espanolbot: (Default)
[personal profile] espanolbot posting in [community profile] scans_daily
As I mentioned it in my Killer Croc post from a week or so ago, here's the issue that presents YET ANOTHER different version of the character. In addition to an exploration of Leslie Thompkin's beliefs and Helena interacting with Cass Cain for the first time.

The issue takes place in the medical zone set up by Leslie Thompkins, where she tries of hold up to her principles of treating anyone who comes to her regardless of who they are and her absolute devotion to pacificism. This being No Man's Land, where people are constantly fighting for food, territory or just for the love of it.

Her principles cause her to refuse any actual protection from outside forces, on the basis that that would result in her having to approve of violence in order to do so. This leads to problems.

On this day, amongst the dozens of people being treated for injuries or treating people who already have then, there are two who effect the plot the most. There is Zsasz, who was mauled by Killer Croc in revenge for Zsasz critically injuring the second patient, a one-handed man called Stumpy.

Turns out that Pettit, former head of the GCPD's SWAT unit, has shown up with Huntress and his men. They'd split off from the rest of the GCPD controlled sector due to Commissioner Gordon being "weak", and what Pettit meant by weak is he wasn't willing to randomly kill people to make an example out of them. While Huntress joined up with him due to Batman firing her for allowing people under her protection to die and then running away when faced with unbeatable odds.

After shooting at Croc, making him run off into the shadows, Pettit smugly talks to Leslie about how he saved her from the Freak, and that he hopes that saving her life warrants her giving his men some medical attention. Leslie points out that, firstly, her best friend and his wife died as a result of gunfire so if his men are going in her clinic they're not bringing their guns with them, and secondly, Waylon had been hanging around the Clinic for days watching over his injured friend. She then points out that his frustation and grief cause him to lash out at things, but ultimately he'd been displaying more respect for her rules than Pettit had thus far.

Pettit responds to this by pointing out that his men were injured in a street battle just so she can keep on to her pacifistic views, but his injured will disarm themselves before going into her clinic. The rest of his men will stay outside to hunt and kill Croc though, so "there's one less wacko to clean up in the final showdown".

It's right around this time when a scream is heard from inside the clinic, where Zsasz had embedded a fingernail in one of Leslie's volunteer's wrists. Huntress shoots the supervillian with a dart to get him to let the volunteer go, before starting to yell at Leslie for harbouring someone like Zsasz. She snaps at her "What IS it with you civilian do-gooders? Social charity does not mean granting MONSTERS refuge!".

Leslie points out that, actually it means exactly that. She says that just as Helena distinguishes between good and bad lawbreakers, she judges people between those who have and those who need. Leslie guesses that Helena has made a commitment to vengence under the guise of justice, presumably in response to a personal tragedy. She says that due to her belief in pacificism that she HAS to treat people like this, causing to Helena say that that's stupid, as protecting people like Zsasz is like standing in front of a moving bullet.

Helena shoves Cass out the way, muttering "whatever" as she does so. Batman turns out to be standing right behind Batgirl though, and Helena says that the reason why Batman is so mad at her is because he cares so deeply. Bruce ignores her and finds Leslie, giving her some blood that she'd apparently asked him to get for her.

When it turns out that the blood is for Zsasz though, he flips out. He tells her that he refuses to let her use the blood on him, but she says that unless Zsasz gets that blood within the next few hours he WILL die. She then asks him whether NML is really making a killer out of him, hereby guilting him into handing the blood over.

Gunfire causes her to run off to see who's breaking her rules, while Cass gives Bruce a sad look. Bruce tells her to go and help Leslie, but Cass uses her current method of communication... pointing, to ask if Leslie is Bruce's mum. Bruce admits that she's been like his mother for most of his life, and that usually she understands...

It turns out that the shooting is coming from Pettit, surprise surprise, who has been taking potshots at Croc, only to be stopped by Helena. He yells at her for stopping him, but she tells him that he doesn't want to kill anyone here, especially now. He asks, why not? Only for Batman to show up behind him. All of this causes Croc to come out of hiding and start yelling about how he's not going to be the only one obeying the No Fighting rule, then he's just going to tear apart the hospital to find and kill Zsasz.

Pettit takes the opportunity ask why Helena, if she's trying to forge her own, non-Batman approach to crimefighting, she falls over to please Batman the moment he shows up. Helena says that she's not on his side, but he really should consider before he shoots up their only medical centre.

Leslie begins untying the unconscious Zsasz so that she can properly give him his transfusion, and Batman tries once more to try and get her to allow him to tie up Zsasz completely and move him away from the rest of the clinic. She refuses, saying that Bruce should recognise that he's not the only one who has a belief system. She admits that she's grateful everyday for what he's done for the city, but she doesn't approve of it either.

She then says: You're childish and stubborn in your anger, And that more than ever I fear that I've taught you nothing, I fear that I may sink to your level, instead of raising you to mine!

This understandbly upsets Bruce who stalks off before she can apologise, and say that she meant to say that Batman scares her, and that she's scared.

Predictably, Zsasz wakes up shortly after this, and the sound of him smashing the volunteer from earlier into some crates grabs the attention of Cass and Helena to rush to Leslie's rescue. Leslie tries to talk Zsasz down, even though she knows that he'd likely kill her without a moment's pause. This itself is enough to stop Helena from just shooting him, under the hope that whatever Leslie's doing might stick, but this just makes Helena thing that she's gone insane.

