Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
If the city you lived in was left to rot by the powers that be, if something so catastrophic hit it that the decision to let it bleed to death, let it become a crumbling edifice of humanity’s folly, would you stay behind to try to save it, cower in the darkness and the filth and wait for a hero to turn up, one that could at least bring hope, or would you run, leave the city to die in slow agony and watch from afar, counting down the heartbeats, counting down time to the inevitable last gasp from the shadows.
It is a decision that it placed before the people of Gotham as the city is visited by a series of disasters that sees the United States of America declare it no longer part of the Union; that it is a ruin that it now a void and nobody should consider it anything other than chaos and unsolvable madness.
In one of D.C. Comics most ambitious and dark storylines devised, Batman: No Man’s Land, D.C arguably look to a point where the possibility of such action might be considered the only option, the only possibility to preserve life outside the affected area; yet it should be never considered the most viable, the most preferred selection and in a world without the superhero, without the person that cares and who will at least save the souls of those left behind, it is up to everybody to look out for one another, that this is society, even when the Government gives up.
Batman: No Man’s Land is dark, brutal and full of shame, the reality in which should come as no surprise in a world forever teetering on a knife edge of indifference and cruelty. It is also one where hope in the most unlikeliest of places can thrive, the dynamic between saviour and demi-god perhaps more frightening, more blurred and indistinct but the writers offers only the barest glimpse of what alternative there could be; it is in the darkness that the brightest light is visible, however as the graphic novel plays out, the allusion to where that light comes from is the most damning aspect.
Dark, broody and a deep sense of foreboding stalk the passages of Batman: No Man’s Land, the depth of use of female leads that bind the story together impressive and the thought of the ultimate dystopia only ever a natural disaster away combines to make this story line an opportunity to discover just what you would do in the same circumstances almost one of the most imaginatively scary thoughts you could entertain.
Batman: No Man’s Land 1 is available to purchase from Worlds Apart on Lime Street, Liverpool.
Ian D. Hall