Thursday, May 21, 2009

Five Reasons Why "Batman: Battle for the Cowl" is Terrible

I know many of you gave up after the first issue, and even more of you passed entirely on Tony Daniel's "Battle for the Cowl," but I stuck it out until the end because that's what I do.

And like everything I do, I do it for you.

So now that I've read all three issues, plus too many tie-ins to bother counting, I can safely say that "Battle for the Cowl" has been a terrible mini-event, not worth the paper it's printed on. Here are just five reasons why, and they're all based on just issue #3:

1) The whole thing about Black Mask unleashing all the villains on Gotham? Ultimately pointless. Though emphasized in the first issue, by issue #3 it's barely an afterthought. More anti-climactic than "Salvation Run"!

2) The Jason Todd/Dick Grayson confrontation becomes Oprah-style pop-psychology and punching.

3) Any time a character faced upwards, Tony Daniel draws their necks and chins as a black slab, as if the neck-to-chin line is as flat as an iron. It's a little thing, but it's the type of approach you see in a lot of amateurish superhero art, and Daniel can do better.

4) SPOILERS! Jason Todd falls to his "death." Again with the falling to the death? See the ending of 99% of superhero movies ever for the same ending.

5) SPOILERS AGAIN! In-story reason for Dick Grayson adopting the Batman identity? None! Not really. He just does because he kind of realizes that he should. In-story reason for Damian adopting the new Robin costume (which will be spotlighted in the Morrison/Quitely "Batman and Robin" comic)? None. At all. So a series seemingly designed to fill in the the gaps between the last Morrison run and the new one just ends up as a bunch of irrelevant fight scenes, an attempt to show how far Jason Todd has fallen (and, by the way, Jason Todd wears the domino mask under the Batman cowl!), and the thinnest of justifications for the new status quo.

When the new "Batman and Robin" series begins with the line, "After the death of Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson has adopted the role of his mentor. Joined by young Damian Wayne, they are...Batman and Robin," well, then "Batman: Battle for the Cowl" will be immediately rendered irrelevant.

Raise your hands if you were going to say, "I told you so."

18 comments:

Preston said...

I'd raise my hand, but I've been saying that since the first issue.

Rolando said...

I enjoyed it. I thought it was entertaining and did a serviceable job of setting the new status quo. Could it have been a lot better? Sure. One of these days they'll get the Dick-becomes-Batman origin story right. I do think the new "cast" has potential for some awesome stories. I hope they take full advantage of them. Looking forward to "Batman & Robin" and "Detective Comics" specifically. I can't wait for the first Joker story. I wonder how he's going to take it.

By the way, I didn't read Jason's fall off the train as a faux-death scene at all. He says "you haven't seen the last of me" and dives into the water. Like the ending of the third Bourne movie.

Rolando said...

Not specifically related to Battle for the Cowl but love that Morrison has once again taken a silver age imaginary story and woven it into current continuity. He set up Damian so he could do the story of Batman II (Dick Grayson) and Robin II (Bruce Wayne's son).

It is a much better paced story if you just read Morrison's runs. He doesn't write the Dick-becomes-Robin story because it was so obvious to begin with. He goes right from Batman RIP to the new team in action (Final Crisis optional).

Eric Rupe said...

So a series seemingly designed to fill in the the gaps between the last Morrison run and the new one just ends up as a bunch of irrelevant fight scenes...I have hard time believe Battle for the Cowl could have been anything but that since Morrison wasn't writing it.

A.C.K. said...

Alfred hands Damian that Robin getup - he's been known to take liberties with people's costumes before.

Jason's fall is never presented as a death.

What would have been a better in-story reason for Dick taking on the cowl? The two most trusted and invested people telling him to do it that were also in the 3 books? (Alfred, Tim) It's there.

Shecky Shabazz said...

I would add to that list the fact that Daniel managed to work in Batman Jones, but in a way that took everything fun about the notion of giving such a character a nod that you broke off your "huh? Batman Jones? Cool....!" half way with a "....not really".
It's like he was trying to mimic Morrison's way of bringing back old, ridiculous concepts, but doing it without any reason other than that was what the previous writer on the book used to do.

James said...

"He set up Damian so he could do the story of Batman II (Dick Grayson) and Robin II (Bruce Wayne's son)."

I'd much rather he'd done it like he did in JLA, with Tim Drake as Batman II. I wonder if he wanted to, but wasn't allowed.

Fayzan said...

