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This story running through Batman: Battle for the Cowl issues #1-3, and Gotham Gazette: Batman Dead #1 and Gotham Gazette: Batman Alive #1 is reprinted as Batman Battle For The Cowl TP.

This is an interesting episode in the latest Batman saga, providing you are following the storyline. It is not really a stand-alone volume though, so be warned. The Batman Family are trying to keep the peace in Gotham in Batman’s absence, but not doing a great job of it. The Black Mask is stirring up trouble between the Penguin and Two-Face, and the heroes are caught in the middle, with the Red Hood out to seize the Cowl. Eventually, Dick Grayson is pushed into making the decision we have all been waiting for…
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on 4 March 2012
It can be quite confusing to work out how this fits the continuity especially if you are familiar with Morrison's Batman & Robin side project in which Dick and Damian fight Jason (in both!)
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on 27 December 2011
Following the events of Batman RIP, Gotham is thrown into chaos as the Black Mask returns to wreak havoc upon the city and free the cavalcade of villains from Blackgate and Arkham that Batman put away. Meanwhile, Dick Grayson refuses to put on the cowl while a new Batman in the form of Jason Todd appears in Gotham, guns blazing. As the Robins, Grayson, Tim Drake, Jason Todd and Damian converge, along with other assorted superheroes, the battle for the cowl begins...

Tony Daniel's artwork throughout is fantastic and he writes a decent script that props up Grant Morrison's epic storyline, letting fans know what's going on while Bruce is travelling through time. Though it does seem inevitable, Grayson does become the new Batman of Gotham through some great fight scenes with the crazy Jason Todd (whose alternative Batman outfit was pretty cool) and the book is worth reading just for that.

There are extras included at the back focusing on the smaller characters in Gotham, Bullock in the GCPD, Stephanie Brown (Tim Drake's ex and fellow superhero), Vicki Vale (sometime girlfriend of Bruce Wayne and Gotham's answer to Lois Lane), and a few others. These were less interesting stories and the art varied from ok to poor and dragged the book down a bit.

Overall though not a bad read and essential for those following this massive storyline point to point.
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on 23 February 2010
This is a well written, well illustrated story, albeit one I didn't like.

Having read comics for more than 30 years, I am fed up with people dying and coming back at a later stage (Jean Grey, Professor X several times, Bruce Wayne, The Green Goblin - both of them, etc)

This complex and confusing storyline about the (apparent) death of Wayne and Jason Todd's stupid attempt to replace him, alongside Dick Grayson's out-of-character reluctance to take on the mantle (which is feebly explained) is rubbish, and there is a risk that Batman sales will plummet - or has that started already? I have stopped buying Batman family titles -in fact, this was to be my last one just to 'finish off the story.'

I have given it three stars rather than less because it is a well-produced piece of work, and my dislike of the Bruce Wayne death series and the return of Jason Todd is a personal opinion.

If you collect Batman, unfortunately you need this title. If not, this is probably not the best place to start.
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on 20 January 2010
A much more straight forward story than the deep complex and all over the place batman rip Battle for the cowl benefits from the simplicity. The art is all very solid and the plotting is very good. Sadly The script is a bit rough around the edges compared to most of the other wriiters who have handled batman over the last few years, still this is a pretty minor grumle as everything else works very well.
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VINE VOICEon 1 February 2010
This is a graphic novel that fits in with the Batman R.I.P, The Black Glove and the Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul so if you haven't read any of these titles, it is worth picking them up to get an idea of how the plot has led you to the events in this book. It helps that Tony S. Daniels has been involved with all the above mentioned books, and this helps to give you the impression that there is continuity.
In this scenario Batman/Bruce Wayne is dead and Gotham is consuming itself in a crime wave as the criminals look to take advantage of the lack of a saviour/protector of the the city of Gotham. The simple solution? Gotham needs the Batman back - and fast! There are three real contenders for this position - Nightwing, Tim Drake and Jason Todd, but who, if any will be able to step into the shoes of Bruce Wayne? As a nice subplot Vicki Vale returns to her journalistic roots and starts to investigate Bruce Wayne - why is he always unavailable, or drawn away at the last minute? From the criminal side of things, we also get to see The Penguin, Two-Face and the Black Mask.
This is a tight, well-editted book and one well worth adding to your collection if you have enjoyed the recent books in the Batman universe. The main storyline and subplots are well thought out, and the artwork throughout is very good. There are some nice set pieces too, and some winks and nods for the regular fans to pick up on.
I enjoyed this immensely, and hope that we get to see more of this storyline in a follow up. Until then - don't hesitate! Buy this now, and you won't be disappointed - it doesn't quite reach the heights of some of the best titles out there (like The Dark Knight Returns, Killing Joke, Year One etc...) but it isn't far behind - hence the 4 star rating (i would have given it 4.5 if i could!!)

As a quick aside - there have been similar stories written before, and the main one to have a look at would be Batman:Prodigal, where Dick Grayson (aka Nightwing) takes on the mantle in Bruce Wayne's absence.
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on 3 December 2012
A good graphic novel, well written and drawn
Maybe more suited to readers with a knowledge of past Batman characters
Good value for money
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on 5 January 2010
Great graphic novel. Sets up the latest batman comics. Make sure you catch up with the story first e.g Batman R.I.P(Deluxe).
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on 7 July 2014
A terrific continuation of an old story. Characters continue to develop and the action is superb. Highly recommended.
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on 27 January 2011
This is really fan fodder for the new Batman universe, Batman is dead and Gotham is swamped (literally it would seem) by costumed superheroes, a supervillain frees all Batmans historic adversaries from custody (and the supervillain is a comparatively recent addition to the Batman universe) and three Robins contend to become the new Batman (one of which I believed was dead).

The artwork in this is fine, the action and pace is great and it is a page turner but I havent read Batman graphic novels for some time, I'm a solid fan but was unfamiliar with many of the legion of superheroes who appear to now form a kind of "Team Batman", the two Robins and Dick Greyson/Nightwing had an odd dynamic which made reading this book appear like reading about a "Family Batman" in turmoil and I sort of felt that the descent of Gotham into chaos in Batman's wake has been done before in Batman: No Man's Land: Vol 1.

There is also, to an extent, the modern tendency to trash superheroes and highlight their short comings in the narrative, so the debate about how or who could replace Batman is eschewed by suggestions that he could have been part of the problem in the first place, a crazy playboy whose mission itself attracted the maniacal villains he fought to stop. I could be too much of a fan but I didnt appreciate how this was done.

The various contenders for the mantle of Batman all seemed a little shallow, the unwilling er apparent, the psychotic pretender to the role, the aspiring but inadequate and character development was a little bit sacrificed to action and pace (at some points, since is a similar, or relatively similar, costume/appearence I was left wondering, right, which one is this now?). On the other hand despite lacking brevity or depth the characterisation of the psychotic pretender, Jason Todd, was genuinely ruthless and sinister, a kind of supercharged or insane equivalent of Marvel's Frank Castle/The Punisher (I would suggest this is owes a lot to the brilliant visuals and artwork).

For my part I felt this had a disappointing and predictable finish, were some readers may consider this the inevitable and logical evolution of the Batman mythos from its earliest days I would suggest there was nothing inevitable about this. With major consequences for both the Nightwing and Batman series it seemed like the authors have been overtaxed and ran out of ideas. Perhaps it could be enjoyed as a stand alone comic but I would suggest that a little knowledge about the characters featured in this book would be requisite for readers to really know what is going on and enjoy the book.
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