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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

Battle for the Cowl Companion


Authors: Royal McGraw, Joe Harris, David Hine, Chris Yost and Fabian Nicieza
Artists: Tom Mandrake, Jim Calafiore, Jeremy Haun, Paublo Raimondi, Don Kramer and Mark McKenna
Titan Books
RRP: £10.99, US $14.99
ISBN: 978 1 84856 507 4
Available 18 December 2009

Gotham City lies in chaos and flames - the Batman is dead, and criminals rule the city. But even in her darkest hour, Gotham is not defenseless. As would-be successors battle for the Dark Knight's mantle, there are men and women protecting his city from the trenches. Unarmed and half-frozen, Commissioner Gordon must stop Mr. Freeze from committing icy mass-murder. Dr. Kirk Langstrom - Man-Bat - must overcome the monster within to discover the hero he can be. In the ruins of the asylum that bears his name, Dr. Jeremiah Arkam finds the inspiration to rebuild from his most unusual inmates. Among Gotham's underground, the reformed Riddler pieces together the puzzling new crime boss targeting Penguin and Two-Face. And throughout Gotham, Oracle's network of unlikely heroes may be all that stands between the city and its destruction. While the battle for the cowl rages on, the battle for Gotham is waged...

Gotham City is plagued with crime and corruption in places high and low, but one man has taken a stand against evil of all forms: the dark avenger known as Batman. But now Batman is gone - believed dead after the events of Batman R.I.P. and Final Crisis - and Gotham is a hotbed of possibility. A wave of heroes arrives in town to help calm the city, but can they succeed against Batman's terrifying enemies, who have their own plans for the new status quo? And how will Commissioner Gordon and Gotham's police force take down criminals like Mister Freeze without the Dark Knight's help?

Battle for the Cowl Companion is a collection of stories that are designed to provide additional background information for the Battle for the Cowl graphic novel. While reading the two does add much to the plot, it's really not essential that you own the Companion. It basically takes us a little deeper into the story. There are stories that follow Mr Freeze and Commissioner Gordon; Man-Bat; Jeremiah Arkham and his attempt to reform some of the most insane inmates of Arkham Asylum; Penguin and Two-Face's feud; Catwoman on the trail of Batman; and Oracle, Huntress and Batgirl on the trail of a madman who has kidnapped several people and is asking that their rescuers choose who lives and dies.

By far my biggest issue with this collection is that it clouds the main story arc. There are a few too many tales here that detract from the main plot. While these are designed to set up different characters for future stories, collecting them all together feels a little messy.

While far from a must own collection, this graphic novel provides some interesting spin-off tales. It's just a shame that they aren't tied together a little more neatly.


Darren Rea

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