Looking at Batman: New Gotham Volume One – Chaos McKenzie
So coming back to No Man’s Land, besides the wicked new characters and genre bending new stories, it was also the start of Greg Rucka’s corner of the DC Comics Universe. No Man’s Land leads us to Sasha Bordeaux, who takes us to Renee Montoya, who takes us to Batwoman, the Question, Wonder Woman and all the rest.
Rucka is one of those writers who can read as his own private corner of DC. Even the OMAC Project’s role in Infinite Crisis was very much a story of its own. All of those classic Rucka stories both Bat-based and Amazon-grown, start in earnest in New Gotham that rises out No Man’s Land. This new printing of New Gotham with a few extra issues from a long out of print, previous edition is an excellent sample of that just-starting-out golden age of Rucka, oh the rollercoaster ride we are about to embark upon.
This volume has a long twisted story involving Ra’s al Ghul and his newest minions that Rucka will revisit several times over his time(s) at DC Comics. What’s really excellent here is that the Bat-books were not in the best place leading into No Man’s Land, they were not the solid gold monthlies that we associate with Batman today. No Man’s Land changed that and suddenly with Rucka’s run on Detective Comics, we weren’t getting a watered down version of the last year’s worth of bombastic stories, we got the strong plotting and characterization we have come to associate with Rucka for all time.
This is some really great stuff. The only real draw back to this era is that the No Man’s Land popularity forced huge Bat-crossovers on us that always seemed to manage to knock an incredible story off it’s track. But if you stay focused on the writer you love, the story beats you like, and you can weave your way through the crossovers without getting your head scrambled.
The art in this volume is particularly unique. It uses dark palettes with minimal colour, used only to illuminate specific aspects of the story. For the time it was really something new, and it marks the official start of Rucka’s run with stunning impact. I’m not sure how they will be doing this series of collections, its possible they will get interrupted by Bruce Wayne: Fugitive and War Games, but they might stick with just the Rucka issues and present a nice compilation – only time will tell.
We always want Batman at its best. There is no greater disappointment than a Batman story that fails to land. These are the Batman stories you are looking for. OH! There’s a wicked Poison Ivy tale in this batch too, so get at it.
DC Comics – Batman: New Gotham Vol. 1
Greg Rucka (writer) / Shawn Martinbrough, Phil Hester, John Watkiss, William Rosado, Steve Mannion, and Brad Rader (pencilers)