Batman: The Court of Owls Review

Court of Owls is an explosive and intriguing series introduction by Snyder and Capullo. A must read.

Overview

This the first Batman book in the New 52 series and sees Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo return to spearhead the arc. I’ve been after reading this book for a long time, especially after reading The Black Mirror and being so impressed with Scott Snyder. The New 52 is somewhat of a reboot like the current Rebirth series is and I was looking forward to seeing what Scott Snyder can do in a series rather than a standalone. I wasn’t disappointed.

Batman: The Court of Owls Review

New 52 Owls Rogues Gallery
Rogue’s Gallery

The Court of Owls quickly gets into the action (like most books do) with an all out assault inside Arkham Asylum against a few of the Rogue’s Gallery – this helped me know that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman was going to be a hands on one – it also establishes who is in Arkham currently and for those not featured, possibly on the loose. As the fighting goes on and somewhat of a confusing event where Batman and Joker fight alongside each other (!) you get to grips quickly what the art’s going to be like – sharp, dark and rich with colour. There’s only a hand full of books I’ve read so far where the art is something that stands out for me -Greg Capullo’s is one of them.

The art throughout the Court of Owls is so rich, explosive and detailed. You feel the emotions of the characters in every panel and panels involving fights are engaging. To me, the art and the writing fit together perfectly and drags you in to Gotham. Now I’m not an artsy guy at all and generally my reviews are more weighted towards the plot and the dialogue but I have to say, Greg Capullo’s work blew me away.

Batman Family New 52
Batman Family

But that’s not the only reason why I loved Court of Owls so much – I love what Scott Snyder’s done with Batman, he’s young in the New 52 but just as brutal as his older years – in tow are Damian, a young Dick Grayson and Tim Drake as Red Robin. The one confusing bit I suppose is that Bruce Wayne looks so young that he may well have adopted Dick in his teenager years but then again it doesn’t really matter.

Batman Vs. Nightwing
Batman Vs. Nightwing

The plot line revolves around the titular court of owls, a secretive group of people who apparently ‘run’ Gotham from the shadows and have a long history with the Wayne’s and may well have snuffed a couple of them out throughout the centuries – now Bruce Wayne is in their sights and he’s not going to go down easily.

The story has plenty of intrigue as Batman tries to track the Owls down (while the Owls try to track him down) and there isn’t a single boring moment in any chapter. I read the Court of Owls in two sittings and couldn’t wait to find out more and more. Bruce Wayne in the new 52 is much more advanced than perhaps

Owl
Owl

his ‘predecessors’ and even then he can’t quite figure it out. The owls go back a long way and we get to see some new bits from Bruce’s past which I enjoyed reading, sometimes I feel adding more to Bruce’s past made it bloated but it wasn’t the case with Snyder’s subtle glimpses.

Ultimately, it was bringing out the World’s Greatest Detective on a case full of intrigue which presented excellent is why I loved this book so much. At times, Bruce was pushed to his limits in a way that wasn’t over the top to the point where he may as well be Superman but this was done in such a way that Batman came out looking meaner, tougher and more human.

Lastly, the Court of Owls are a fascinating bunch and a welcome addition to Batman’s shit list – Scott Snyder took a chance by not using any familiar faces and it has paid off big time. I absolutely loved the Court of Owls.

Summary

Batman: The Court of Owls is a phenomenal book and one that every Batman fan needs to own. The art, story and character are outstanding. One of my favourites of all time.

 

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Batman: The Court of Owls
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