Top 5 Best of Batman: The Court of Owls
- Published on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 01:00
- Written by Andrenn
- Hits: 1303
With The Dark Knight Rises nearly here, everyone's got Batman on the brain. Many people, myself included, are reading classic stories of the Batman to get themselves hyped. But rather than talk about the stories you all know are classics, let's talk about a Batman story that is sure to be a beloved classic 20 years from now. The brightest light in DC's The New 52: Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Batman.
Rather than review the previous eleven issues of Batman, going over every little detail, I instead want to focus on what I think are the five best parts of the Court of Owls story.
While I will not be going too in-depth on spoilers, I do have one MAJOR SPOILER in this list. So if you have not yet read The Court of Owls and you want to, or plan to, please wait until you have read the entire eleven part story first. Because I will be talking about the major reveal in issue #10.
#5: Oh Brother Where Art Thou?
Told you there would be spoilers. While the main villains of the 11-part Court of Owls have been the titular Illuminati of Gotham there was a surprise waiting for Bruce Wayne at the very end. Lincoln March a man he befriend in issue #1 and who was the candidate for mayor was a pawn of the Court. First he betrayed the Court and killed many members, then he reveals to Bruce that he believes himself to be Thomas Wayne Jr. His long lost brother.
We are still unsure at the end if Lincoln is Thomas Wayne. Bruce says it is impossible. That while his parents did conceive another child he was only alive for one night after a car accident we find out was staged by the Court. I really loved the twist of Lincoln possibly being Bruce's brother, but the fact that we do not get a definite answer is what keeps this from being higher on the list. Even if Lincoln returns and its proven he is not Thomas Wayne Jr. he still made for a great final battle at the end of the arc.
#4: There's History To It
What makes the Court of Owls instantly stick and work is that the way the Court has been written, you begin to feel the weight of their history as its slowly peeled back. You see the faces of their victims in the maze, you see photos of them that are over 100 years old. They have been a thorn on Jonah Hex's side over in All Star Western. All this really makes a point that, while we are just now meeting them, it feels like the Court has been here for years. Hiding, waiting and watching. This approach is very effective in building them up as exciting new villains in Batman's world.
#3: The Story Before the Story
Scott Snyder and James Tynion's back-ups in the Night of the Owls, brilliantly drawn by Rafael Albuquerque add a new level of depth to the main storyline. All four back ups add a huge amount to the story of each issue. From the call being sent out to the Bat-Family, Jarvis Pennyworth's warning to his son Alfred then finally Bruce and Alfred's discussion after the Night of the Owls which serves as an excellent epilogue to the story.
Each back-up does its job well and makes the story deeper and more satisfying. Albuquerque does an amazing job on each back u p story. He captures the high emotions during great action and the quieter moments like Jarvis with a toddler Bruce Wayne. The result is that you have back-up stories that are essential to the main story. This makes each issue of Batman worth that extra dollar.
#2: Capullo At The Top Of His Game
As a long time Spawn fan I was already a fan of Capullo's work. His big return in Haunt was excellent, but little did I know that was just the warm up and his eleven issues of Batman had him reaching new levels of greatness. Accompanied by talented inker and perfect fit for him, Jonathan Glapion and the always great colorist FCO, Capullo has turned in the best art of his already great career on Batman.
There is a new energy to Capullo's art like nothing seen before. His ability of story telling is never better from Bruce Wayne talking to some friends to Batman patrolling his city. There is an incredible flow to the story that never stops thanks to his art. The one name I have brought up in comparison is Bruce Timm but Capullo really has made his own mark on Gotham that, while at first reminded me of other talented artists, now feels 100% unique to his amazing style. Plus, there is Capullo's ability to hit deadlines. He has delivered eleven issues in a row and all of them out on time with each one looking even better than the last.
#1: It's About A Man And His City
At the core of the Court of Owls is a story about Bruce Wayne and him realizing how little he knows about Gotham City. Batman is the hero who has always prepared for every scenario. He knows every possible outcome and is always ten steps ahead of even the most brilliant criminal mastermind. Except for here. Here Batman is totally out of his element because he is in Gotham, but he is finding out things about Gotham he thought were impossible.
When you have a character, like Batman, that writers often like to pretend is invincible it is important to remind the readers that while Batman is indeed awesome, he is still just a man. Snyder does this by taking everything he thinks he knows, and twisting it from under him. Using that great knowledge of his city and turning it against him.
The very first issue has Bruce Wayne revealing he wants to build Gotham up. Save it in a way that the Batman never could. The next ten issues that follow it show both Bruce Wayne and Batman blown up, stabbed, smashed, beaten, drugged, bloodied and left to die and yet he still carries on. He faces the Court's seemingly never ending maze of madness and still survives. He fights their deadliest warriors and yet he continues on.
In the end, The Court of Owls is all about how Bruce Wayne will fight for Gotham even when Gotham is against him. You can pull every trick, make him totally rethink everything he knows, and Batman will still continue to fight for his city. It will be a painful struggle, but in the end, nothing will make the Batman stop. Snyder and Capullo's 11-part epic perfectly captures the spirit of Batman and tells a tale that defines Gotham's Dark Knight.
So that's my list. Agree? Disagree? Maybe you have some things you'd rather put on the list, or you would place my choices in different spots? Feel free to let me know in the comments. And if you were interested in Snyder and Capullo's Batman but still on the fence, hopefully I have convinced at least a few of you that it is definitely worth your time.
Andrenn got back into comics years ago with a random issue of Spawn. From there he was hooked and a couple years later he had to share his thoughts with the world at his old blog New Age Comics with Andrenn. Now a huge Image fan and a horror geek, Andrenn writes for the Comic Book Revolution. You can follow Andrenn's ramblings and thoughts from the links below.