Batman: No Man’s Land Volume 3 brings readers closer to the end of the massive Bat-family crossover arc than the beginning and continues the struggle between light and dark in ‘Hell on Earth’. Not a fan of Volume 1 and 2 of the new editions? Well, Volume 3 in my opinion is so much better, has a better overall storyline and introduces Harley Quinn (at this point a new character in comics) and Bane into the mix. Nothing of consequence really happens in No Man’s Land but it is a great book that excellent value for money due to its size and cost per issue ratio.
No Man’s Land Volume 3 New Edition Collects Batman: Shadow of the Bat #89-#92, Batman #569-571, Detective Comics #736-738, Robin #68-72, Azrael: Agent of the Bat #58, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #122-124 and Batman: No Man’s Land Secret Files #1, it’s also got some quality bonus content in the end with some character profiles and the individual covers from the original run.
|Book Name||No Man’s Land Volume 3 (New Edition)|
|Edition Reviewed||Collected Edition Trade Paperback|
|Where to Buy||Amazon|
|Notable Heroes||Batman, Batgirl, Robin, Oracle, Huntress, Azrael|
|Notable Villains||Killer Croc, Bane, Penguin, Joker, Harley Quinn|
|Chronology Previous||No Man’s Land Volume 2|
No Man’s Land Volume 4
Batman: No Mans’ Land Volume 3 (New Edition) Review
So far in the No Man’s Land Crossover saga we discovered how bad things were (Volume 1) then the tribes and areas being fought over (Volume 2) and now in Volume 3 the individual characters now get some attention and it is far more about their development than the other 2 combined. No Man’s Land Volume 3 throws in a few new characters in the mix – Bane (more on him later), Lynx, Joker and Harley Quinn and Bock from the GCPD. James Gordon and that gang do not feature at all.
As far as the Bat-Family’s concerned, they are all in Vol. 3, too. Batman has the largest part, obviously, but there’s a generous amount of time given to Robin (Tim Drake) and the new Batgirl (Cassandra Cain). Azrael, Nightwing, Oracle and Huntress also get their five minutes in. In Vol. 3 it never gets too busy and I found it flowed quite nicely considering the large amount of perspectives.
Now, No Man’s Land Volume 3 pushes Bane‘s emergence quite a bit but when it came to it was weakly written, nonsensical and daft. First, he got in to NML far too easily in a ridiculous way involving a dubious distraction and simply climbing underneath the bridge. Second, once he got there there far too many coincidences and things just landed in his lap during his ‘mission’. The mission being set by a secret third party that did bring some intrigue to the whole thing though. This is not Bane at his best, not the Bane from Dark Knight Rises or the Bane from Knightfall. In retrospect this is the same kind of Bane seen in Rebirth – I am Bane. One liners, third person dialogue and over the top grandeur. Still, his stint doesn’t necessarily dominate Volume 3.
A character who appears in Volume 3 and stands out as being one of the more excellent sections of NML is Harley Quinn. Technically, she should have been with Joker during his appearances in Volume 2+3 but writers decided to wait until Volume 3 to bring her out. Does she hold her own as a character in the middle of an already convoluted storyline? Yes, she does. She outshines Joker in their little segment and gives glimpses of what she could be capable of in a solo series (she didn’t have one at this point).
The scope of No Man’s Land was monstrous in Volume 1 and narrowed in 2. In Volume 3 it’s even narrower and the question of “What are we all trying to achieve here?” is lost. Everyone seems to have a mission but the bigger picture of plan seems absent. Reading Vol. 3 from start to finish I failed to see what every character was seeking as a result, even Bruce Wayne himself. In the firs two volumes it was clear – the mission was to restore some order and quell the chaos whereas now it feels like the chaos is welcome and encouraged. There’s suspicions that an outsider is pulling the strings but other than that the book lacks direction and a common goal.
Despite that, the stories within the story are largely very well made. In particular, Cassandra Cain’s Batgirl gets some proper action and she kicks ass as she tries to hold a garage station for the Bat-family. Ultimately, it didn’t go her way but we saw glimpses of how brutal she can be out in the field. She also learns a lesson on restraint by a grateful citizen. Robin has his own generous segment involving the Ratcatcher (he himself having a segment with Mr. Freeze which was a humorous, if not pointless), Tommy Mangles and Gearhead and lastly with Killer Croc.
Azrael, as he has done right from the start, gets his few issues in and it’s the same old storyline as usual. He’s conflicted with The System and trying to do the right thing. Boring.
The Batman segments hum along well and now that he’s given up on the whole going solo stuff it is far more easy to read and not as heavy as it was in the earlier volumes. He gets to do some detective work, has a lot of humorous parts with Penguin and is just able to Batman proper without the burden of a one man army.
Lastly, the art in NML is quite consistent, modern and crisp which is easy to take in on the glossy paper which NML is printed on. In between artists, the only time it changes drastically is in a Poison Ivy/Two-Face one shot called ‘Ghosts’.
No Man’s Land as a massive crossover arc can naturally be busy and convoluted but in NML vol. 3 it feels like all the characters and fillers fit well with each other giving the reader and exciting read from start to finish. However, it has lost its direction a fair bit with the endgame seemingly missing. Stand out characters were Harley Quinn and Batgirl.
Last update on 2018-03-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API