Saturday, 7 February 2015

Batman: Battle For The Cowl #3 - DC Comics

As conclusions go for a multi-issue story-arc “Last Man Standing” must rank as one of the most dissatisfying comics published, as very few of the plethora of plot points generated by the preceding two issues are resolved within its thirty pages. Indeed only a single question appears to be successfully answered and that occurs within the book’s final few panels as Dick Grayson officially dons the cape and cowl of Batman. However his arguably natural succession simply confirms what any reasonable thinking Bat-fan would have anticipated anyway… Nightwing inherits the Mantle of the Bat; at least until Bruce Wayne’s inevitable resurrection.

So what about all the other conundrums Tony Daniel’s writing conjures up during “The Battle For The Cowl”? How did the military manage to incarcerate the Penguin? How did Two-face manage to escape via Gotham Canal on a Police launch boat? Just why is making Gotham City a war zone “the greatest night” of Black Mask’s life? Besides having had two rival crime lords removed what has Jeremiah Arkham actually achieved? Doug Moench’s creation has hardly supplanted the two rogues as the ‘kingpin’ of Gotham. And just where is the super-villain’s army of escaped inmates anyway? Have the Marines captured them as well as Oswald Cobblepot?

However perhaps the biggest hole in the American writer’s storyline is just why seeing a holographic image of Bruce Wayne telling him he needed the help of a psychologist make Jason Todd go utterly insane and literally become the Dark Knight. The former Robin has gone on a truly bloody killing spree during this title’s brief run and the motivation behind this is apparently as simple as him not caring for this mentor’s belief that he’s yet to mentally heal from his traumatic experiences as a child? If this was the case and he hated the industrialist billionaire so much why would the former street orphan want to imitate him by becoming Batman and having either Time Drake or Grayson as his side-kick Robin?

Unfortunately Daniel’s artwork is equally as stretched as his ‘wafer-thin’ writing with his depictions of a red-eyed half-crazed Todd-Batman and Nightwing proving to be disappointingly lack-lustre and robotic; despite the pair frantically fighting in hand-to-hand combat against one another for most of the comic. In fact their confrontation’s culmination, a huge sprawling double-page spread of Grayson flattening his one-time successor with a mighty flying kick atop a hurtling tube-train, is one of the most disappointing drawings of the trilogy and made all the worse for its prodigious size.
The variant cover art of "BATMAN: BATTLE FOR THE COWL" No. 3 by Tony S. Daniel

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