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The Face of Gotham watches over her city as it begins descending into chaos with the absence of Batman. Vicki Vale returns to print journalism at the Gotham Gazette and begins investigating Bruce Wayne's di

Quote1 Changing is always harder than staying the same. It takes courage to face yourself in the mirror and look beyond the reflection. To find the you that you should have been. The you who got derailed by cruel childhood events. Events that took your life's natural trajectory and twisted it. Changing it into something unimaginable... or even incredible... giving you the courage to embrace you birthright, your destiny, and finally realize... that you are BATMAN. Quote2
Dick Grayson src

Battle for the Cowl is a Batman Family event establishing the status quo in Gotham City following the death of Batman. It was published as a core mini-series written and illustrated by Tony S. Daniel, two book-ends in Gotham Gazette: Batman Dead? #1 and Gotham Gazette: Batman Alive? #1, two mini-series involving Azrael and Oracle, and several one-shots including Arkham Asylum, Commissioner Gordon, Man-Bat, The Network, Secret Six and The Underground.

This event takes place following the events of Batman R.I.P. and Bruce Wayne's apparent death during Final Crisis. The personal effects of his death were shown in Last Rites and Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?, although Battle for the Cowl shows the violent fallout caused by his absence and the ensuing power vacuum. It leads directly into Batman: Reborn which establishes the new status quo moving forward.

Batman Jason Todd 001

Jason Todd as Batman.


The Face of Gotham watches over her city as it begins descending into chaos with the absence of Batman. Vicki Vale returns to print journalism at the Gotham Gazette and begins investigating Bruce Wayne's disappearance from public life. Stephanie Brown watches Robin take down Nocturna, although she's promised her mother Crystal Brown that she'll give up being a vigilante. Leslie Thompkins returns to set up her clinic in Gotham after a long stay in Africa, and she's forced to take care of Cavalier during a prison break. Harvey Bullock begins training Jamie Harper as his new partner in the MCU and they investigate her first murder together.[1]

With the city in chaos, Dick Grayson enlists Batman Family affiliates like Knight and Squire into the Network to keep things under control. There's a massive Arkham Asylum prison break organized by a new Black Mask, who burns the Asylum down and explains that he's had all the villains implanted with chips that will burn them alive unless they obey him. Commissioner Gordon is accused of losing Gotham to the gangs, and Riddler confronts him directly when the Bat-Signal is modified to say R.I.P.. In the Batcave, Tim Drake tries to convince Grayson that one of them needs to adopt the cowl, and begins wearing one of Batman's earlier suits when Grayson refuses. Drake begins hunting down an expert copycat Batman who is murdering criminals. Black Mask begins taking down the operations of Penguin and Two-Face as his two biggest competitors, and his agents capture Damian al Ghul taking a joyride in the Batmobile. Nightwing tries to save Damian and they're cornered by gunmen, until the impostor Batman shows up and reveals himself in a blaze of gunfire.[2] He saves them by shooting down all of the criminals, and Grayson deduces that this gunman is Jason Todd. Todd distracts them by non-fatally shooting Damian and escapes. Penguin and Two-Face begin going to war over Black Mask's actions, each believing the other is responsible as they're the biggest two figures in organized crime. Mask uses Adam Bomb and Firefly to devastate the city while Jane Doe is sent to impersonate a police officer and shoots Commissioner Gordon. Tim and Catwoman discover Jason's secret lair, although he catches them and pistol whips Catwoman off a rock.

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In their last battle, Nightwing kicks Jason Todd off a moving train.

Jason and Tim battle and Tim beats Jason with a crowbar, although Jason wins when he stabs Tim through the chest with a batarang.[3] The military is brought in to deal with Black Mask's terrorism, and Grayson coordinates the Network to look into this new villain. Black Mask quietly admires his own achievements while Penguin is arrested and Two-Face leaves town. Dick hunts down Jason, who lies that he killed Tim and they begin fighting. In Bruce's video will it is shown that he urged Jason to give up vigilante life, as he believes him to be mentally ill and in need of help. Their fight spills out into the open when Jason blows up his cave. Damian is stitched up and assists Squire in rescuing Tim before the roof caves in on him. In their ultimate battle, Dick and Jason literally battle over Batman's cowl atop a speeding subway car. Dick kicks Jason over the side and offers to lift him back up, but Jason refuses help and presumably plunges to his own death. Because of this disaster, Dick realizes the importance of what they do and finally decides that he will become the new Batman with Damian Wayne as Robin at his side.[4]

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Dick Grayson takes the cowl and becomes Batman.

