Seeing as it’s my birthday, and I am fighting off a nasty cold, we’ll trim the comic rack down to a single issue this week. But, oh, what an issue..
Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1 (of 3) – The word regarding the death of the Caped Crusader has hit the streets of Gotham. Let’s just say the populace isn’t taking the news well. Arkham Asylum has been demolished, Black Mask has busted out a new super-villain gang, the criminal element thinks it’s mardi gras, the cops are over-matched (many of who have been threatened into early retirement), and Robin and Nightwing are forced to call in for reinforcements just to hold back the tide.
We get the Birds of Prey, Black Canary and Wildcat, Batwoman, Catwoman, Knight and Squire. Even Damian comes out to help (well, maybe help isn’t quite the right word). Even with the number of heroes hitting the streets Gotham has decended into madness. What the city really needs is Batman, but, of course he’s gone…or is he?
Dick Grayson may still be unwilling to don the cowl, but that’s not stopping others from trying to assume the role as Batman. Over the course of the issue we see two “new” Batmen with more to come (including, if DC’s marketing is to believed, a Two-Face version and one or more from the ranks of The Secret Six). Of course Jason Todd is going to get in the action too, right (methinks this is him below)?
I must admit I like the confusion of this issue, Gotham going down in flames despite the best efforts of our heroes. Nightwing’s steadfast refusal to don the cowl leaves openings for others. I would not be opposed to DC doing a Reign of the Supermen routine with a different Batman in each of the Bat-books. Let them carve up the city and each protect their peice of it as best they can. This would prove none alone are the equal to Bruce Wayne, and allow us to see multiple versions of the Dark Knight Detective (perhaps even, gasp, a Catman version?!). We’ll have to see where it goes from here, but this first issue has me hooked and I’m excited to see where the Bat-Family goes from here (even if I’m a little afraid that a Two-Face Batman looks more than a little lame).