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  • Anticlimax Boss:
    • Depending on how you view the ending, or if you were waiting for Joker's big move to either happen earlier or be larger in scope and body-count, the ending, chilling though it is, can come off thusly.
    • If you were looking for a grand rematch between Batman and Bane, sorry. Their meeting is fairly civil — but, somewhat paradoxically, still manages to be awesome.
  • Archive Panic: Saying the story is big is an understatement. The story comprises every major Batman comic released in 1999, which is already just over one hundred issues. Then you add in the tie in issues in Azrael, Catwoman, Nightwing, and Robin and a few tie-in one-shots and specials. Then there are the stories directly leading into it, "Cataclysm", "Aftershocks", and "Road to No Man's Land." And lastly there come the arcs before that, "Contagion" and "Legacy", which kickstarted the whole thing. Altogether, that's over 150 comics. The four new edition trade paperbacks DC released through 2011 and 2012, reprinting the main story alone, are over 500 pages each.
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  • Ass Pull: Superman suddenly deciding that he should stay out of the whole thing because apparently he thinks that there’s nothing he can do. Leaving aside that it’s incredibly out-of-character for Superman to give up on anyone who needs rescuing, let alone leaving A WHOLE FREAKING CITY to suffer in ruin and devastation, there’s also the fact that with his powers, he could easily save a lot of people or evacuate a lot of people who want out of Gotham, yet decides to give up and leaves the whole thing to Batman and his allies. Yet somehow, even Batman doesn’t bother stopping him from leaving or telling him what he can do to help, despite the fact as one of the smartest superheroes on earth, Batman could probably think of a dozen ways for Superman to help him save Gotham. The whole thing reeks of Deus Exit Machina and feels really contrived because it sounds like the writers were so desperate to keep any Superheroes apart from Batman and his allies out of Gotham that they just decided to have both Batman and Superman grab the Idiot Ball and boot Superman out of the story with half-assed excuses and flimsy justifications. Granted, this is Superman we’re talking about here, but still...
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  • Complete Monster: The Joker is determined to destroy what little order the desolated Gotham City has. He abducts several police officers and disguises them as himself, resulting in many being killed by their comrades, mistaking them for the Joker. He then takes an entire hospital ward of newborn infants hostage, planning to kill them all to destroy the city's spirit. When Commissioner Gordon's second wife, Sarah Essen, tries to stop him, he fatally shoots her in the head.
  • Foe Yay: From The Joker, as usual:
    Joker is pointing a pair of scissors at a woman
    Woman: Please please don't...
    Joker: Between us, this has nothing to do with you...but I've got to get his attention, and so far nothing has worked.
    Woman: ...Oh God don't please don't please I'm begging you.
    A shadow looms over Joker and the woman
    Joker: Finally! I was beginning to think you didn't love me...anymore?
    Joker turns around, sees Bane
    Joker: Oh, This Is Gonna Suck...
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  • Harsher in Hindsight: Try reading this storyline again after Hurricane Katrina or Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Lex Luthor. He sets up the whole No Man's Land policy himself from behind the scenes, sends Bane in to alter the records to show that he owns a bunch of property in Gotham, then shows up, fixes everything (which, remember, only needed fixing because of him in the first place), and uses the positive publicity to boost a successful campaign for President of the United States. Sure, the real estate scam angle didn't pan out because Batman figured out what he was doing, but otherwise, the whole thing was a roaring success.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: A case of this among the writers. In the Nightwing tie-in, Chuck Dixon sowed the seeds for a Nightwing and Oracle relationship, while also making clear the antagonistic relationship between Nightwing and Huntress. In the concluding issues penned by Greg Rucka and Devin Grayson, Nightwing greatly cares about Huntress, and even kisses on New Year's Eve.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • The death of Jim Gordon's wife, Sarah, at the hands of the Joker. Joker has a large number of infants held hostage. Sarah rushes in with a gun, and Joker tosses one of the babies at her, forcing her to drop her gun to save it. No points for guessing what he does once she's unarmed. Gordon gets the news outside - he rants tearfully about how the Joker has gone too far and seriously considers killing him, but after shooting him in the knee, chooses law over anarchy and walks away. And if him weeping on the steps as Batman holds him steady doesn't get to you, then the scene of him spending the New Year alone, singing Auld Lang Syne dry-eyed over Sarah's grave definitely will.
    • To put this event into perspective: Even The Joker realizes that this wasn't funny, even by his standards. On the other hand, Joker found Gordon blowing off one of his kneecaps to be hysterical.
      Joker: He shot my knee! I may never... ...oh... Like your daughter! I GET IT! Good one, Commissioner!
    • In the novelization, Batman's last scene: visiting his parents' grave and the remains of quake-ravaged Wayne Manor: "I'm home."
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Sure, Josh, try to force yourself on the Joker's girlfriend even AFTER he warned you not to try anything! He was lucky that he only got blown up.
    • Seriously, Freeze. Trying to take on Superman?

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