Thursday, March 12, 2009

'Battle For The Cowl' Disappoints Me

The first installment of the three-part "Battle for the Cowl" was disappointing in some pretty significant ways. The story has the dull sheen of inevitability, and as others have pointed out, some of the art is effing terrible. Seriously, Tony Daniel draws one unattractive Nightwing, which is particularly offensive considering that the character is one of the heartthrobs of the D.C. universe. In several panels, his upper body makes him look almost deformed. The fact that every woman on the cover has odd, pointy breasts is another ominous sign. One of my favorite bloggers, J. Caleb Mozzocco, dissects the artistic wrongness very well.

The plot is your standard "Who is impersonating Superhero X," which is supposed to be more poignant because the real Batman is "dead." Gotham City is now a war zone, but since it's always a hellish place, the story needed to convince me that things were worse than usual. It didn't really. Various villains unite to do whatever villains do when a major cape is out of the picture. Oh, look; there's Batman's (alleged) son Damian, taking the Batmobile out for a joyride. He's still not interesting.

This installment is narrated by Robin, who is one of my favorite characters. Unfortunately, he's saddled with some cringe-inducing internal dialogue: "With great preparation and a little luck, you can avoid (death). The bullets with your name on them. The knives with your reflection in the steel ..." Yikes. There's a lot of nattering about how Dick has shut down since Batman died and some glimpses of the wannabe who is impersonating his mentor.

Of course, I don't have to buy the next two issues of this, but D.C. has made such a big deal about BFC that I'm afraid I'll be completely lost if I don't see it through to the bitter end. That's probably what they're counting on.

On a happier note, Peter Tomasi's "Outsiders" has a lot of good stuff going on. I'm interested to see where he takes this title in the months ahead.

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