Some of the set-up for the series was fairly ridiculous to be fair. A few weeks of no Batman and Gotham goes to hell? Does no one remember 52 when Batman, Robin AND Nightwing were gone for a year and Harvey Dent and Batwoman cleaned up the city?

The dialogue was bad too, Daniel's dialogue for Knight and Squire made me wonder if he'd ever met a British person before.

Fernando said...

This was a terrible story. But I hope Morrison and Quitely come up with a brief summary of the BforCowl.

Batman and Robin should open like All Star Superman - 1 page. all the past story.

Timothy Callahan said...

"Alfred hands Damian that Robin getup - he's been known to take liberties with people's costumes before."

But it was an afterthought to the story at best.

"Jason's fall is never presented as a death."

I know. That's why "death" is in quotes. The point is the same.

"What would have been a better in-story reason for Dick taking on the cowl? The two most trusted and invested people telling him to do it that were also in the 3 books? (Alfred, Tim) It's there."

A better in-story reason would have been a story that was actually good, one that earned the changes to the characters and not just put the characters through the motions and telling them what they should be. Just because it's there doesn't mean it counts.

What exactly did this story achieve on a narrative level that a one-page recap wouldn't have done? Did we really get a sense of Jason Todd terrorizing Gotham? Did we really buy Tim Drake in the Batman suit (which immediately transformed him into a grown man the moment he donned it, strangely enough)? Did the Nightwing conversion have any real drama to it?

It could have worked. It just wasn't a well-told, well-drawn story.

Jason D. Manger said...

I really enojyed it and I do agree that it could have been better. Jason Todd is hopefully not dead, because if Dick is in fact the new Batman, Jason is the perfect villain for him.

Rolando said...

The same thing happens with everything Morrison does at DC. He has a great long term story. Then DC decides to do a bunch of unnecessary tie-ins to fill gaps that don't need to be filled (at the end of RIP it was obvious and natural that Dick would become Batman and Damian would be Robin) and they end up being poorly written and extraneous. The one exception being "Whatever Happened to the Cape Crusader" but that's because it was written by Neil Gaiman.

On the other hand, Geoff Johns does a great job of plotting out long term stories and involving other writers so the tie-ins are usually more relevant. At the very least they have his stamp on them and dovetail nicely with the plot. The stuff he's done with the writing staff on Superman, even moreso than Green Lantern, is awesome.

The difference, I think, is that Johns doubles as an editor, for all intents and purposes. Morrison seems to not partake at all anything he isn't writing himself.

Whatever, though, I'm super stoked for Batman & Robin.

Chad Nevett said...

Tucker summed up why I avoided this in his column this week. I even regret buying the first issue -- even if it was for our column.

richardguion said...

I agree totally with Timothy, Battle was garbage.

It would have been better for DC just to jump right into the new Batman and Robin without any of this setup. Flashbacks could have clued us in on character motivations.

I'm getting an Azrael-Batman feeling out of this new Batman. But I'm still looking forward to Morrison's Batman and Robin title.

jmb418 said...

"by the way, Jason Todd wears the domino mask under the Batman cowl!"

Yeah, he wore it under his Red Hood mask too. Do you think it's stuck.

Chris said...

The Battle for the Cowl series itself sucked completely, but the Oracle series was okay and the Azrael series I thought was actually pretty good, carried by the Irving art and a minor character from Morrison's Batman run.

My store said...

Under asics ultimate 81 the agreement, Asics onitsuka tiger ultimate 81 footwear will be available in India ultiamte 81 onitsuka tiger by April 2010, initially at Reliance Footprint ultimate 81 tiger stores in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore,ultimate 81 onitsuka Hyderabad, Chennai and Kochi, the companies mexico 66 asics tiger said in a joint statement.Asics will have the asics mexico 66 right to sell its products at its own exclusive onitsuka tiger ultimate brand outlets, in addition to onitsuka tiger mexcio 66 being sold at Reliance Footprint stores.

My store said...

Just before I go, I thought it ugg classic argyle useful to point you to classic argyle knit some other places of interest with respect to sheepskin fashion.  Just remember, for links ugg argyle to sites outside ours, we argyle knit ugg are not responsible for the content, information, argyle knit uggs or accuracy of them. In many cases, there is conflicting ugg boots argyle historical information. If you use such links ugg knit boots, you do so at your own risk and ugg argyle boot you accept ugg knit boots any and all liability, implied argyle uggs or otherwise.