The action between the lords of the Gotham underground has heated up to the point where villains are taking down villains, buildings are blowing up left and right, and the… what?Â You donâ€™t remember seeing much, if any, of that action in the pages of Batman: Battle for the Cowl?
If you only read the three issues of Battle for the Cowl, in hopes of understanding what is going on, I hope you went in knowing that the story was going to be all chopped up with little in the way of big picture exposition.
The biggest and best implication of Battle for the Cowl is that Jason Todd could be the gun-totting Batman, and the new Black Mask.Â The shadowed figure sitting in a chair, wearing the Jasonâ€™s trademark garb was a pretty big clue, but having him spout out Black Maskâ€™s name during his fight with Dick, even after Dick started the issue saying no one knew who was blowing up Gotham real good, seemed to be the revealing clue.Â Â But knowing the writerâ€™s whim, and DC editorial swing whichever way it wants these days, the Black Mask answer could still be up in the air.Â After all, Jason did fall over the falls just like Sherlock Holmes (and the Joker, in Morrisonâ€™s last RIP issue).
One thing is for certain, by the end of this issue, we all know Dick Grayson is the new Batman… for now.Â Even if DC jumped up and down screaming in our faces saying the ending wouldnâ€™t be the ending we expected.Â Really DC?Â Really?Â I think following this stunt, and the three stunts before this, readers are wise to the bull, meaning the company is really going to have to try harder to get back into our good graces.
It would be nice if DC pulled a Marvel by finally elevating Dick/Bucky to top of the hero list for longer than 24 issues.Â The current change just seems so empty because we know Bruce Wayne is alive.Â And this is the real problem with everything going on in the DC Universe right now.Â When we know death is not permanent, that those that die will be back within a three year time-period, why should the reader care about the characters any longer?
For Batman, weâ€™ve already been through the battle for the mantle in Knight Fall, which turned out to be a better story in retrospect.Â Unless DC grows a pair, and keeps Bruce in the coffin for the next thirty years, Dickâ€™s time as Batman is short lived, and it seems we all know it.Â When Barry Allen died, readers had a chance to see Wally grow and become a very unique Flash.Â If we donâ€™t get thirty years – heck even five years would be interesting – of Dick as Batman, it will all be a waste of the reader/fanâ€™s time, as comic publishers continue to scramble to snatch as much of the pie as possible with these get rich quick schemes.
Was it a surprise that Dick is now Batman?Â Nope.
With Jason Todd out of the picture, and Damien wearing the new Robin costume, is it still a surprise who is appearing soon in the pages of Red Robin?Â Nope.
Do we even care any more?
To be honest, I want to.Â I really want Batman, Batman and Robin, Red Robin, Detective Comics, Gotham City Sirens, Batman: Streets of Gotham, Batman Confidential, and the hundreds of other Batman titles to be really good again.Â I really want these series to succeed (even the grant morrison one).Â I want these titles to be the top twenty titles on the Diamond sales list each month.Â Why arenâ€™t they?Â Â And what needs to change to make that happen?Â Hereâ€™s hoping the answer can be found in the next four months.
I really donâ€™t think Tony Daniel is to blame for this mess.Â He did give readers explosions, and big fight scenes, as we got to see Gotham fall… again.Â Battle for the Cowl a predictable story; one that seems to have been cobbled together from all the big Batman events from the last twenty years.Â On the other hand, Tonyâ€™s art was pretty good.Â There were times when his art styles almost had me thinking I was looking at early Jim Lee work.
Sans Black Mask twist/reveal, Battle for the Cowl #3 was really anticlimactic as far as major events go, earning 2 out of 5 Stars.Â A whole lotta predictable wrapped up in a shiny wrapper being pitched as new and Earth shattering… again.