Shhhh! Do you hear that? It’s the sound of me becoming a bigger DC fan…
A few months ago, I wrote a post on Black Widow Forever Red, which is a Marvel novel, and in the comments for that post, fellow blogger Merlin suggested I read Batman: No Man’s Land. Aside from a few TV shows, I wasn’t much of a DC fan, but I knew I’d need reading material over Christmas break and my local library did have a copy, so I went for it.
I loved it.
Seriously. It was a great book. So this post will be on that book, as well as another DC novel called Kingdom Come, which was recommended and lent to me by my cool nerdy uncle after I mentioned I was reading No Man’s Land.
So without further ado, let’s all take a journey into some DC novels!
Batman: No Man’s Land is written by Greg Rucka. Check out the cool cover:
This book had a fantastic plot. It grabbed me from the first chapter and did not slow down. I don’t want to spoil too much, but basically the government disowns Gotham and this book follows the stories of the characters still living there. It was written so well!
What I really enjoyed about this book was that it was written in a way that I could understand it. I know a little about DC and its characters and I’m familiar with Batman’s story, but that doesn’t mean I know everything. This book introduced several characters to me in a way that was perfect. The author did not assume I had prior knowledge so pretty much everything was explained in simple ways. And even though I did have a basic general knowledge of Batman and many of his villainous enemies thanks to this amazing and hilarious YouTube musical Holy Musical B@man (please please please go watch this whole show, it’s genius and any DC fan will get a kick out of it!) I learned a lot more. So even if you don’t know much about Batman or DC, you’ll still enjoy this book.
The chapters in this book jumped around to follow many different characters, and through that, readers got to see how the No Man’s Land affected everyone, and that was neat, because most superhero things only follow the main hero, but Batman didn’t even show up until later on! And honestly, I didn’t miss him that much because there were other awesome characters at the helm. And some cool females too, which was great to see included!
The only thing I didn’t like about this book was that I found the ending a little anticlimactic. I guess I assumed that it’d be similar to a superhero movie in the sense that there’d be a huge climactic battle to finish it, but there wasn’t. That’s not to say the book ended poorly, it just wasn’t what I expected or wished for, I guess.
But seriously y’all, go read this. I can’t thank Merlin enough for suggesting it because honestly it was a great hook into the DC world. I already watch and love The Flash and I started Supergirl, but this book made me want to watch Gotham especially and immerse myself further into DC both on the big and small screen (and I will, eventually). I did not expect to love Batman: No Man’s Land as much as I did but it was really such a great, captivating read that it’s one of my favourite books!
I’ve even watched the three Batman movies, and will watch the Superman ones as soon as I figure out which is the first one…
The other DC novel I read is called Kingdom Come and it’s by Elliot S. Maggin. I was super excited to read it because I had just finished No Man’s Land and was ready for more, plus my uncle who lent me the book said it was good, but honestly, I was disappointed.
That’s not to say that this book wasn’t good, as it did have some cool features, but I had to force myself through it a bit.
The really interesting thing about this book is that it follows many DC characters (mostly the really popular ones, as seen on the cover) but in the future after they’ve retired and moved on and a new generation of heroes and metahumans has begun.
The flip side of that feature is that this book name dropped like nobody’s business. For me, who is still somewhat new to DC, I really struggled to properly understand who was who and if they were good or evil. I’ve never heard of Powerwoman and Nightstar and 666 (to name a few) and unlike Batman: No Man’s Land, there was no explanation given. And because it was set in the future, it was generations of superheroes that were present, so I had to know who married who and which offspring is who. I understand the concept and perhaps if I was more familiar I’d enjoy it more, but at the present, I would not recommend it to someone who is new to DC. I guess my uncle, who’s been a fan for years, probably decades, knew every character was able to happily keep up.
Interestingly enough, the main character wasn’t a superhero at all. I don’t even know if he’s a DC character or was just made up for the purpose of this book. His name is Norman McCay and he’s an old minister who narrates this book as he and a ghost/angel-like being silently watch as a superhero war unfolds. My beef with Norman is that he’s an awful narrator. He’s dry and goes off topic and I sometimes question his reliability in terms of his knowledge. It was several chapters of blabber and backstory at the start before something of interest happened. Maybe I’m being a little harsh, but honestly, I wasn’t in love.
The plot was fairly interesting and it was a neat Civil War type story and it was kind of cool to see the futures of DC’s characters, but it was just not written to my liking. Too dry and too long and too hard for me to keep up with.
The good news is, the ending was kind of satisfying. And I’m not just saying that because I’m glad to be done reading it, the story did wrap up nicely.
So those are the two DC novels I read. I highly suggest Batman: No Man’s Land to everyone, but especially to people who are new to DC and want a great intro, or who want a great book. As for Kingdome Come, while I personally wasn’t a huge fan, I think if someone does have an extended DC knowledge then they should definitely read it. It’s funny because the two books are kind of opposite to me in terms of what I liked and didn’t like, so I guess you just have to decide what book you’re ready for.
If you guys know of any other DC or Marvel novels, let me know so I can try and find a copy to read!
That’s all for now!