The Batman: Battle for the Cowl panel at New York Comic Con focused on what will happen to all the Batman books now that Batman R.I.P. and Final Crisis caused a job opening in Gotham City.
On the panel were Greg Rucka, Dustin Nguyen, Mike Marts, Mike Siglain, Peter Tomasi, Tony Daniel and Ian Sattler.
Sattler asked the audience how many people think Batman's dead. Very few responded. The audience guessed he was in the beginning of time or somewhere else in the multiverse.
Marts said that the three-issue limited series Battle for the Cowl begins in March and will address what happens in the void of Batman. Tony Daniel will write and draw the comic.
Daniel said he's enjoying the chance to write the Gotham characters, and he's been working closely with Marts on every element of the story. "I'm waiting for approval of how this ends, and if I get my way, I'll be very happy," Daniel said.
A series of five one-shots will also come out during the Battle for the Cowl event, each focusing on a different character or characters, including one for Man-Bat, one for Commissioner Gordon, and also the Network, the Underground and the Arkham Asylum one-shots. There will also be two one-shots called Gotham Gazette that will start and finish the series.
Sattler then played a game of "Family Feud" with the audience, where people had to guess what series were being announced to begin in June.
When a fan guessed Detective Comics, Sattler announced that Rucka will take over as writer on Detective Comics beginning in June with Batwoman in the lead role and J.H. Williams. Rucka said he's not sure how long he's going to be on Detective Comics, but he said J.H. Williams will be on the book for at least 12 issues.
"I think there's a legitimate question why we should care about this character. And the reason you should care is she's kick-ass cool," Rucka said.
When the crowd had only three successful guesses (out of eight) but couldn't get any more of them, Dan DiDio stood up in the audience to guess all the books being announced for June.
The other comic book series beginning in June are:
- Batman and Robin
- Red Robin
- Batman: The Streets of Gotham
- Gotham City Sirens (with implications being that Catwoman would be part of the book)
- (the aforementioned) Detective Comics
The unsuccessful guesses, which will NOT be out in June, included:
The panel was then opened to questions.
- Was Bane ever considered for Battle for the Cowl? Marts: His involvement in Secret Six made him a little too busy.
- Will we see more Tim vs. Damian? Marts: Yes.
- Will Paul Dini be involved in future Batman books? Marts: Yes. Perhaps in more than one spot.
- Will the Batman books be tying into Blackest Night at all? Sattler: Yes.
- Will the fate of Wayne Enterprises be decided in Battle for the Cowl? Daniel: There's some foreshadowing in the first issue, but that will mostly be handled in the June books.
- Is Renee Montoya on an alternate earth? Rucka: "No. Is Grant Morrison on an alternate earth? Yes!"
- Will Owlman get a book? Tomasi: No. Batman and the Outsiders is out next Wednesday, and a lot will be revealed about Owlman in that.
- What is Joker doing during this? Sattler: You wait awhile for Joker.
- Since there's no Nightwing book, does that mean there's no Nightwing? Rucka: There's a character in Action Comics named Nightwing.
- Will there be any more Gotham Central characters showing up? Rucka: Yes, in Detective Comics they will lead back in because I can't keep away from them. Maggie shows up by Issue #856. The first four issues are an initial story with Batwoman, then there are three issues that are about her origin.
- Did Harvey kill the guy who shot Gordon? Rucka: Yes. And I don't think they've ever explained how he got his badge back. Sattler: We'll explain that.
- Will the whole DC Universe be involved in Battle for the Cowl? Daniel: Not really. We're going to see a few of the central characters like Tim Drake, Dick Grayson and Jason Todd as the main focus of the story. The battle is pretty much a three-way battle. It's going to be limited to just Gotham City. It's a very personal battle.
- (Asked by Marts) Are Catwoman, Knight and Squire, Ragman, and Black Canary there? Daniel: They're all there, but they don't necessarily all want to be Batman.
- Will Alfred be involved in all these books? Tomasi: You'll see his military background and a harsher side of him in Batman and the Outsiders. He's the eyes and ears of the Batman and the Outsiders Special.
- What's the motivation of those three characters who are battling for the cowl? Why isn't Dick Grayson the obvious choice? Daniel: Well, Grayson doesn't think there should be a new Batman. He thinks he's irreplaceable. But they all realize that without him, Gotham is a mess. But Tim might have a different idea, and think maybe he should step up before someone else takes over Gotham.
