Batman: No Man's Land: A Novel

Batman: No Man's Land: A Novel

by Greg Rucka

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GOTHAM CITY: a dark, twisted reflection of urban America. Overcrowded, overbuilt, and overshadowed by a continuous air of menace, this gothic nightmare is a breeding ground for the depraved, the indifferent, and the criminally insane. It's also the object of one man's obsession. Witness to the brutal murder of his parents, Bruce Wayne has dedicated his life to protecting this city, taking a form to inspire hope in the innocent...and fear in the guilty. He is the masked vigilante known as the Batman.

Now the battlefield has changed. Leveled by a massive earthquake that left thousands dead and millions more wounded, Gotham City has been transformed into a lawless wilderness — a No Man's Land — where the survivors are turning against one another, and where the city's protectors are torn by a crisis that may consume them all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780671774554
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication date: 03/01/2001
Series: Batman: No Man's Land Series
Pages: 480
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

The author of four novels about professional bodyguard Atticus Kodiak — Keeper (nominated for a Shamus Award by the Private Eye Writers of America), Finder, Smoker, and Shooting at Midnight, Greg Rucka has been writing since he was eight years old, and hopefully is improving with age. A longtime comics fan, his first graphic novel series was the suspense thriller Whiteout, published by Oni Press and nominated for three Eisner Awards in 1999. Since that time he has been a contributing writer for DC Comics and an active participant in the Batman series of titles.

Born and raised in California, he earned his undergraduate degree at Vassar College and his MFA at the University of Southern California. He currently resides in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Rucka is 29 years old, has two tattoos, and rides a motorcycle.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

It had taken them a week of work to get this far, digging out the site only at night, trying to stay safe from watching eyes. The two moved rubble and dug in silence, working mostly by feel. Each of them had more cuts and scrapes on their hands than they could count, and their fingers were numb from the effort and the cold of the air and the bite of the frozen snow.

The elder of the two, Paolo, was only twenty-one. His brother, Nicky, was nineteen. They had arrived in Gotham during the summer, immigrating illegally with their parents, and for a while it had looked good for all of them.

Then the earthquake came, and the tenement they were living in, the room they shared with two other families, was buried under twenty tons of concrete and iron from the building next door. The bodies were never recovered.

When No Man's Land came, they stayed more out of fear than anything else. There had been soldiers on the bridges, on the roads, in the tunnels. Soldiers with guns, and both Paolo and Nicky had bad memories of soldiers with guns from their childhood in Colombia. As far as they were concerned, the soldiers meant one of two things: either they'd be shot, or they'd be deported. And being deported, that amounted to being shot.

So they stayed.

It had to be past midnight when Nicky heard his brother speak for the first time in hours, the hoarse whisper of excitement.

"I found it," Paolo hissed in Spanish. "I found a way in, look."

Nicky moved, checking where his brother pointed. It was a clear night, with half a moon, and in the light and past the shadows he could see where Paolo was indicating, a small opening, just big enough to wriggle through. And inside, the prize, a whole Jiffy Junior convenience store, a mother lode of treasure. Canned goods, batteries, flashlights, aspirin, soda, chips, bread, cigarettes, beer...

"You remember what we do," Paolo whispered. "You go in, you grab what you can, we cover it up again, then take it to Penguin. He'll take care of us. But we don't tell him where we found it, we keep this our secret."

"I remember," Nicky snapped. "Of course I remember."

"Keep your voice down."

Nicky frowned, then took the flashlight his brother handed him. It was their prized possession, and they had only turned it on once since they'd found it, just to make certain the batteries worked. Now Nicky held it tightly in one hand as he got on his knees, and crawled through the tiny opening.

The stink inside was awful, and almost immediately he wanted to throw up. He told himself it was spoiled milk and meat, and not a body. He told himself it didn't matter if it was a body, because the dead had it easy right now. He convinced himself to keep going, and managed to work his way out of the hole, dropping down inside the wreckage of the store. His feet splashed in something when he landed, he didn't know what. It was entirely black inside but for the broken circle of moonlight leaking in from above.

Nicky turned on the flashlight, then turned it off again.

Jiffy Junior stores were open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. They never closed. That was their motto, he knew that.

There had been customers inside when the earthquake hit.

From above, he heard his brother's voice. "Nicky? Are you all right?"

Nicky tried to answer, caught another whiff of the air, and now there was no way to pretend it was anything but death. He felt his stomach buckle, swallowed hard, and managed the words.

"There are bodies," he told his brother.

"Ignore them," Paolo hissed. "Hurry, Nicky. We don't want to be caught."

"I know that. Shut up, I'm looking."

Paolo shut up.

Nicky switched on the flashlight again, panning the beam carefully past the corpses, toward the fallen racks. He went for the batteries first, then for the cigarette lighters on the counter. He stuffed his pockets full of all the small things he could find, tiny tins of Imodium and aspirin, bandages, matches, whatever would fit, before switching to the backpack. He was smart about it, he thought, taking another backpack, rolling it up tightly and putting it in the first. Everyone needed a backpack in the No Man's Land. Everyone had to carry all their possessions with them.

