Batman #8 Review
- Published on Thursday, 19 April 2012 05:25
- Written by Kevin
The Night of the Owls event is here. After building it up in the pages of Batman and Nightwing Scott Snyder and the rest of the Batman crew are ready for the Owls to strike. Batman #8 officially kicks things off with Bruce Wayne taking on the Court of Owls head on. With the rest of the Batman Family ready to fight by his side there is no reason to not be excited for The Night of the Owls. There are sure to be a number of great twists in store for us. With that said let’s see how it begins with Batman #8.
Writers: Scott Snyder (Main Story, Back-Up Co-Writer); James Tynion (Back-Up Co-Writer)
Artists: Greg Capullo (Main Story); Rafael Albuquerque (Back-Up)
Inker: Jonathan Glapion
Colorists: FCO Plascencia (Main Story); Nathan Fairbairn (Back-Up)
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Turning on the lights Alfred finds Bruce overlooking a model replica of Gotham City. Alfred tries to make Bruce heal his eye injuries but Bruce just goes on a long rant on how much of an arrogant fool he has been in a city filled with them. (Now are we sure this is Bruce and not some Cadmus clone?)
Just then the power is cut inside the mansion. Bruce tells Alfred to head to the Batcave while he handles the intruders.
Running upstairs, Bruce is confronted by a Talon. He is able to make quick work of the Talon only to find more Talons have surrounded him.
Inside the Batcave, Alfred sees Bruce being surrounded by Talons. Suddenly, Alfred finds himself in a similar situation as one of the Talons has found him in the Batcave.
Doing the best he can, Bruce takes the fight with the Talons to the roofs. There Bruce is able to take down one of the Talons using the higher ground. Seeing that the others are coming after him he dives activates a secret passage in the chimney that takes him to the Batcave (When Santa pays a visit to Wayne Manor this Christmas he will be in store for one big bat surprise).
Once he arrives, Bruce finds only a Talon waiting for him. The Talon goads Bruce by saying he knows his secret. Before Bruce can do anything the big penny is dropped right on top of Talon by Alfred (You had to know Bruce did not keep it around as just a paper weight).
Knowing that things are not over Bruce takes the tracking chip the Talon they have pinned under the penny and takes Alfred to a secret bunker within the Batcave. There Bruce gives Alfred the chip for analysis. He also tells Alfred to turn down the temperature within the Batcave.
All of the Talons find the secret bunker and try forcing their way in but before they do that the doors begin to open. Once fully opened Bruce comes out ready to fight in his new Batman armor (Very reminiscent of the Dark Knight armor mixed in with the Mark I Iron Man armor). End of main story.
Back-Up Synopsis: As Batman confronts all of the Talons Alfred quickly hacks the chip they got from one of the Talons. Inside he sees the names of all of the most important people in Gotham City listed for execution by the Court of Owls.
Alfred tells Batman what he has found but it is too late as the Talons have already found and killed City Comptroller Betty Park, Sheriff Deputy Michael Davis, Supreme Court Justice Jan Spitz and a number of others on the list. (I am pretty sure all these gory death scenes move this issue from a T rating to an M rating. Just saying.)
Batman tells Alfred to put out a call to The (Batman) Family. Not wasting time Alfred puts out a message for every member of the Batman Family to inform them about the Court of Owls intentions and sends them the list of people they must protect (All of a sudden Alfred has become the DC New 52 version of Oracle). Once the message is done Alfred sits and prays while Batman continues his fight with the Talons mere feet from where he is.
The Good: Awesome. Spectacular. Amazing. Phenomenal. Breathtaking. These are just a few adjectives that I have used over the course of Scott Snyder’s run on both Batman and Detective Comics. I am almost at the point where I may have to actually use the thesaurus to come up with new adjectives for Snyder’s work on the Batman franchise. And when it comes to Batman #8 I could easily use either of those adjectives to describe it but the word I would use for this issue is fun.
