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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Batman: Battle for the Cowl

Title:
Batman: Battle for the Cowl







ISBN:
9781401224165


Price:
$19.99


Publisher/Year:
DC,
2009


Artist: Tony S. Daniel, Dustin Nguyen, Guillem
March, ChrisCross, Jamie McKelvie, Alex Konat, Mark McKenna


Writer:
Tony S. Daniel, Fabian Nicieza


Collects:
Battle for the Cowl #1-3, Gotham Gazette: Batman Dead? #1, Gotham Gazette: Batman Alive? #1





Rating:
3.5/5





Batman:
Battle for the Cowl is something of a bridging book. The Batman that
generations of fans know and love – the alter ego of Bruce Wayne – has disappeared
and presumed dead, after the events of Batman R.I.P. This has thrown Gotham
City into turmoil, as everyone from the smallest of crooks to the maddest of
super-villains see this enormous gap in law enforcement as a license to grab
what they can.





The
remaining sidekicks and superheroes, particularly Robin and ex-Robins like Dick
Grayson (Nightwing), are left wondering whether they should take over the
mantle of Batman. However, while these guys are deliberating on their
worthiness to wear the cowl, someone else has taken the opportunity, clearing
Gotham’s streets with a brutal and deadly force that would make Bruce Wayne
turn in his grave. Who this is and what they’re up to is part of the mystery of
this book.





Short
and sweet, this pivotal moment in recent Batman history takes up only three of
the five chapters in this collected edition but it’s expertly paced, well
written and nicely illustrated. Although there are lots of supporting
characters they’re fairly incidental, and it’s the bigger names that get top
billing. There’s a swelling feeling of youth stepping up that gives the book a
real feeling of new beginnings and lifts these characters well beyond their
accepted side-kick status.





The
supporting material that bulks out the rest of the book is two chapters
originally published to book-end Battle for the Cowl – here they’re both
presented afterwards. Along with its companion volume, all of this could
probably have been brought together to make a good, solid chunk of a book,
though I suppose the slimmed down two-volume version at least means you don’t
have to buy extra background material if you don’t want it.





So
this ends up being an above average superhero tale, despite the fact it doesn’t
even contain the Batman we know and love. As an introduction to the next
episode in Dark Knight history, however, it’s a solid piece of work. Batman is
dead. Long live Batman.


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