NML Crossing

NML Crossing, Episode 048 – Batman: Shadow of the Bat #83 (1999)

NML Crossing, Episode Forty-Eight

Batman: Shadow of the Bat #83 (March, 1999)
“No Law and a New Order, Part Two: Strategy”
Writer – Bob Gale
Pencils – Alex Maleev
Inks – Wayne Faucher
Colors – Matt Hollingsworth
Letters – Willie Schubert
Edits – Illidge, Gorfinkel, Peterson, O’Neil
Cover Price: $1.99

Back after an extended moving break… which is hopefully not going to lead to any further interruptions, it’s time for us to meet the All-New All-Different Batgirl!  Who could she possibly be… or, has she been the BatMAN this entire time?

Also: Commissioner Gordon incites a gang-war in Old Gotham in hopes of taking back the area his daughter currently resides in.

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2 thoughts on “NML Crossing, Episode 048 – Batman: Shadow of the Bat #83 (1999)

  • Good to hear you back. I hope the move is going well. I remember carrying out all my comic boxes when I sold my collection, so I feel your pain in having to move your collection.

    But on to No Man’s Land.
    I liked this issue. Seeing Jim Gordon throw police procedures out is a riveting plot point. He has always been the epitome of “Law and Order” in the GCPD and to see him reduced to a gang lord really says a lot about what Gotham has become.

    The interludes were my favorite part. Showing what life is like for the people left in Gotham sets the stage for the action happening in No Man’s Land. And I didn’t remember the Joker making an appearance this early in No Man’s Land.

    I have always had a problem with this Batgirl costume. The lack of eye holes in the mask bothers me. How did she see? Other than that I like the look of this costume. It looks like something put together with the resources left behind in Gotham. It’s simplicity is its strongest feature.

  • Glad you’re back! Hopefully you don’t have too much more moving craziness.

    Here’s another numbered list of mine, something I also love when reading letters pages and something that makes it easier for me to organize my thoughts.

    1) I liked your discussion of context, and I agree wholeheartedly. It reminds me of a line that was repeated often in the TV show The Wire: “All the pieces matter”, which was also about context mattering, a big theme of the show.

    2) I also think that graphic novel is a term that is used improperly and done to make comics seem respectable (ah, making comics seem respectable: something I cared about much more as a kid and teen but don’t much anymore, since it can backfire and lead to overly dark or pretentious stories).

    I do think graphic novel can be a helfpul term when used properly (or a term that means the same thing: a book-length comic with a single story that was all done and released together instead of serially; I’m not tied to the term itself, but I like seeing a distinction made between work made for that format and work designed with a different format and then compiled later into a “graphic novel”).

    Too often, though, graphic novel is used as a term for a collected or long comic, and that’s a little disappointing. TPBs get called graphic novels, which isn’t accurate (It’s not like we call collected seasons of TV a movie. Interestingly, even one of the most famous “graphic novels” Maus, is really more of a TPB since it was released serially and eventually collected into Part 1 and Part 2: yes it was meant to be read together but that’s not how it was released, the pedantic in me will argue). Even graphic novels that are short stories created and first published for that “graphic novel” are under this umbrella term, but we don’t call prose collections of short stories novels, so a separate term for this would also be nice and avoid the overgeneralized use of graphic novel (not helped by Eisner using that term for his collection of short stories, A Contract with God).

    I will say that if I’m speaking to a non-comics fan, I’ll use graphic novel instead of TPB , unless they are really wanting to know more about the medium (or if I’m boring my girlfriend with yet another point about comics minutiae). So I’m contributing to the problem because, while I think a more nuanced set of terms would be better, I do understand how it can make things easier for someone not as interested in comics to just talk using the generic graphic novel term.

    3) A plot point from a previous episode: dropping aid to Gotham citizens just to see them fight over it. Strong stuff, partly because it reminds me of a scene from Elie Wiesel’s Night where he described people throwing bread into the cattle cars transporting people to concentration camps in WW2 just to see them fight over it. This type of action is something that when I read the Batman books as a kid would’ve seemed unrealistic to me, but sadly it’s part of human nature and history.

    I think this is partly why I like this storyline: even though some of the internal logic doesn’t work, it seems more realistic than most superhero or Batman comics, while still being an entertaining superhero comic that offers escapism. I think some of the letters from the comics letters pages you’ve read, where the letter connected the story to the same type of things that happened to them in an earthquake, show this hits closer to home and reality than many other Batman stories.


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