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Wednesday April 8, 2009 11:50 pm

DC Comics Review: Batman: Battle for the Cowl #2




Posted by David Torres Categories: Reviews, DC Comics

Battle2

Rating: *** 1/2*

This was another great issue of the “Battle for the Cowl” (BFTC) mini-series.  As readers know, Tony Daniel provides the artwork as well as the story for this mini-series and he continues to do a great job.  The story so far has not only lived up to the hype, but in my opinion it has surpassed what I thought we’d get here.  As I mentioned in my previous blog about the first issue, I thought giving Daniel the task of writing this story was going to be a mistake.  Most of the time big events tend to let me down, and I really get excited when they don’t let me down. 

This series is a must read for Batman fans.  Although Bruce Wayne does not appear in this story, he is here spirit.  The foundation of what Bruce believed in and what he stood for is the center of the story.  Who will continue his mission? 

The story hasn’t had any real surprises so far.  Its been pretty straight forward in the direction it’s heading with Nightwing becoming Batman and Damian becoming Robin.  It’s almost too much like getting hit over the head and saying that this is exactly what will happen.  However, you never know, there could be a turn coming and maybe Tim Drake becomes Batman.  Who knows.

The story picks up where we left off in the last issue with the gun totting Batman aka Jason Todd, attacking Nightwing and Damian. 

Jason’s methods of fighting crime are obviously more in line with Marvel’s The Punisher than they are with Batman - which has upset both Nightwing and Tim. He believes that because Bruce didn’t go far enough (meaning kill) Gotham City is worse than what it should be. Jason believes that by killing the villains, this will instill true fear and bring safety to Gotham City. Is he right?

As much as I love Batman and understand why he doesn’t kill, I always felt that if this were a real world situation and a vigilante like Batman was fighting villains like the Joker, it would make sense that at some point, you would end up having to kill people like this. The police sometime have to kill in order to keep the peace or save the day. Why not a super-hero? Now I’m not advocating Jason Todd be the one to take over for Batman. Jason Todd is a maniac and is not a hero. To get away from Nightwing, he shoots Damian because he knows Dick will not go after him because he’ll need to save Damian. That is just evil.  But I think a super hero can be a killer and still be a super hero.  Look at Wolverine.

Also in this issue are the moves Black Mask is making towards becoming the king of the Gotham crime world. As shown in the last issue, he’s using some of the Arkham inmates to do his dirty work - including shooting Commissioner Gordon and the new district attorney. I loved that Daniel used the villain Jane Doe here. When I first saw this character in Dan Slott’s “Arkham Asylum: Living Hell” I thought she was really cool and had a lot of potential to be a new major villain in Batman’s rogues gallery. Lets see where she goes after this series.

The issue climaxes in Jason Todd’s own Batcave as he battles Tim Drake who is dressed as Batman. Tim is shown to be no match for Jason. I would disagree with this interpretation of Tim’s fighting ability, but I’m cool with it as it leads to the cliffhanger of Jason using a batarang to stab Tim and leave him lying on the floor.

Tim obviously won’t die, but the scar he’ll have from this battle will be good drama to build up a rivalry between these two - unless Jason doesn’t make it out alive after BFTC.

DC has been using their DC Nation page lately to tease upcoming storylines. At the end of this issue, we see a pencil sketch for the cover of “Red Robin” #2. The cover shows Red Robin and Robin battling ninjas. Now we’ve all assumed that Tim would be Red Robin and that the new Robin would be Damian. Well, the Robin we see here looks more like Tim in his old Robin costume and not like Damian we asuume is the Robin in the promotional artwork for “Batman and Robin” by Frank Quitely. Whats going on here? Does this mean that these two characters are maybe Tim and Nightwing and that the new Batman and Robin are Jason and Damian? Or Damian and someone completely different? I still think the new Batman and Robin will still end up being Nightwing and Damian. I mean really who or what else is there?

Looking forward to the final issue next month.  It’s also the 70th anniversary of the first appearance Batman - May 2nd to be exact.  We then have the launch of the new Batman universe in June.  See you soon.

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