Well, all of the Batman Reborn titles have come out and the events from Battle for the Cowl are officially behind us, while the once uncertain future is now the present. I think now is a good time to take a look back at the event so big it literally stopped the presses. As I flip through the three issues to help me write this, along with all the Batman Reborn titles, two things stick out the most:
#1. The Art. Regardless of what you thought of the story, or the events before it, you have to tip your hat to Mr. Daniel for penciling one heck of batman story. The art is very clean, his paneling is organized in an easy to understand way telling a story almost without needing words, and the help he got at inking and colors (Sandu Florea & Ian Hannin) was icing on the cake. He even plugged some great call backs to classic Batman moments, my favorite being the Tim Drake panel that resembled Batman #428, with the famous dead Jason Todd cover.
Along with some great call backs where some great originals; the Black Mask looking over a burning Gotham, the Tim Drake vs. Jason Todd fight (where Tim dresses in the old yellow oval suit), the other Black Mask splash with him holding his own head, and the now familiar end scene with Dick Grayson walking through the manor in his new get-up (after getting a mysterious haircut). So regardless of what you thought of the story you gotta give props to some of the magic Tony Daniel created with just his pencil. Speaking of story…
#2. The missing depth. I feel like Battle for the Cowl was like that summer movie that looked so good in all the trailers and promotions but after seeing it left you saying, “Eh.” All of the promotions and previews showed us images of people like Batwomen, Huntress, and Harley Quinn. We saw head scratchers like a backwards joker card, a dead hand sticking out of a Wayne Enterprises crate, and what looked like a Two-Face Batman. Top all that with DC kept telling us they were going to knock our socks off with the end and one of the most famous comic book characters of all time being replaced…and when it was all said and done…not all that much had changed.
Jason Todd was still an undefeated bad guy, Damien still the brat, Tim still confused, the guy we all knew would be Batman ended up being Batman, and half the stuff in all those promos either made small 2 panel appearances or were completely absent (Two-Face Batman and Harley Quinn to just name two). We had to wait another month to see some actual emotions from the loss of the DCU’s finest. There were no real surprises, everything went right for the good guys, and the best parts came from cool art or villain moments, but not story elements (Jane Doe using a cops peeled off face as a mask for example). And for the record I don’t blame it all on Tony Daniel, although he wrote the thing I’de bet he was writing within some constraints.
So was it worth it? Sure. It was the standard price for a main stream book, we got great art, some cool moments here and there, and it was the only Batman title out; but I wonder how much fun it would have been as a 3-issue weekly series instead of event that took three months to explain a small portion of something big. And I’d be lying if I said it was a must read; I think I could give Batman #687 to any new reader, tell them that was Battle for the Cowl, and they wouldn’t know much of the difference.
Tony Daniel, you are a great artist and good writer. Dick Grayson, everyone knew you were going to be Batman. Damien, I think Grant Morrison is going to kill you. Tim, what evidence do you have of Bruce being alive (it’s killing me)? Alfred, sorry you have to go through all this. DC, thank you for hiring Paul Dini.
“There’s nothing funny about it, Jason…so why are you…laughing?”
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|GREAT art cast of characters||No surprises and predictable conclusion|