You’re reading The Complete Infinite Crisis, a Comprehensive and Encyclopedic look through the universe-changing superhero event published by DC from 2005 to 2006. Shelfdust are proud to provide a complete overview of the story, and everything that happens in it. We’ve had to get some experts in though – there’s so much going on that needs to be explained!
Right, so we’re at the point of Infinite Crisis where we actually spend a few weeks talking about random Batman comics instead. And just as Tim Maytom told us, Gotham City’ been levelled by President Luthor – but why? And how? We have a Dark Knight of our own for just such an occasion – Rosie Knight! Let’s get into it!
Lex Luthor destroyed Gotham? Why… would he want to do that?
Rosie Knight: I mean, let’s start with the obvious: He’s evil. But on a bigger picture level it’s essentially an extensively complex plan to gentrify Gotham. No, really. Luthor’s entire scheme is to destroy Batman’s city, including all the documents of ownership and deeds in order to then acquire the property for himself. It’s an incredibly Luthor move which highlights the villain’s darkest and best moments, when he reflects the direct evils of the capitalist corporate mindset.
Coming in during the aftermath of the earthquake–and more than one plague–Gotham is designated a “No Man’s Land” and forcefully exiled from the US. Luthor uses the unimaginable chaos to pose as a savior. Using multiple envoys and villainous minions he began to take ownership of masses of land and property in Gotham under the guise of rebuilding the city. He also had the Hall of Records destroyed so it would be easier for him to fraudulently claim property as his own. In a way it worked as Gotham was allowed back into the United States, but Bruce eventually found out the truth about Luthor’s plans thanks to Lucius Fox.
What happened as a result of the earthquake? How did Batman, his allies, and his enemies deal with it?
Knight: Surprisingly… not well lol. Yep, Gotham quickly lived up to the name of the series when Batman disappeared for months after Bruce–who wasn’t taken seriously by the US government–couldn’t convince the powers that be to help his city. Instead they decided to blow up the bridges and leave everyone inside the city trapped. With the Dark Knight gone, the usual happened i.e. the city became a playground for DC’s impressive rogue’s gallery.
The Penguin, Bane, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and of course the Joker all end up embroiled in the battle for Gotham. Tired old Jim Gordon does try to keep things in check with Batman AWOL but it once again ends in tragedy for him as his wife gets shot in the head by Mistah J, who apparently loves nothing more than fridging a woman to further Jim’s story.
I like to think that the title also references how useless all the men in Gotham were as the big allies to Batman here are really Oracle, Helena Bertinelli, and Cassandra Cain. Even Poison Ivy gets some time to be a hero, taking care of the orphans of Gotham with the shadow approval of the big bat himself.
Were there any major changes which came out of Gotham being ‘locked off’ from the rest of the world like that? What were the big changes for Gotham?
Knight: Like so many evil businessmen before him, Luthor’s actions here actually gave him enough public support to help him run for President. Aside from that, the biggest change for Gotham was likely the arrival of Cassandra Cain. The third youngster to canonically take on the mantle of Batgirl played a vital part in protecting Gotham as well as connecting with her mentor and former OG Batgirl, Barbara Gordon. So who was that second Batgirl? Not my fave–Carrie Kelley, as that was a different timeline–but Helena Bertinelli who briefly dropped her Huntress title to become Batgirl only to quickly fall out with Barbara, leading to the introduction of Cass.
The other longest-running introduction of import was really the companionship between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. After Harley was introduced into the main DC canon during this arc in another significant moment for the city, the fan fave pair begin their friendship–and sometimes romance–here and have been wreaking havoc in Gotham and the DC Universe ever since.
Well alright! So that’s No Man’s Land explained… but why do I feel like there’s so much more left for us to understand? We need to spend some more time on this, I think…