- What are the major villains doing now that there's chaos in Gotham? Daniel: Two-Face and the Penguin have gained alliances, with bad guys choosing sides in a battle for Gotham. Commissioner Gordon is losing control and people are asking him to step down. He's considering calling in the National Guard. "We also see the return of an old villain who's kind of new again."
Daniel said there will be two Batman-costumed people fighting each other during the series.
- Are there any plans for the Anarchy to appear again? Marts: He did appear in Robin recently, and we do plan to involve him in the future.
- Will we see interaction between Talia and Jason Todd? Marts: Yes.
- When is Grant Morrison coming back to Batman? Sattler: June.
- Is Deathstroke going to be in Batman and the Outsiders? Yes, Deathstroke is in an upcoming issue, and he'll meet Geo Force. There will be a bit of violence.
- How involved in Battle for the Cowl is Hush? Daniel: Not in Battle for the Cowl. Marts: He'll be around in June. Tommy's in an interesting spot right now because he looks like Bruce Wayne, so that story will be told.
- Are there people who are going to support different sides of the battle for Batman? Daniel: There's a network in Gotham City that Batgirl and Dick put together to control Gotham. There will be characters with whom they're close.
- A fan asked why Batman's corpse is in Final Crisis, but then he's at the beginning of time? Sattler: The answer will come soon. That corpse is something, and we're getting to it soon.
- What is Dustin going to be drawing? Tomasi: Well, he's up here, so you can guess from there. But it isn't announced yet.
- When is there going to be fallout from Final Crisis and Batman R.I.P. in the rest of the DC Universe? Sattler: Very soon. And it will be labeled on the front of the book, so you can't miss it.
- What number can fans call to get Jason Todd killed again? Sattler (joking): We'll have some kind of text message where you can vote during American Idol.
- Is Two-Face actually going to wear the costume? Rucka: It will be a giant penny that he flips. Sattler: We're not going to answer that question because it's
- Is Fabian Nicieza going to be involved in the Bat books? Marts: Yes. He's contributed greatly to the Bat books. You'll be seeing Fabe on the Bat books for awhile to come.
- What was the green-eyed monster attached to Bat-Mite? Marts: It is a story that will be told.
- Will we see Club of Heroes in Battle for the Cowl? Marts: Yes.
- Will the Spectre be involved? Sattler: No.
- Any more Edward Nigma? Marts: Yes, he'll be in the Underground one-shot. Daniel: He's in Battle for the Cowl #1.
- How will Battle for the Cowl affect the relationship between Batman and Superman? Sattler: It will, obviously. But Superman's going to be pretty busy. Rucka: Superman's not really at home. He's going to be on another planet most of this time. He's got his hands full. But I will tell you this -- he's Superman, and he will know who's under the cowl. If he had a problem with it, he'd address it.
- Will the Superman/Batman comic going to reflect these changes? Sattler: It will continue as a comic.
- Will Bat-Mite figure into what's going on with Bruce Wayne? Marts: Not in the next few months.
- More Neil Gaiman on Batman? Marts: His comic comes out next week. Sattler: The Neil Gaiman Batman stuff is "truly remarkable." Marts: They're two extremely special issues. It might be among Neil's best work. It's definitely Andy Kubert's best work. Sattler: There probably won't be more Neil this year, but you will definitely want to check out those issues.
- Will Red Robin be wearing the Kingdom Come costume in the June series? Sattler: We can't say.
- With Birds of Prey ending, will those characters be in Battle for the Cowl? Daniel: Yes. I love Birds of Prey, and we see them in every issue. They help Tim and Dick handle Gotham. Siglain: Check out the Oracle mini-series and the Batgirl series for more on them.
- Will there be variant covers for Battle for the Cowl? Marts: Yes. Daniel: Am I doing them? Marts: Yes. One variant per issue.
- Any chance Jason Todd will take on Azrael? Marts: There's a chance.
- Where will we see Bruce Wayne again? Sattler: You might see him again, but you'll just have to keep reading.
- How did Tim Drake grow his hair back? Marts: Fabian has an answer for that and it will be addressed.
- Will they all make it out of Battle for the Cowl? Sattler: There will be a coffin.
- When will we see Nightwing's lair again? Tomasi: Unfortunately, the lair is not going to be around. Sattler: Along with Nightwing, possibly.
- Where will Tony go after Battle for the Cowl? Marts: I'm not letting him go anywhere else.
- Which book will Stephanie Brown be in, and will she be appearing regularly? Marts: She'll be in Gotham Gazette next.More New York Comic Con 2009 Coverage: NYCC '09 Video Page