Then he went to the racks, quickly examining the cans, taking only those that were still sealed. Ravioli, soup, beans, tuna, all into the backpack. Two cans of Soder Cola, and another two cans of Brew Beer. He put more and more into the backpack until he was afraid the seams would split, and only then did he stop, zipping the pack as closed as he could make it, then moving back to the hole.

"I'm coming up," he whispered, pushing the backpack into the opening with a shove. Then he turned back, letting the flashlight track one last time through the store. He switched it off, but the image stayed, the crushed bodies still lit in his mind. He whispered a quick prayer, then climbed back into the hole.

It wasn't Paolo waiting for him when he came out. It was someone else, a big man, bald, and behind him were three others, one of them already going through the backpack, the other two holding Paolo by the arms. In the moonlight, Nicky could see where his brother was bleeding at the mouth, and it made his stomach shrink. Then the big man was pulling him to his feet, and showing him the pointed end of a machete.

"This is Demonz territory," the man said. "You've just been caught stealing. I should cut off your hands, that's what I should do."

Nicky fumbled for the words in English and managed, "It's not stealing."

The big man laughed and shoved him back with his free hand. "Empty your pockets, let's see what you brought us."

Nicky glanced at his brother, saw Paolo's jaw clenched tight, more rage than fear in his eyes. It crept into Nicky, as well.

"No. It's ours."

The man looked at Nicky, surprised at the defiance, then sighed, cutting at the air with the blade. "You just broke Demonz law, kid."

Nicky realized that he was going to die, and started another prayer, hoping to finish it before the machete came back down. He watched the blade go up, the moonlight catching its edge, watched it start to fall.

Then the blade was gone and the man was holding his hand where it was now bleeding, and there had been a noise, something hard hitting something meat. Nicky heard another sound, turned his head toward it, and saw the shape, and his heart stopped for a second, because he knew what it was.

He had never seen it before, no one he knew had, and some people had even told him it was a lie, made up by the police, to scare the criminals.

But Nicky had always known it was true, and he knew what it was.

So did the big man.

The shape moved, passing Nicky faster than a shadow hit by light, and there was another sound, and the big man made a noise of pain, and fell backward.

The shape spoke.

"Leave them alone."

And Nicky thought there was something wrong, then, because he'd never imagined the voice would sound like that.

The big man tried to get up, and the shape moved again, and Nicky heard the snap of another kick. The man made more noise, and then the shape had grabbed him by the shirt, was turning, and the big man was stumbling away while the others stood stunned. Even Paolo, Nicky thought, looked stunned.

But Paolo had never believed.

The shape kept moving, another rustle of shadow, and the gang member who had taken the backpack dropped it, spilling the contents all on the ground. The other Street Demonz, who had been holding Paolo, moved forward, trying to attack.

But you cannot attack a shadow, Nicky thought, and as if to prove him right, their blows landed in empty air. There was another rustle, and the shape was behind them, had one of the men by the arm, had hit him twice in the face, then was pitching him sharply away. Another of the gang members was passing Nicky, as if trying to flee, and the shape turned, and Nicky got a good look then, just for an instant, as the shape reached out as if its arm were impossibly long. The man pitched forward into the street with a cry, then stumbled back up and ran.

The shape pivoted, but the last of the Demonz had already fled.

"Batman," Paolo said.

Nicky tried to find his voice, to say, no, no, not Batman, at least, not like we were told, but the shape was already crouching at the backpack, replacing the spilled cans, then offering the bag to Nicky. When the arms moved, the cape billowed back, and Nicky saw the shape in the shadow, the yellow outline of the bat on the black chest.

A woman's chest.

Nicky took the bag, staring.

"Are you all right?"

He tried to speak, failed utterly, and simply nodded.

"TriCorner is held by the GCPD. You'll be safer there," the woman said, and then she raised an arm and there was a sound, and it was as if the Batwoman were flying away.

Gone. Just like that.

After a time, Nicky looked back to his brother, saw Paolo was still staring up at the sky, where the woman had disappeared. Then Paolo lowered his eyes, and Nicky saw the understanding there, the awe.

Without another word, the boys began heading south, toward TriCorner.

It began to snow.

Copyright © DC Comics. All rights reserved.

