By various (DC Comics)
One major difficulty with the periodic comic book insanity of multi-part crossovers is the sheer difficulty of repackaging them as graphic novels. DC attempted to defuse this with their 2004 Bat-epic by designing the event as three distinct Acts, each containing one month’s progression of participating titles (Batman, Detective Comics, Nightwing, Robin, Gotham Knights, Batgirl, and Catwoman), and each working as a dramatic platform for the succeeding volume.
Thematically, it’s business as usual for poor, beleaguered Gotham City. Death, destruction, lots of explosions, blood in the streets, and another perennial winnowing of extraneous cast members is well underway. Content-wise the catastrophe is human in nature, as the various criminal factions of the city are finagled into an all-out gang war, leading to martial law being declared and at one point Batman’s attempt to take over Gotham.
Just as a self-indulgent aside, could someone please explain to me why the decent, law-abiding folk who so often end up littering those mean streets don’t just get the hell out of Dodge? After two plagues, an earthquake and the total anarchy of No Man’s Land, all in addition to the everyday mass-murdering psychopaths who make the place their home what on Earth could induce anyone to live or work there?
For a fuller experience, non-regulars would be best advised to read War Drums, a prelude to the carnage unleashed in Outbreak. Without divulging too much of the story, Outbreak sets the ball rolling and positions all the major Bat players for damage control as the bloodshed escalates and the various criminals who survive the initial slaughter start picking each other off. As the violence spirals Batman and team must not only save lives but also deduce which mastermind is responsible for the devious plan that threatens to wipe out crime in the city, as well as all the citizens.
© 2004 DC Comics. All rights reserved.