Will the real Batman please pose?

in the intervening months while Batman fans wait to learn the final fate of their favorite dark knight detective, a new 3 issue mini-series seeks to fill the gap called Battle for the Cowl. the contenders for the throne range from the expected (Tim Drake, Dick Grayson) to the outlandish (Two Face??).

To further whet readers’ appetites, DC released the following image (similar in many ways to their Infinite Crisis promo image released many moons back).
It appears that each possible Batman is shown in his costume along with a visual clue and a sidekick in some cases.

  • Tim Drake/Harley Quinn (image of the Joker indicates a clue to this pairing)
  • Dick Grayson/Alfred (dinosaur in background could be a hint of a return to the 60’s era of the series)
  • Two-Face (scarred coin in background)
  • Jason Todd all geared up for war
  • Batwoman desperately trying to remind fans that she exists
  • Damien and Hush (the giveaway is the bandage wrapped around ‘Bruce’)

Interviewed by IGN Comics, writer/artist Tony Daniel gave a few hints:
IGN Comics: Other than the central premise of Batman’s closest allies vying for the chance to fulfill Batman’s legacy, how much of a sequel will this be to RIP? Will you be dealing with any of the villainous characters or even the themes of RIP in the Cowl story?

Daniel: One thing that you’ll see is that Dick finds it necessary to call in for help, and we hit the ground running with issue one and see who he’s enlisted. I’m calling them the “Network” and they consist of people like Wildcat, who trained Bruce in his early days and also Batgirl. We’ll see characters like Huntress, Oracle and Black Canary. Lynx, Spoiler, Man-bat, Catwoman and others too. Robin suggests they also bring in the Squire and the Knight to help, so a couple of the League of Heroes are involved, and they’ve been fun to include in this. So it’s not a sequel, but some of the elements of RIP, character-wise, we’ll see. And obviously, with Bruce being gone, we have RIP undercurrent rippling through.

IGN Comics: If you ask the fans, I think nine out of ten of them assume Dick Grayson will wind up with the Cowl. You and Grant even played with that notion with that iconic panel of Nightwing holding the cape and cowl at the end of RIP. Are you going to be playing with those fan expectations within the Cowl story? As a writer, how do you go about subverting those expectations?

Daniel: Well it’s not going to be so cut and dry, and a lot of the characters don’t necessarily agree that there should be anyone to take the place of Batman. But we see what it’s like without a Batman, and that’s the conflict of the story. But more than one character dons the cape and cowl through this series and be the end of it we’ll get an understanding of why the victor deserves it.

If any of this seems hauntingly familiar… it’s because DC Comics has done this before with their Reign of the Superman after the big S died. I hate to cry foul right out of the gate but this already looks like a forgone conclusion. We already know that Bruce Wayne is not dead and will return to the trunks that made him famous (Dan DiDio already let that secret out right after Bats died in a NY Times interview), so… what’s the point?

How excited are you, the reader, for this mini-series?