Yay, I finally got my hands on this comic, which means I can finally dedicate a post to it. This book was written by Tony Daniel. Needless to say after the review itself I'm going to have a lot of extra stuff to add.
-We start with Nightwing(Dick Grayson)rallying the troops in Gotham, telling them that they have to reestablish order in the city. After his rooftop meeting with Gotham's costumed community, Dick goes off to find Robin(Tim Drake), since Tim hasn't been heard from since he went after the evil Batman impostor.
-The Gotham Police force mistakenly believes that Two Face is behind the recent crime wave in Gotham. However, the cops are basically out of the battle since the military has moved in to capture or kill Two Face and the Penguin. Penguin surrenders to the Army, while Two Face gets the hell out of Dodge via a boat.
-Damien wakes up and is paired with Squire by Alfred and told to earn his keep. Squire and Damien then proceed to go out in search of the evil Batman.
-Meanwhile, Black Mask(the true architect of the Gotham crime wave)sits alone in his home with his face shrouded in shadows, taking a moment to savor his victory.
-Dick finally arrives at the evil Batman's faux-Batcave and confronts him. The evil Batman taunts Dick by claiming to have killed Tim, but Dick refuses to believe it until he sees the body. Dick then reveals that he knows the evil Batman is Jason Todd, and shows Jason a recording made by The Batman prior to Batman's "death"/disappearance. In the recording, Bruce apologizes to Jason for failing him and implores Jason to seek out a doctor to help with his fractured psyche. Jason flips out after hearing the message and attacks Dick.
-While Dick and Jason battle each other, Tim wakes up and begins to slowly make his way out of Jason's Batcave. Unfortunately, the injuries Tim sustained during his earlier battle with Jason cause him to collapse again before escaping.
-By this point Damien(who is now dressed like Robin)and Squire have reached Jason's Batcave and have begun to hunt for any trace of either Jason or Tim.
-Dick and Jason battle for a few pages before Dick begins to gain the upper hand. Jason, sensing defeat, blows up his Batcave and makes a break for it, but is trailed by Dick.
-The force of the explosion awakens Tim, who staggers around in the smoke and flames of Jason's Cave, unable to find an exit. Damien swoops in from above and grabs hold of Tim, bringing him to safety.
-Jason makes his way to a train and hops atop the roof, but is doggedly pursued by Dick. The two continue their battle on the train with Dick managing to knock Jason over the edge. Jason clings to the edge of the train and Dick holds out a hand, offering to pull Jason to safety. Jason seemingly chooses death to dishonor, letting go of the train and falling to his apparent demise, but not before promising Dick that he hasn't seen the last of him yet.
-This issue comes to its conclusion with Dick realizing that Gotham City will always need a Batman, citing the psychological hold the cape and cowl seems to hold over the denizens of Gotham. Dick FINALLY dons the mantle of the Bat and takes to the rooftops of Gotham City as the new Batman.
OK, Before I say anything critical, allow me to state that Tony Daniel did a fantastic job on this mini-series. Not only did Tony write the story for this mini, he also did the pencil work, and managed to get everything out on time! So, big time props go out to Mr. Daniel. I actually liked this series a lot. The story was very good, and I couldn't wait to discover what would happen next. With that said though, I have to admit to being just a bit disappointed with the way things turned out here. I think EVERYBODY expected Dick to wind up as the new Batman and for Damien to become Robin #5. Jason Todd seemed the most likely to be running around as the evil Batman as well. There really weren't any curveballs thrown during this entire mini-series. Everything wound up EXACTLY the way I expected it to. I would have liked ONE surprise occurrence in this mini, you know, some kind of "Holy ###!" moment. That moment never happened. While this story WAS very good, it was also extremely formulaic.
The only mystery to come out of this series was the identity of the Black Mask. Is he actually the original Black Mask returned from the dead, or is he an impostor? Personally, I believe Black Mask is really Jason Todd. Why? During his climatic battle with Dick, Jason seemed to be dropping hints that he almost wanted Dick to get out from behind Bruce's shadow to "save" Gotham. Dick also thinks to himself that the only time he had a potential lead on the Black Mask, Jason was there to screw everything up. It is also important to note that the Joker isn't one of the Arkham escapee's who the Black Mask has coerced into working for him. It's not a stretch to say that the Joker is the one person Jason would absolutely never work with, so the Joker's absence here could very well mean something. For more evidence pointing at Jason as the Black Mask, one only has to look at the "Underground" comic that tied into "Battle for the Cowl". In that issue, Catwoman spots the Black Mask at a distance in an alleyway. She chases after him but winds up running into Jason Todd in his evil Batman guise... How could Black Mask have passed by Jason without Jason attacking him? Hmm... Of course I could be TOTALLY off base here(it wouldn't be the first time!)and the Black Mask could be the original, or maybe someone completely unexpected like the Joker. I guess only time will tell.
Besides Dick becoming the new Batman(which I like)is the fact that Damien is taking the name of Robin(which I really don't like). I don't like Damien. There I said it. I mean I really don't like him. The character has NO redeeming qualities. He's a nasty, self-absorbed, thoughtless, obnoxious, spoiled little punk. I'd love to hear from any fans of Damien out there, because I'd love to know what you see in the character. In a perfect world, Dick would have become the Batman and Tim Drake would have remained Robin.
Speaking of Tim, it seems he'll be taking the role of Red Robin in the new "Red Robin" comic book... That makes me very sad... After reading this comic, I went to check out the solicitations for the upcoming Bat-books, and I discovered the new Red Robin comic would be written by Chris Yost. Anybody who knows me knows of my blinding hatred of Yost's work, and my refusal to read ANYTHING written by him. That means I will not be reading Red Robin, which is unfortunate, considering the fact that I do like Tim Drake. Oh well, hopefully Yost won't be on that book for long.
Boy, I sure wrote a lot here! For a score, I'll give this comic a 9 1/2 out of 10. Even though this comic was very predictable, it was also very engaging. I truly enjoyed this mini-series and would easily give all three issues a very strong recommendation.