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Batman: No Man's Land: A Novel 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
qarae on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the only Batman novel I have read and I really enjoyed it. Gothem City has been written off by the U.S. government and left to the villians. What a clever concept, and great writing style.
PainFrame More than 1 year ago
There’s got to be a reckoning, Harvey.  My first Batman novel, I don’t know how many of these I’ve missed, but I’m glad I didn’t miss this one. This book is based upon a comic storyline, also called No Man’s Land. I’m not sure which is better as I’ve only read the novel. After loving the Christopher Nolan Batman films and playing the last few Arkham City video games, the idea of Gotham as a rogue state appealed to me. I don’t know if the creators derived any inspiration from this story, but there are similarities. After an earthquake and basically being written off by the government, Gotham descends into feuding territories controlled by quarreling gangsters. What follows is a guerilla war for dominance where the police fight to take back each city block. It’s a cool concept. It worked in The Dark Knight Rises and it’s just as compelling in book form. I’d never read a book by Greg Rucka before, but he’s a strong writer and all of the characters feel appropriately authentic. I came away with admiration not just for the writing, but also for the adult, serious way that the story is handled. It’s obvious that Rucka respects the Batman property and that DC was smart to place it in his hands.
gj460659 More than 1 year ago
This is in my opinion the best batman story that focuses on other characters.  Gordon, nightwing, Huntress all the villains this really examines those characters in ways I haven't read anywhere else.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Story just seemed to flow and plus you're reading about Batman so of course it is gonna be awesome
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a quick and hard to put down title. Being a fan of the Batman comics, I was really excited about a reading a novel full of such challenges for our caped crusader.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished the book, and it is amazing!! Yeah, Batman seems to be doing nothing for Gotham when you see what's going on around him, but he is the one making everything happen. When I read the end I wrote a serius letter to Joker. I hope he gets it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joker is my favorite in this book. Rucka really captures his insanity and sadistic views. I also like the dark theme throughout the book it really captures what Batman was originaly supposed to be I think Rucka should have put the Riddler in the book and focused more on Batman rather than Gordon, but overall a good book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It puts you right in the action
Guest More than 1 year ago
The main character in the book is Gordon, not Batman. The book feels like it is leading up to a climatic battle that never happens. The high light of the book is the Joker. I would only recommend it to serious Batman fans.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being a hard core Batman fan I'd have to say this is the best novel of Batman I've ever read. You get into the mind-set of the characters and understand their pains. You feel Batgirls anguish with the new Batgirl, the love between Nightwing and Huntress, and the pain Batman feels when Gordon no longer trusts him. I felt like I was there every minute. This was just a book I could not put down until I was finished. Even then I had to read it again. This book is strongly recommended for hard core Batman fans. The suspense will keep you on the edge!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Batman: No Man¿s Land is an action-packed drama based on DC Comic¿s Batman by Greg Rucka. Gotham City has gone through a violent earthquake that caused billions of dollars in damages and no repairs in sight. The United States has declared that the murder capital of the world, home of millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, will no longer be part of the U.S. and have destroyed all forms of access into and from the island. Now, when Gotham is in need of a hero, Batman fails to take the call, it¿s up to Oracle and her agents, and what¿s left of Commissioner Gordon¿s Police force, to save Gotham. Ever since the beginning of ¿No Man¿s Land¿, the survivors of the earthquake or just others who stayed behind have formed gangs and returned to their basic animal instinct, chaos. Adding to Gotham¿s troubles, the most dangerous & psychotic criminals are free and have taken territories. This is by far the best book ever written based on DC Comics¿ Dark Knight: BATMAN. I recommend it for it¿s multiple points of view, background information for those of you with no knowledge of the Dark Knight, and for it¿s nonstop dramatic situations that keep you wanting for more. I guarantee that after reading this book you will also become a BATMAN fan wanting more of him, never being satisfied with the few books there are out there.
Guest More than 1 year ago
although i may not be the greatest batman fan i really though each and every character portrayed in this book had very descriptive personalities. Seriously the best action novel i have ever read
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book, with charcters coming alive. I'd also like to point out that this Gotham City during the earthquake reminded me of New York after 9/11. The best Batman book ever!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Greg Rucka, popular Detective Comics writer, produces a stunning novel about Batman and his world, which has recently been ravaged by an earthquake. Not only does Rucka dive head first into detailed story but also manages to get you inside the heads of Batman, his compatriots, and the sadistical criminals who remaind in Gotham. The best book I've read in a while. It got me back into Batman comic books with a vengence.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the first page, the first sentence, the first word I was sucked into the mysterious and dangerous world of NO MAN'S LAND. The letter from Oracle (BATGIRL) to her DAD (Commisioner Gordon) Really made me feel as though I was walking the streets of Gotham. Thank You George Rucka!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that 'No Man's Land' is the most impressive novel in Batman's world. It gives the reader a piece of the wonderful environment surrounding Gotham, Batman, and the Joker. The reader will find surprises every ten pages. Mr. Rucka did a great job! Moreover, this novel gives five more reasons for hating Joker--the greatest villain in the comic universe.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rucka created a masterpiece.He captured everyone's personality almost, if not, perfectly. The theme is very interesting. It could possibly be a good game,now that I think about it.A movie would be good too, but then,I always think good books like this could be a good movie.I didn't know until i read the book that Lex Luthor was in the Batman world....But im not a major superhero cartoon fan.A good book that in some parts you can't put it down but in other parts I would lose interest.All in all it's a great book worth reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rucka uses his skills as a detective writer and his familiarity with the world of the Bat to chronicle the No Man's Land. The characters of Gordon, Dent, Montoya, Essen, and all the other characters from Gotham are vividly captured in this novel. Most especially convincing is the personality of Batman. The transition between the Bat and his Bruce Wayne self is well done. The book faithfully follows and greatly expands on the NML storyline from the DC Comics. The plot twists and turns through the dark alleys of Gotham, never letting the reader go until the final page. For Bat fans everywhere, this is a must-read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
no man's land is a great book for the batman lover. It makes all of the charaters as sadistic as they should be. If you love batman then this is the book for you.