By Totally Bitchin’ (aka Eric Drumm)
Who is going inherit the Bat mantle?
With Batman RIP heading towards its dramatic (and long awaited for some!) conclusion, Bruce Wayne may be going bye bye. Is he gonna die? Is he gonna retire? Will he descend into madness, never to be heard from again? Grant Morrison knows, but he ain’t telling.
With all controversy going around, aren’t we forgetting one major dilemma? With the Bat mantle vacated, who is going to step up and take control of Gotham?
Following Batman RIP is the much hushed “Battle For the Cowl” arc. The title suggests that there is a slugfest on the horizon between the Bat boys to see who gets the cape. Who can even pretend they are qualified to replace the Dark Knight? A few are real contenders, but there are a few underdogs that could potentially take the title.
Here are a few of the folks we think just might take it. But don’t listen to us! Sound off with your own theories in the comments!
The crimefighter and notorious ladies man is the most obvious choice to take up the mantle. Dick Grayson has been knocking out wise guys since he was a pre-teen, taking direction from the Dark Knight himself. Since he traded in the pixie boots for the Nightwing disco collar, Dick has been fighting to make a name for himself outside his Bat-past almost as hard as he fights bad guys. Nearly to the point of having a chip on his shoulder about it, Dick will have words with anyone who doesn’t think that he is his own man. He hates being associated with his “dad,” and this potentially poses a problem. After all this time, why would he go back on everything he has tried to build for himself? It took quite a bit of coaxing to get Dick into the cowl during “Prodigal.” With all the self doubt and whining about the hero life going on in his own title, is Nightwing even stable enough to be Batman? Not to mention that he is currently drooling on himself in a stupor in Arkham, so that doesn’t help much either. However, knowing Dick, his undying sense of responsibility may lure him into the Cave.
By far the most capable of all the Robins, Tim “Tim Wayne” Drake has the same problem that his “big brother” Nightwing suffers from — crippling self doubt. Tim figured out who Batman was, went on an international adventure, almost banged Lady Shiva, and fought the Joker all within a few weeks of becoming the third Robin. Not bad for a skinny 14-year-old. Robin isn’t taking this whole Batman RIP thing too well. Forced to protect Gotham on his own, he is in way over his head. As a result, his thinking doesn’t exactly speak “I’m awesome!” In fact, he is lower than he has been in a while. Keep in mind this is the kid who lost his girlfriend, his only parent, and his best friend all at the same time, and still soldiered on. Tim may not think he is ready for it, but even Batman has been quoted that Tim can do just about anything, so he may be able to pull it off. The costume won’t fit, but Alfred can help with that. “Titans Tomorrow” showed us a pistol packing Bat-Tim 10 years in the future, so it’s not impossible.
Think what you like about ol’ JT, but he’s back. So the rest of us will just have to get used to it. Leaving a mountain of dead criminals in his wake, Jason killed the hell out of lot of dudes as the Red Hood, much to Batman’s dismay. Back from his adventure in the Multiverse (yeah, we know), Jason’s schedule is pretty open these days. He is currently organizing a gang war in the pages of ROBIN, but perhaps his plan is to sit on the underworld throne with a cape on. Despite his fleeting moments of redemption, Jason Todd is a smarmy violent jerk (and this is coming from someone that likes him!). Impulsive, murderous and recklessly irresponsible, Jason seems the least likely to take the title. However, Jason’s lack of morals may be his biggest strength in the battle for the cowl. Dick and Tim have rules they have to follow as do-gooders, Jason doesn’t. He can literally do whatever it takes to be Batman, included dusting anyone that gets in his way. That’s a very scary thought, but its one that could come true. The internet may explode with fan outcry if it comes to pass, but this is also the guy who was voted to die and then miraculously and ridiculously came back. So there ya go.
This fella HATES Batman. Forget the Joker or Ra’s Al Ghul, Hush hates him with every cell in his body. He has nearly destroyed him a few times, but what if Batman really disappeared? What of Hush then? Would Hush even know what to do with himself if his nemesis suddenly kicked? Becoming what you hate the most and perverting it into something evil sounds like the perfect revenge, don’t it? Hush is more than a little cold blooded, so metaphorically peeing on the Dark Knight’s grave makes a lot of sense. The rest of the Bat family will probably take issue with this, the Bat-boys VS Hush could be the main event of “Battle For the Cowl.”
The “son” of the Bat has been a first class a-hole since he showed up. Arrogant, snobbish and most of all murderous, lil’ Bats has already spilled enough blood and insults to wear out his welcome. With his actual parentage still in question, Damien could be just another ruse in a larger scheme to bring down Batman. However, the little bugger has had a few moments where he genuinely seemed like he wanted to follow his father’s path. If the kid can learn to play well with others and quit killing people, he just might make it. One small hurtle, though – he is only 10! BATMAN #666 told us that Damien does in fact take over for Bruce Wayne in the future, but was there an interim Bat?
As “Batman RIP” wraps up, it’s certain that there will be lots of questions. But what happens to the cape and cowl is up in the air. Will the man (or woman, or boy) behind the mask be the best choice are will it be an Azbats level crisis?