Good start to volume 2, but some writers butcher the continuity.
After enjoying the first volume I found myself fully immersed in the story arc of No Mans Land. Could not wait to read volume 2. Now that I have read volume 2 I am more than a little disappointed in some of the writers.
A lack of continuity really takes the sting out of a story. You stop losing yourself in it and start analysing it doubtfully.
The next writer to take the mantle is some dude I've never heard of called Ian Edginton. His chapter here is pretty damn good actually. He gets to focus on Penguin the most, as well as the continuing struggle from the GCPD, a vulnerable Barbara Gordon and Batman who has noticed that thugs don't fear him as much as they used to.
There's not much else to say with this story of Penguin without spoiling the whole story except for my one main vice during this chapter.....
D'Israeli's artwork!! My god, his artwork here comes across so SHIT! He can't even draw the action scenes very well. Sometimes the fight scenes remind me of a beano comic for chrissakes. Oh, and when you see how he draws Penguin.... so crap looking, believe me.
Anyway, onto the next chapter and mercifully we get a new artist called Frank Teran, who does a decent (not great) portrayal of the story involving Black Mask's involvement. the next writer is some guy called Greg Rucka (vaguely familiar but not so sure where from).
I was a bit disappointed from a personal viewpoint of the writing here. Understandibly, everything changes and Black Mask is altered for a good reason, but I did feel here that the writer blew the load way too early on Black Mask.
As I said on the review of Volume 1, Black Mask is one of the most exciting mysteries in Batman chronology up to this point. He was originally depicted as a very threatening force of masked thugs. I can go with the change of direction though. I suppose it makes sense that a desolate bleak gotham with low resources will affect Black Masks empire. His whole appearance changes too. I don't know why, but Frank Teran kinda made Black Mask look like some anorexic little skull faced wimp (although he does actually make everyone look a bit skinnier than normal which is actually a nice change compared to what most other artists do). He was way too easily taken down in this chapter for me too.
It wasn't all bad though. We soon discover what Batmans been up to with the villains. It turns out he's formed even more uneasy alliances... this time with Lockup and KGBeast to hold the prisoners. Lock up is a great idea but KGBeast had me scratching my head a bit. We also get a little teaser of The Tally Man (though one of my least favourite villains of all).
Now, this is where the story gets butchered! I don't know who this "Lisa Klink" is, but she's a total moron and shouldn't be allowed to write such utter crap. The artist Guy Davis does a good job though.
For a start, this Lisa Klink had probably not looked at the first volume. She probably has no idea how to write our well loved characters. She portrays Mr Zsasz in a way that he is absolutely not. He is meant to be a serial killer... not a frigging gang leader!!! His philosophy is that of not caring. Why the f*** would he go around with a gang intimidating old war veterans!? Dumb writing. and it's even said Mr Zsasz is fighting over turf with Croc Killers gang!? He wasn't supposed to have a gang either. He's a savage mutated man with barely any humanity left.
At this point, the arc was practically ruined for me. Joker and Mr Freeze were even thrown in with no rhyme and reason.
Greg Rucka comes back witha kinda filler story about Alfred being saved by the batman, by which he tells the story to survivors in hopes of raising their spirits.
Bob Gale yet again proves his great writing with a story of Thomas Wayne from Alfred, told to Bruce Wayne when he's at a low point. The art team here (Phil Winslade, Pamela Rambo and Sal Buscema) are impeccable here.
So, everything was decent except for the shite little story added by this Lisa Klink.