Monday, March 15, 2010

Batman: Battle for The Cowl (Review)

Citizen's Grade: O.K.

I will freely admit that I did not like the ending of Final Crisis. I also thought Batman: RIP could have been better. That said, I love Grant Morrison's writing....and I'm sure a year from now I'll be eating my words and explaining how this is probably the best Batman storyline ever!

Batman; a.k.a. Bruce Wayne, is gone...dead....or somewhere other than Gotham City. The rogues; led by Black Mask, are running wild....destroying and pillaging Gotham. The heroes; led by Nightwing, are doing everything they can....but they are not Batman.....until someone claiming to be Batman begins killing off bad guys.

This volume is about struggle and legacy. Nightwing, Robin, & Damian Wayne struggle with the loss of their icon and mentor. Alfred & others offer support, but it is up to Nightwing and Robin to step up and take up the mantle and cause for their fallen father and leader. They battle against feelings of guilt and inadequacy as they watch Gotham burning around them....knowing the cowl must be put on, but afraid to do so.

Meanwhile, our "impostor" Batman decides to take things to the next level....attacking Robin when he decides to wear the cape and cowl, and ultimately leading to a showdown between Nightwing and this "other". In the end Nightwing prevails showing the qualities of character and leadership that make him the obvious choice to wear the cape and cowl as the new Batman.

Written and drawn by Tony Daniel, with the back-up stories written by Fabian Nicieza and various artists. I've always loved Daniel's artwork, and he is not a bad story writer, proving it in this volume. This volume has a lot of inner monologue, deep struggles of philosophy and ideals, yet still cries of hope in the midst of destruction. I've liked Nicieza since "The Cat and The Bat" volume of Batman Confidential, and his back-up stories dealing with the various supporting cast of Gotham are good and add to the overall story.

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