In full honesty, the first thing I did when I finished Batman #8 in my first read through was to put it down and think about everything I just read. I didn’t go on to read one of the other comics that I picked up this week. It is rare for me to do this since I usually just try to read every book in my stack in one sitting but Batman #8 changed my routine. That is really where the magic of the story Scott Snyder is telling stands.
There is a sense that while this story will be fought in the within Gotham City the scope matches that of any other global disaster event. The Court of Owls vs. the Batman Family has that big fight feel. Snyder leaves us feeling that no matter who is left standing there will be serious ramifications by the end.
By starting the issue out with Bruce standing over a model replica of Gotham City that he built the reader gets a sense of the threat the Court of Owls pose to the Batman Family. In a rare moment, Bruce shows himself as being completely vulnerable. The uncertainty and vulnerability he hides from everyone was out in the open. After everything that the Court put Bruce through it has left him broken and questioning everything he thought he knew about the city he has been calling his.
Alfred’s concern over Bruce was well handled. In this story that will continue to challenge Bruce and what he knows he will need a voice to keep him from completely falling into the abyss. Alfred provides that voice. He is able to be honest with Bruce and provide an advisor role that will be needed in this war that involves the whole Batman Family.
This voice that Alfred will be providing is going to be needed if Batman #8 is any indication of what will be happening. Seeing Bruce having to play such a defensive role in his own home turf really shows how much of danger the Court of Owls with all their Talons pose to the Batman Family. The Talons easily outnumbered Bruce and where able to back Bruce into a corner multiple times in this issue.
This aspect of the issue made the action feel much different from what a typical Batman fight is. With how the Talons directly attacked the mansion this war is shown to not be one that Bruce is fighting as Batman but is instead a battle Bruce is fighting with the cowl only playing the role of the mask. Even when Bruce finally gets into his new Batman gear I didn’t get that usual gruff Kevin Conroy voice I usually have in my head when reading Batman’s dialogue. The voice was much different because the character really doesn’t change in attitude when he finally puts on the Batman cowl.
With that said, it was a complete nerd-out moment when we see Bruce finally put on the cowl as he comes out wearing armor that is reminiscent of the Dark Knight Returns Batman armor. That was just an awesome way to end the main story. Not only did it provide a great visual but it also shows that the regular Batman tech will not be enough in this fight. It heightens the threat an army of the Talons poses and gives us a great moment that pays homage to the Dark Knight Returns.
The back-up feature also gives the story a sense of urgency. Alfred immediately calling every single member of the Batman Family including Red Robin and Red Hood, who have not been working in Gotham City, shows how big this story is. After everything Batman was put through in the last arc he needs all the allies he can get which is what the Batman Family brings to the table.
For his part Greg Capullo continues to evolve as an artist. With each issue Capullo gets more and more comfortable with the Batman Universe. All of the action that he is able to draw in this issue was well choreographed. His art instilled a sense of danger as the Talons just continuously hunted Bruce and Alfred down.
The Bad: The only knock I have against Batman #8 is the fact that it is not new reader friendly. It is the curse of the long form of storytelling. Picking up Batman #8 requires the reader to have read Scott Snyder’s first arc on Batman to get what is happening. This is not a completely bad thing because if you have not read the first arc on than I highly recommend you do. If you don’t than something is wrong with you.
Overall: Batman #8 was a fantastic comic book. Pure and simple, Scott Snyder knocked it out of the park with the beginning of the Night of the Owls. This opening chapter set up the chess piece for this war between the Batman Family and Court of Owls to be big. There are a lot of things to get excited for and the final page with Batman showing up with an armor suit reminiscent of the Dark Knight Returns suit just cemented the fact that this was a home run.
Kevin started reading comics as a kid when he watched the first episodes of Batman: The Animated Series and Spider-Man: The Animated Series. After that his parents bought him a few random Spider-Man and Batman comics and he has been hooked ever since. When he is not reading and writing about comics you can find Kevin as the destroyer of worlds, champion of fighting tournaments and ace Madden player on the PS3. You can catch up with Kevin and all his thoughts at the following links: