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Batman: No Man's Land
Greg Rucka
Narrated by a Full Cast
GraphicAudio, 11 hours

Batman: No Man's Land
Greg Rucka
Greg Rucka was born in San Francisco and raised on the Central Coast of California. He began his writing career in earnest at the age of 10 by winning a county-wide short-story contest, and hasn't let up since. He graduated from Vassar College with an A.B. in English, and from the University of Southern California's Master of Professional Writing program with an M.F.A. He is the author of nearly a dozen novels. Additionally, he has penned several short-stories, countless comics, and the occasional non-fiction essay. He resides in Portland, Oregon, with his family.

Greg Rucka Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steven Brandt

First there was the Contagion, a modern-day plague that washed over Gotham City leaving its population decimated. Then came the Cataclysm, a massive earthquake with its center just miles from Gotham's downtown. The government estimated that it would take $100 billion to rebuild the wasted city, a price tag they quickly decided they did not want to pay. Those who wanted out were evacuated but hundreds of thousands stayed, unwilling to leave their homes, or perhaps having nowhere to go. With the bridges to the mainland demolished, the United States government washed its hands of the whole affair. Gotham City was gone, now there is only No Man's Land.

Under normal circumstances, when trouble rears its ugly head in Gotham City, the Batman is right there to stamp it out with his own brand of swift justice, but the Dark Knight is mysteriously absent. Could it be that even he has finally turned his back on the city that refuses to be cleaned up? In his absence, others do their best to fill the gap. Police Commissioner James Gordon and the handful of cops left to him fight desperately to maintain order. Gordon's daughter, Barbara, who has secretly taken on the enigmatic persona of the Oracle, also lends a hand with her small cadre of spies and vigilantes, but it just isn't enough. As days turn into weeks, and weeks into months, all anyone can do is wonder where the Batman has gone.

To make matters worse, someone set the criminal masterminds of Arkham Asylum free. Two-Face, the Penguin, Black Mask, Scarface and the Ventriloquist, all work quickly to carve out their own small kingdoms in what is left of Gotham. With Batman missing, it seems unlikely that anyone will be able to stand in their way. And there is one other notable absence from the mix: the Joker. He was in Arkham when the cells were opened, but no one has seen him since. You can be sure, however, that the mass-murdering lunatic will make his play when he is good and ready.

The original No Man's Land story appeared in the Batman comic titles, Detective Comics, Batman, Shadow of the Bat, and Legends of the Dark Knight, and ran through the entire year of 1999. There were also several tie-in storylines from other comic titles, and the full story covered 80 issues in all. The story has been collected in a five-volume trade paperback edition although due to the enormous scope of the storyline, only 40 issues were included. DC Comics is currently planning a re-release of the story, which includes all 80 issues. No Man's Land is also available as a hard cover novelization written by Greg Rucka and released in January 2000.

For fans of the Batman, this is it, the ultimate Batman story. I think we all knew it would come to this someday. Gotham City has always been the nation's leader in violent crimes. It has always been Batman, and Batman alone, who has kept the cesspool that is Gotham City from teetering over the edge, but he is only one man after all, albeit and extraordinary one. I don't want to reveal too much about how this plays out, but I guess it's pretty obvious that Batman shows up eventually, right? If he didn't, this wouldn't be a Batman story. But can even he make a difference now, with the entire city divided into gang zones and no law to back him up?

I also want to briefly mention the mysterious character called Cassandra. Cassandra is a sixteen-year-old girl who showed up out of the blue just before the city was closed off. It was Oracle who discovered her and quickly learned that while Cassandra has absolutely no language skills at all, she is one of the most gifted martial artists ever seen. It was Oracle, too, that gave her the name Cassandra, and who put her to work in her small team. Cassandra is a mysterious figure, but clearly she is going to have a part to play in all of this.

This full cast audio production features the voice talents of:
Richard Rohan as Batman
Karen Novack as Oracle
James Konicek as Jim Gordon
Thomas Keegan as Two-face
Yasmin Tuazon as the Huntress
Greg Gorton as the Penguin
Terence Aselford as Alfred Pennyworth
Nanette Savard as Cassandra
and many others. The cast members all did a fantastic job, delivering wonderfully dramatic performances. I particularly enjoyed Richard Rohan's characterization of the Batman. His rough and gritty voice was right on the money.

If you're unfamiliar with GraphicAudio, let me just say that their work is spectacular. They take written stories, often from comics or graphic novels, and turn them into beautifully rendered audio productions, complete with music and sound effects. Their logo is "A Movie In Your Mind" and I think that describes it pretty well.

Copyright © 2012 Steven Brandt

Steven Brandt spends most of his waking hours listening to audiobooks and reviewing them for his blog, Audiobook Heaven. When not reading or reviewing, Steven is usually playing the saxophone for the entertainment and amusement of his family.

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