the few people in the city with the ability to contact the outside world.

Eventually, thanks in no small part to the financial and political machinations of Lex Luthor--dipping his hands, as ever, in both legitimate and illegal means to achieve his goals--Gotham City was released and rebuilt, and rejoined the United States.

Issues

Road to No Man's Land


Reading Order

  1. Batman: No Man's Land #1 -- No Law and a New Order Part One
  2. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #83 -- No Law and a New Order Part Two
  3. Batman #563 -- No Law and a New Order Part Three
  4. Detective Comics #730 -- No Law and a New Order Part Four
  5. Azrael: Agent of the Bat #50 -- Resurrection
  6. Azrael: Agent of the Bat #51 -- Miracle Run
  7. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #116 -- Fear of Faith Part One
  8. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #84 -- Fear of Faith Part Two
  9. Batman #564 -- Fear of Faith Part Three
  10. Detective Comics #731 -- Fear of Faith Part Four
  11. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #117 -- Bread and Circuses Part One
  12. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #85 -- Bread and Circuses Conclusion
  13. Batman #565 -- Mosaic Part One
  14. Detective Comics #732 -- Mosaic Part Two
  15. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #118 -- Balance
  16. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #86 -- Home Sweet Home
  17. Detective Comics #733 -- Shades of Grey
  18. Azrael: Agent of the Bat #52 -- Devil Down Below
  19. Azrael: Agent of the Bat #53 -- Jellybean Deathtrap
  20. Batman Chronicles #16 -- Two Down • The Comforts • Harold
  21. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #119 -- Claim Jumping Part One
  22. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #87 -- Claim Jumping Part Two
  23. Batman #566 -- The Visitor
  24. Azrael: Agent of the Bat #54 -- Step into the Light
  25. Azrael: Agent of the Bat #55 -- Misery Dance
  26. Young Justice Special #1 -- Road Trip
  27. Batman Chronicles #17 -- Little Bat Lost • Turn On, Tune In, Freak Out • Identity Crisis
  28. Batman #567 -- Mark of Cain Part One
  29. Detective Comics #734 -- Mark of Cain Part Two
  30. Robin (Volume 4) #67 -- Way Dark
  31. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #120 -- Assembly
  32. Azrael: Agent of the Bat #56 -- The Night Foretold
  33. Azrael: Agent of the Bat #57 -- Scratched Out
  34. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #88 -- Fruit of the Earth Part One
  35. Batman #568 -- Fruit of the Earth Part Two
  36. Detective Comics #735 -- Fruit of the Earth Part Three
  37. JLA #32 -- Inside Job
  38. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #121 -- Power Play
  39. Batman: Harley Quinn
  40. Nightwing (Volume 2) #35 -- Escape to Blackgate Part One
  41. Nightwing Secret Files and Origins #1 -- Taking Wing
  42. Nightwing (Volume 2) #36 -- Escape to Blackgate Part Two
  43. Batman Chronicles #18 -- Spiritual Currency
  44. Nightwing (Volume 2) #37 -- Escape to Blackgate Part Three
  45. Catwoman (Volume 2) #72 -- The Mission
  46. Catwoman (Volume 2) #73 -- Ms. Direction
  47. Catwoman (Volume 2) #74 -- A Slight Detour
  48. Robin (Volume 4) #68 -- War Beneath the Streets! Part One
  49. Robin (Volume 4) #69 -- War Beneath the Streets! Part Two
  50. Robin (Volume 4) #70 -- War Beneath the Streets! Part Three
  51. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #89 -- The King
  52. Batman #569 -- I cover the Waterfront
  53. Detective Comics #736 -- Homecoming
  54. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #122 -- Low Road to Golden Mountain Part One
  55. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #90 -- Low Road to Golden Mountain Part Two
  56. Batman #570 -- The Code Part One
  57. Detective Comics #737 -- The Code Part Two
  58. Azrael: Agent of the Bat #58 -- Day of Judgement: Ghosts
  59. Batman #571 -- Goin' Downtown Part One
  60. Detective Comics #738 -- Goin' Downtown Part Two
  61. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #123 -- Underground Railroad Part One
  62. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #91 -- Underground Railroad Part Two
  63. Nightwing (Volume 2) #38 -- Ballistic Romance Part One
  64. Nightwing (Volume 2) #39 -- Ballistic Romance Part Two
  65. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #124 -- Captain of Industry
  66. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #92 -- Stormy Weather
  67. Batman #572 -- Jurisprudence Part One
  68. Detective Comics #739 -- Jurisprudence Part Two
  69. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #125 -- Falling Back
  70. Robin (Volume 4) #71 -- The Lizard King
  71. Robin (Volume 4) #72 -- Last Stand on Grand Ave
  72. Batman: Day of Judgment #1 -- Original Gangsters
  73. Robin (Volume 4) #73 -- The World Around the Corner
  74. Batman: No Man's Land Secret Files and Origins #1 -- The Message
  75. Catwoman (Volume 2) #75 -- The Rules
  76. Azrael: Agent of the Bat #59 -- Pilgrim's Return
  77. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #93 -- Assembly Redux
  78. Azrael: Agent of the Bat #60 -- Evacuation
  79. Batman: No Man's Land #0 -- Ground Zero
  80. Batman #573 -- Shellgame Part One
  81. Detective Comics #740 -- Shellgame Part Two
  82. Catwoman (Volume 2) #76 -- Strange Bedfellows
  83. Catwoman (Volume 2) #77 -- Pay Back
  84. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #126 -- Endgame Part One
  85. Batman #574 -- Endgame Part Two
  86. Detective Comics #741 -- Endgame Part Three
  87. Azrael: Agent of the Bat #61 -- Presents of the Mind
  88. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #94 -- Endgame Epilogue

Paraphernalia

Items: None known.
Vehicles: None known.
Weapons: None known.

Notes

  • No Man's Land introduced the character of Cassandra Cain, who would become the third Batgirl, and Harley Quinn, sidekick to the Joker. An ongoing quasi-romantic relationship between Two-Face and Renee Montoya started as a result to this crossover and came to a head in the pages of Gotham Central's Half a Life storyline. No Man's Land also saw the death of Sarah Essen, the wife of Gordon, who is brutally murdered by The Joker in the arc's finale; an event that precipitated Gordon's temporary retirement from the force. The crisis also gave Luthor enough of a foothold in public opinion to win the candidacy of the President of the United States in 2000. This series also set forth the basis of the friendship between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. A later arc introduced Mercy Graves, another prominent female character from the DCAU, to the comics continuity.
  • There is a novel written by Greg Rucka about the No Man's Land time period. It centers around The Joker, The Penguin, Two-Face, Bane, Lex Luthor, and other villains, and the Gotham City Police Department along with the Batman himself. The novel addresses the relationship between Cassandra and her father David Cain, the infamous assassin. It also describes in more detail the various personalities left in the GCPD, including a militant cop who is constantly belittling Gordon's orders as being too soft. The novel does however leave out Azrael who was present throughout the story in the comics.

Trivia

Recommended Reading

  • Preludes
  • Aftermath


Links and References

Batman Blind Justice TP
Batman Family Storyline
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This event or storyline is specifically related to Batman, or to members of the Batman Family. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the Batman Storylines category.

Batman No Man's Land 1
No Man's Land Crossover
DC Rebirth Logo

This issue is a part of the Batman: No Man's Land crossover that swept through all Batman Family Titles during 1999. Gotham City was declared by the President to be no longer a part of the United States after the combined disasters of Contagion, Legacy and Cataclysm.
This template will categorize articles that include it into the "No Man's Land" crossover category.