Published by DC Comics in 1975, The Cape and Cowl Deathtrap is a standalone Batman story written by Elliot S! Maggin and illustrated by Walter Simonson. The story first appeared in Detective Comics issue #450 and tells the story of a plot to obtain Batman’s mask.
What happens in Batman: The Cape and Cowl Deathtrap?
Batman is investigating the assassination attempt of a Senator, when the trail leads him to a man named Harcourt. Harcourt seems to know more than he is willing to say, leaving Batman at a loose end.
A short while later, Harcourt employs the services of freelance assassin, Jeremy Wormwood. Harcourt feels humiliated over his encounter with Batman, so wishes to return the favour by stripping the Dark Knight of his cape and cowl.
Wormwood accepts the job, and after setting a waxwork deathtrap for Batman he is successful in acquiring the garment. He takes this back to Harcourt to receive his payment.
As the two celebrate Wormwood’s victory, Harcourt asks the assassin about his involvement in the plot to kill the Senator. He presumes Wormwood was the assassin, but is curious who the client was.
Wormwood reveals the name of the client, thus also confirming he was the assassin. It is at this point that Harcourt reveals his true identity, as Batman!
Batman disguised himself as Harcourt to get information from Wormwood. The job to obtain Batman’s cape and cowl was all part of the elaborate scheme and now he is able to close the case.
Is Batman: The Cape and Cowl Deathtrap worth a read?
Running to a mere 12 pages, The Cape and Cowl Deathtrap is a short, yet brilliant story which is a joy to read. The plot is well-paced by Elliot S! Maggin, while Walter Simonson’s illustrations are superb.
Working together, the creative duo deliver so many standout moments (the waxwork deathtrap, the big ‘reveal’ at the end etc), that it is baffling how all this fits into so few pages. In fact, this tale could easily suffer from being too short, yet what it lacks in length it certainly makes up for in action and suspense to ensure it delivers.
Sure it could have been extended (more about that below), but what The Cape and Cowl Deathtrap offers is a great little Batman tale that really hits the spot! This is a Batman story which is highly recommended.
Has Batman: The Cape and Cowl Deathtrap been adapted for film?
The Cape and Cowl Deathtrap has not been adapted for film, however, in 1992 the story was adapted for television as an episode of Batman: The Animated Series. The episode, called The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy, was a fairly faithful retelling of the comic book, but with further content that added even more action to the story.
If you read The Cape and Cowl Deathtrap and enjoy it, I recommend you check out The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy as it is equally as good. You will see the similarities and differences between the two stories, but find much to like about the animated adaptation.
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