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Batman: Under the Cowl TPB

Given Bruce Wayne’s death and subsequent absence from current events in the DCU, given that it’s now Dick Grayson in the tights, and taking into account this little identity shift under the cowl; it makes complete sense that DC has released this new collection of stories all focusing on someone else standing in for Bruce as the caped crusader.

Right on the cover are the three selling main points for readers to get excited about. Among the other writers, Geoff Johns, Bill Willingham and the current bat-scribe Grant Morrison all contribute stories to this volume. Morrison’s story takes place in a possible future where his son Damien dons the mantle of the bat. The art is superb and the story is about as coherent or consice as Morrison’s been of late. With out any doubt, this the best story in the collection. All of the stories are fun, although Johns’ story is actually a Teen Titans comic that features Tim Drake as a future Batman and although it was great to see Willingham write a bat-story, it was nothing more than a cute little novelty in Batman’s history and slightly disappointing. Other stories deal with the militant and malicious Jean-Paul Valley stepping into the tights after Wayne’s back is broken by Bane in the mid nineties, Dick foreshadowing currents events when he takes over (after Valley proves to be mental) and a Batman Beyond story. This is a collection that casual fans of Batman and the hardcore alike can enjoy, but it’s not an essential volume for your collection.

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