In the wake of this tragedy, The Face of Gotham looks at her city again as it calms down. Harvey Bullock and Jamie Harper determine the murderer they're looking for is Azrael after interrogating Father Day, and decide to go after the current man wearing the Suit of Sorrows since it turned his predecessor Abraham Arlington insane. Leslie Thompkins struggles with the gang-bangers volunteering at her clinic, although she's assisted by the Cavalier who decides to repay her kindness by becoming her bodyguard. Stephanie Brown decides to disobey her mother by returning to her vigilante career as Spoiler, and taking down Nocturna. Vicki Vale puts the pieces together that Bruce Wayne must be Batman, and becomes obsessed with proving it.[5]


Arkham Asylum

 Main article: Batman: Arkham Reborn

Jeremiah Arkham reflects on his unique non-violent patients such as Hamburger Lady, Mirror Man and No-Face before deciding to rebuild the facilities by his ancestor Amadeus Arkham's designs. When Le Bossu commandeers Arkham Asylum for the Black Glove during Batman R.I.P., Jeremiah reawakens after Black Mask has already destroyed the asylum and taken his inmates. In the wreckage he finds his non-violent inmates and decides to take them to build a new asylum as a true sanctuary for society's outcasts.[6]


 Main article: Azrael: Death's Dark Knight

Michael Lane is approached by the Order of Purity to become the new Azrael, replacing Abraham Arlington who had been driven insane by the Suit of Sorrows. His mentors include Adrian Paratino, Felicidad Gomez, Garret Day and Leland McCauley.[7] Talia al Ghul sends the Seven Men of Death to reclaim the suit, and Lane defeats them although McCauley is killed.[8] Nightwing fights Lane mistaking him for the cop-killing Arlington, although they come to an understanding and Lane begins operating full-time as Azrael out of Leland McCauley's Brownstone.[9]

Commissioner Gordon

When the released Arkham inmates wreak havoc on Gotham, James Gordon is accused of being useless as Batman has always taken care of his worst problems. Mister Freeze is sighted and Gordon personally leads a squad of agents to take him down, although they're all frozen and he's kidnapped. Freeze takes Gordon hostage in his lair and taunts him for being unable to protect his city without Batman. Gordon pushes through the cold and breaks out of his chains, dismantling the equipment to take Freeze down with a gas explosion and then beat him with a lead pipe. Returning to GCPD Headquarters, he finally acknowledges that Batman is dead and tells his team it's time for them to take back their city.[10]


Kirk Langstrom is distressed when he realize he's the only friend of Batman not trusted enough to be called to Gotham's aid in the time of crisis. Francine Langstrom is kidnapped by Doctor Phosphorus, and Kirk takes the Man-Bat Serum again to become a monster and find her. Battling through Lynx and the Outsiders, he finds Phosphorus but is knocked out and has the rest of his serum destroyed. When Francine is about to be executed, Kirk hears Batman's voice inside his head and turns into Man-Bat without the serum for the first time. After beating Phosphorus to a pulp, he realizes he's become an even more dangerous monster with the Outsiders observing him and he runs off shirtless into the night.[11]

The Network

Oracle coordinates all available members of her Network when Hugo Strange announces he plans to test the new Batman. Three hostages are taken and Oracle is forced to choose which one will survive while the other two are killed, or given the option to save two by killing a third, with Strange taking gambling bets from a moving casino. Oracle foils his plans by hacking into his systems and having her operatives take down all of his men, proving that even with Batman gone they never need to take the easy way out.[12]


 Main article: Oracle: The Cure

Oracle's hacker friend is murdered by the Calculator while he is trying to find fragments of the Anti-Life Equation to resurrect his son Marvin and heal his comatose daughter Wendy.[13] This forces Oracle to enter the internet as a physical avatar and destroy his plans before Calculator kills again.[14] In their online battle, Calculator is infected with the Equation so that he can no longer use devices connected to the internet without Oracle finding him and taking him down. Wendy wakes up on her own before he can use the Equation on her, only to learn that she has also become paraplegic.[15]

Secret Six

 Main article: Secret Six: Depths

The Secret Six visit Gotham to pay their respects to Batman and take down a group of terrorists in his honor. Bane and Catman bicker sardonically, each suggesting that the other should take Batman's place while insisting that they both have no interest in doing so. Rag Doll wears a Robin costume and insists upon being the next He/She Wonder. They stop the terrorists from executing children of the capitalist elite, but Nightwing arrives and is furious that they murdered everyone in their path. He demands that they leave his city and they obey, with Catman remarking that the fascist sanctimony is why he could never be a super-hero.[16]

The Underground

 Main article: Gotham City Sirens

Penguin hires the Riddler as a private detective to investigate the new Black Mask. His first lead is the original Black Mask's killer Catwoman, who is busy taking down super-villains in the street while she deals with Bruce's death. Harley Quinn teams up with the Riddler when he asks to speak to her roommate, Catwoman's former successor Holly Robinson. Catwoman meets and fights the Batman impostor Jason Todd, who kicks her off a bridge and into a car. Poison Ivy burns Black Mask's controlling chip out of her own system and joins the group, as Riddler and Quinn converge to find Catwoman bleeding on the street.[17]



Recommended Reading

Links and References

Batman Blind Justice TP
Batman Family Storyline
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This event or storyline is specifically related to Batman, or to members of the Batman Family. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the Batman Storylines category.