Reviewed By: Faith McAdams
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Genre: Graphic Novel (Hardcover)
MSRP: $24.99 USA
Release Date: Available Now
When The New 52 was announced, just the idea of giving each DC favorite a fresh new start sent a shockwave throughout the comic book community. Without a doubt, it was one of the most anticipated events for comic book fans and it did not disappoint in the very least. As it did for other DC titles, the Batman series also sees a new beginning this time under the care of the brilliant team-up of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Volume 1: The Court of Owls covers the first seven issues of Batman … a series that will not fail to keep you on the edge of your seat from the very start.
Gotham City is not only home to a number of flashy and eccentric characters but it is has a rich history filled with mysteries that are older than the city itself. One of these mysteries are the urban legends involving a mysterious group called the Court of Owls that has eyes everywhere and nests scattered throughout and if you’re not careful they will send the Talon for your head.
Sounds scary, doesn’t it? However, for Bruce Wayne, the Court of Owls is nothing just an urban myth that is but one part of Gotham’s “charm”. Still, Batman has his hands occupied with a real threat and that is the inmates of Arkham Asylum where all the familiar faces are facing off against the Bat … and the Joker? Well, that’s what it seems like to Commissioner Gordon as yet another case is closed for Dark Knight.
Meanwhile, as his alter ego, Bruce introduces his new project that will change the face of Gotham in a major way. With all of Gotham’s wealthy citizens as well as some very important figures like Lincoln March, Gotham’s current mayoral candidate. Even Dick Grayson, Tim Drake and Damian Wayne are present to show their support. However, it is March that Bruce wants on his side since he seems to stand for all the things that are good about the city. He even agrees to meet with March in private, but duty calls and Bruce sneaks away to see to a gruesome murder scene.
It seems that a complete mystery man with no real prints or a true identity is found strapped and used like a human dartboard with antique throwing knives stuck to all the right vital organs. The killer also left behind a message in oil that says Bruce Wayne will die tomorrow. Investigating the murder, two things show up that are quite surprising. One is that the body of the victim carries the unusual signature of the Court of Owls and the other being that DNA found on the body also points to somebody very close to Batman.
Despite having a new mystery to unravel, Bruce meets with Lincoln March on the top floor of the original Wayne Tower when they are both attacked by a man in an unusual costume that brings to mind Night Owl from The Watchmen. Armed with antique throwing knives, the assailant injures March and throws Bruce out the window but the only one that goes splat is the killer who gets up again. Thus, begins Batman’s frantic search to find the Court of Owls. He’s like a man possessed as he investigates as he tells Dick Grayson about an incident in his past that became something of an obsession.
When he does find evidence of the Court of Owl’s existence, Batman falls prey to a trap that will test his survival skills and his very own sanity. Locked in a labyrinth with various clues about the group, Batman becomes disheveled and pushed to the edge of sanity. Several days in the darkness, Batman ventures out only to see that the Court had dealt with Waynes before such as Alan Wayne who was thought to have died when he fell down a manhole. Suddenly, the Court’s assassin called Talon attacks and injures Batman so badly that he suddenly tastes death by the hands of the Court itself.
In a desperate battle to stay alive, Batman manages to get the upper hand on his enemy and also finds a way to escape only to pass out and wake up in a van where he was brought back to life by none other than a girl that Batman knows well. It is back in the Batcave that the Dark Knight discovers that Alfred had picked up the body of the Talon. It is there and then that Batman makes a very grim discovery as well as a shocking link between the man who wore the Talon outfit and Dick Grayson himself.
I said it once and I’ll say it again, Scott Snyder is one of the best comic book writers to come along in a long time and this Batman series is better with him behind the story. He weaves an interesting tale with enemies that give the Dark Knight something to worry about and, by the end of this volume; you will want to see where The Court of Owls storyline will take our hero who is a Batman with more personality and flaws. This is a Batman who can get hurt and knows his own limits.
Then there is the artwork by Greg Capullo that is absolutely gorgeous and beautifully detailed to the point that you will be flipping back the pages to admire the artwork again. Since the story contains gruesome scenes, there’s blood aplenty and Capullo pulls it off brilliantly.
An astonishing new Batman title that marks the perfect beginning for fans new or returning, Volume 1 of this hardcover collection is a Must Have for any comic book fan who has been waiting for a great Batman book. Snyder and Capullo are a pitch-perfect duo that make this series and its storyline worth reading and trust me when I say that you will be wanting more by the end. The New 52 is a hit and it’s because of titles like this one.
COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN
Investigating a gruesome murder, the Dark Knight uncovers a threat to the life of his own alter ego, Bruce Wayne, by the Court of Owls. What he thought was simply a fabricated urban legend becomes truth as Batman is targeted by this group and its dangerous knife-throwing assassins. Suddenly, Batman finds himself a prisoner of the Court as he fights for his own survival or die trying.
Greg Capullo’s artwork is absolutely stunning and fits the story perfectly as Capullo captures Batman at his most vulnerable and pulls it off beautifully. He is certainly the best choice for handling the art in this series and the coloring by FCO and the inking by Jonathan Glapion make this a team made in comic book heaven.
Snyder and Capullo not only bring us one of the strongest entries in The New 52 but also a Batman series long-time and new fans of the Caped Crusaders will enjoy sinking their teeth into from the very beginning. Without a doubt, Volume 1: Court of Owls is a collection that really should be sitting in your shelf with other classic Batman hardcover editions.
Review copy provided by DC Comics