But surprisingly he does. She says that Zsasz is still very weak, and that she can make him better, getting the response of "I'll make do." She then issues him with a challenge, she says that murder is the only thing that makes Zsasz makes him feel anything, then she challenges him to feel her. She then puts her hand on his chest, and asks him, for a moment, to feel compassion, or at least feel the loss of her compassion, her attention towards him.

Leslie asks Helena and Pettit to stop fighting, and Helena seems nonplussed that Leslie actually managed to stop him. Not permanently, but the fact that she managed to stop him for a little bit was still impressive. They all stare who a while at Croc and Zsasz wrestling, before Batman drops out of nowhere and wedges Zsasz's arms to his sides with a piece of concrete tubing.

Leslie sadly says that no one will be able to reach Zsasz in future, same as his countless victims, Batman adds. He then says that Nightwing will have Blackgate prison under their control within the next 26 hours, so they can stash him there so he can't hurt anyone else.

Before he leads the killer away though, Leslie gives Bruce a hug, and thanks him for stopping Zsasz in a way that didn't involve more fighting, saying she'd have prefered to die than be the cause of more violence for Batman to commit. She continues, saying that she's always glad to see him. Bruce apologises to her for it all being so violent, and she says that there's no need for him to apologise.

She then makes a deal with him, saying that as he works to make peace in the city, she'll work to bring peace to his heart. Which Bruce agrees.

Date: 2012-10-01 04:41 pm (UTC)
riddler13: (Default)
From: [personal profile] riddler13
I liked this one. It was a nice story. :)

And Croc was less of a 'manimal' in it, so it is a good approach on the character. Nice choice!

Date: 2012-10-01 04:57 pm (UTC)
salinea: the Huntress brooding (sad)
From: [personal profile] salinea
NML was so great.

Date: 2012-10-01 05:36 pm (UTC)
salinea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] salinea

Still, it did get a shout out of sorts in Dark Knight Rises, which really wasn't something that I was expecting to be completely honest.

Me either, but it only served to underline how mostly crap DKR was in comparison.

Date: 2012-10-01 06:08 pm (UTC)
salinea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] salinea
I assure you, I did not have high expectations of it. Then again, given my expectations, I had everything I actually wanted: a kickass Catwoman.

Date: 2012-10-01 05:49 pm (UTC)
mastiff: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mastiff
Note to the doctor;

If Zsasz was really "an efficient killer", Stumpy would be, y'know, dead, not dying. "Efficient" rarely means the job has been started, and the end result will come days later.

Date: 2012-10-01 08:04 pm (UTC)
silverhammerman: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverhammerman
I like that Cass greets people with a fist pound, and I like what I see of Croc here, this is a pretty solid characterization. I don't really care for Doctor Thompkins logic here, it strikes me as a major case of honor before reason. I'm kind of glad that Zsasz didn't crumble under her compassionate touch too, that would have been cheesy and annoying.

This really reminds me what I don't like about Zsasz and his continued appearances as a villain. I get that the Joker can't be killed of done away with because he's a supervillain, however murder-y he may be, but with Zsasz, and the Kingpin, they're both pretty much regular criminals, the kind of people that superheroes are supposed to wipe the floor with. So everytime they come back it feels like a failure, moreso than when the Joker inevitably comes back, because with him at least you can say "well he's a supervillain, of course no prison can hold him" but with Zsasz it's just like "Really, they can't keep a single conventional serial killer locked up?"
What I'm saying is that I don't like Zsasz or the Kingpin.

Date: 2012-10-02 03:48 am (UTC)
jaybee3: Nguyen Lil Cass (Default)
From: [personal profile] jaybee3
I don't disagree. I think the elimination (as in dead, dead, dead) of one of Batman's rogues would be a very interesting story (given how so many of them just manage to go to Arkham and then escape to kill some more). We know Joker, Ivy, Penguin, Riddler, etc. can't be killed but Zsasz? He's a one-note serial killer. Jane Doe is a lot scarier and more interesting if that's what DC wants.

Date: 2012-10-02 12:35 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] kingofmadcows
This is what the DCU needs now, some hope and faith in humanity.

What I loved about NML was how it showed that even in the worst of times, people can still show compassion and empathy towards each other. Even the most ruthless of villains like Two-Face, Penguin, Killer Croc still have some shred of humanity left and that there might be some hope, however faint, that they might be redeemed.

Date: 2012-10-02 02:34 am (UTC)
q99: (Default)
From: [personal profile] q99
Yea. No-one killing the Joker (always-slaughters version) bends my suspension of disbelief. Not killing Croc or so on? That doesn't.

Date: 2012-10-03 01:07 am (UTC)
zechs80: (Mayuri)
From: [personal profile] zechs80
Or Scarecrow. Crane was such a prick during NML. Though he did get his comeuppance during it too.

Date: 2012-10-03 01:44 am (UTC)
q99: (Default)
From: [personal profile] q99
Crane also is someone who's easier to contain. When he gets out, it's more likely to be a jailbreak caused by someone else. He need resources to be dangerous.

Date: 2012-10-02 10:27 am (UTC)
indy2012: (Default)
From: [personal profile] indy2012
This just reaffirms that NML really did bring out the best in every single character featured.

Date: 2013-07-29 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lego_joker
Except the Joker.

I maintain to this day that NML's finale was the true beginning of "murder murder death kill" Joker. Rucka simply cannot write the clown, even if he did knock it out of the park with pretty much every other character.


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