Saturday, 31 January 2015

Batman: Battle For The Cowl #2 - DC Comics

Anyone familiar with the major 1993 Batman story arc “Knightfall” or ‘Knightsaga’ will appreciate just how terrifying a psychotic Dark Knight can actually be. For Jean-Paul Valley’s murderously unstable caped crusader is a genuinely scary prospect for not only Gotham City’s criminal Underworld and general public but for the title’s readership as well. 

With “Army Of One” writer Tony S. Daniel conjures up an equally dangerous and unbalanced incarnation of Batman, this time sporting a metallic medieval-looking face-guard, hand-grenade belt and an ammunition ribbon the Punisher would be proud of. None of this bodes well for all the ‘bat-allies’ of The Network as the momentarily mysterious vigilante, swiftly revealed to be the former Robin, Jason Todd, dispatches first Damian Wayne, his mentor’s son, and then later Tim Drake; cold-blooded killer indeed

However any reader thinking that it was just going to be the once dead now resurrected protegy of Bruce Wayne who was going to use lethal force without a moment’s thought would be badly mistaken. This is a violent comic book with the likes of Two-Face, Jane Doe, Firefly, Adam Bomb, the Black Mask and Victor Zsasz all ending someone’s life in some gruesome manner, whether it be a simply shooting or explosion, or cutting off some hapless police officer’s face. Even the Penguin is depicted by Daniel at his homicidal best, crushing the life out of tiny bird with his gloved hands.

Fortunately not every character is portrayed as some sort of lunatic, as the American writer provides both a quick glimpse of the ‘nicer side’ to the anti-heroine Catwoman, and shows just what Batman may have become if Tim Drake permanently donned the cape and cowl; albeit this is a fleeting look as the issue ends with a laughing Todd sticking a cruel-looking bat-blade deep in his rival’s chest.

Having penned this enjoyable gore-fest Tony Daniel is also responsible for the book’s artwork and for most of the issue this is equally as well done as the writing. As an artist he does seemingly struggle to draw consistently as his pencilling of an early confrontation between Nightwing, Robin and the deranged Batman is quite appalling in parts. Yet by the edition’s conclusion Daniel sketches six successive pages of fantastic fisticuffs between Todd and Drake, which are wonderfully animated with swirling capes, hefty punches and spilt blood.
The regular cover art of "BATMAN: BATTLE FOR THE COWL" No. 2 by Tony S. Daniel

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