Batman: Battle for the Cowl
Cover of the trade paperback of Batman: Battle for the Cowl story arc, art by Tony Daniel.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
FormatLimited series
Publication dateMarch – May 2009
No. of issues3
Main character(s)
Creative team
Written byTony Daniel
Penciller(s)Tony Daniel
Inker(s)Sandu Florea
Letterer(s)Jared Fletcher
Colorist(s)Ian Hannin
  • Mike Marts
  • Janelle Siegel
Collected editions
Battle for the CowlISBN 1-4012-2416-4
Battle for the Cowl CompanionISBN 1-4012-2495-4

"Batman: Battle for the Cowl" is a 2009 comic book storyline published by DC Comics, consisting of an eponymous, three-issue miniseries written and penciled by Tony Daniel, as well as a number of tie-in books. The central story details the chaos in Gotham City following the "Batman R.I.P." and "Final Crisis" story arcs, due to Batman's absence. His disappearance is caused by the character's apparent death at the hands of Darkseid in Final Crisis, which causes dissension in the ranks of his allies and enemies who fight for the right to become the new Batman.[1][2][3]

Publication history

While the core story is presented as self-contained within the limited series, DC has published a group of related stories in various one-shot issues and limited series.

The comic titles Nightwing, Robin, and Birds of Prey were cancelled and Batman and Detective Comics went on hiatus for three months beginning in March 2009. The Battle for the Cowl plot focuses on the aftermath of Final Crisis and Batman: R.I.P. and the battle for Gotham.[1][3][4]

Other publications tied into this storyline are a three-part Oracle miniseries,[5] a three-part Azrael miniseries,[6][7] and two bookends titled Gotham Gazette that encompass the changes in all of those series. In addition, DC published five one-shots focusing on key characters in subsequent story lines[8] featuring the Man-Bat, Commissioner Gordon, the Network, the Underground and Arkham Asylum.[9]

At New York Comic Con 2009, DC Comics' creative personnel announced the launch of several new series to coincide with the new Batman and Robin adjusting to Gotham City's altered status quo.[9]

Plot summary


The prelude to the story begins with Grant Morrison's Batman and Son, which starts off with the Joker being shot by a man pretending to be Batman. Batman then realizes that since his return after a one year absence, he has eliminated all supercrime in the city. Talia al Ghul then wrests the Man-Bat formula from Kirk Langstrom leading to Batman confronting Talia. Talia reveals that Bruce is the father of her son, named Damian Wayne. Damian then tries to replace Tim Drake as Robin. After a confrontation with Talia on a boat ends with Talia and Damian getting hit by a torpedo Bruce simply leaves. Damian then returns to Bruce in the Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul, though Ra's's resurrection cannot be stopped, Damian learns about the rest of Bruce Wayne's sons. In Batman R.I.P, Bruce confronts the Black Glove and attacks Simon Hurt in a helicopter that explodes. Bruce survives and spends some time looking for the body of Hurt, but is called away by Superman to investigate the death of the New God Orion. In Final Crisis, Bruce ends up being captured by Granny Goodness and Darkseid's minions attempt to clone Batman. Batman ultimately escapes, his clone commits suicide, and Bruce takes the bullet used to kill Orion and shoots Darkseid with it, breaking his no gun policy, but his decision allows the Black Racer to substitute Barry Allen's fate for Darkseid. However, Darkseid simultaneously hits Bruce with the Omega Sanction, sending him to the past. Superman takes Bruce's body, actually the body of the only successful clone, to Nightwing. Chaos breaks out in Gotham as Batman is no longer operational and Dick refuses to become Batman because Bruce told him not to in Batman's Will.

Central storyline

Poster art of Battle for the Cowl story arc, art by Tony Daniel.

Due to his involvement in Hurt's plan to kill Batman, Michael Lane believes himself to be responsible for the crime and trauma brought to Gotham City. He confesses this to his priest who takes him in to the Order of Purity to become the next Azrael. In his first act as Azrael, Michael Lane defends the properties of the Azrael suit from Talia al Ghul, in turn preventing her from giving it to Damian Wayne. Azrael then manages to not only defeat Talia, but also retrieve the Sword of Salvation from her. Azrael is then attacked by Nightwing, believing him to be responsible for the death of a police official. Azrael manages to convince Nightwing that he is not responsible for the murder.

Nightwing becomes as cold as Bruce had. Despite Tim's requests, he refuses to take up the mantle of the Bat. This leads to an imposter taking up the mantle, but this one uses brute force and shoots his victims to death. Black Mask II soon takes control of Arkham's inmates with implants that will kill them if they do not obey him. Among his recruits are Scarecrow, Jane Doe, Firefly, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc and Victor Zsasz.

After Damian is attacked by Killer Croc, Nightwing rescues him, but is in turn attacked by the imposter Batman, Jason Todd. When Damian attempts to prove himself to Dick by attacking Jason, he is shot by the latter and severely wounded, saved only by Alfred. This leads to Tim Drake assuming the mantle of Batman and tracking Jason down to a demented version of the Batcave. There he too is attacked and severely wounded by Jason, who awaits the arrival of Nightwing.

Damian is then sent by Alfred to find and rescue Tim, though to make sure that he does not get further injured, he is sent with Squire. The two of them rescue Tim together. Meanwhile, Dick enters an all out brawl with Jason which leads to a fight on top of Gotham's sky train system. Dick manages to defeat Jason, but the latter falls into Gotham River telling Dick that they'll be meeting soon enough. Dick then returns to the Batcave and assumes the mantle of Batman.


Main books


Collected editions

The series and its secondary titles are being collected into four individual trade paperbacks:


Batman publications and story lines