Scott Snyder (Batman: The Black Mirror, Superman Unchained, Wytches) & Greg Capullo’s (Spawn) epic run on the New 52’s ‘Batman’ title is one of the best incarnations of the character in recent memory. This creative team proves that they’re a force to be reckoned with from issue #1 and this specific run reminds us all that there is no other medium quite like comics. This particular creative team was my favorite of the New 52 lineup and any other post-52 team will have a hard job living up to the expectations set by Snyder and Capullo. With DC’s new line of ‘Rebirth’ comics finally stacking on the shelves, I think it’s about time we take a look at the best and worst of what the ‘New 52’ had to offer… And this, ladies and gentlemen, is among the very best of them.
BATMAN VOLUME 1: THE COURT OF OWLS (COLLECTS BATMAN ISSUES #1-7)
Written by: Scott Snyder
Artist(s): Greg Capullo
Synopsis (as seen via Amazon): “#1 New York Times Bestseller! Following his ground-breaking, critically acclaimed run on Detective Comics, writer Scott Snyder (American Vampire) alongside artist Greg Capullo (Spawn) begins a new era of The Dark Knight with the relaunch of Batman as a part of DC Comics – The New 52! After a series of brutal murders rocks Gotham City, Batman begins to realize that, perhaps, these crimes go far deeper than appearances suggest. As the Caped Crusader begins to unravel this deadly mystery, he discovers a conspiracy going back to his youth and beyond to the origins of the city he’s sworn to protect. Could the Court of Owls, once thought to be nothing more than an urban legend, be behind the crime and corruption? Or is Bruce Wayne losing his grip on sanity and falling prey to the pressures of his war on crime? Collects issues #1-7 of Batman.”
The New 52’s Batman title kicks off with what is revered as possibly the greatest Batman story in the entire New 52 series. ‘The Court of Owls’ sees a young Batman 5 years into his crime fighting career as he uncovers the truth about Gotham’s criminal underbelly and the mysterious society that created it.
For years the denizens of Gotham City have heard old folktales about the Court of Owls. Many believe their existence to be fiction; a myth, a story to tell their children to make them behave, while others believe them to be undeniably authentic. Even Bruce, when he was a child, believed in the court’s presence in Gotham and that they orchestrated his parents’ deaths. So much so that he specifically went looking for them, but to no avail, leading him to believe that they were just a stories created by paranoid Gothamites.
Now, years later, The Court of Owls makes its presence known as they violently arise from deep within the shadows of Gotham City in the form of a highly trained assassin known as The Talon. With Batman taken by surprise, he is now the court’s plaything, and it’s at this very moment that Batman finally realizes that Gotham is no longer his city… And it never was.
Many foes have been able to go toe-to-toe with Batman, and few have actually outsmarted him. But here, I finally felt as though Batman was in great danger and Scott Snyder did a brilliant job of humanizing Batman. Giving him brand new villains who not only test his intelligence, but match him physically as well, and any villain who can seemingly break the Batman’s mind is certainly destined for greater roles in the stories to come.
Overall, this book is an absolute must read for any DC fan and Batman fans especially. The writing is intense and Capullo’s breathtaking artwork is a sight to behold. It’s, quite simply put, a work of art.
BATMAN VOLUME 2: THE CITY OF OWLS (COLLECTS BATMAN ISSUES #8-12)
Written by: Scott Snyder
Artist(s): Greg Capullo
Synopsis (as seen via Amazon): “A New York Times #1 Bestseller! “Night of the Owls” continues here! Batman must stop the Talons that have breeched the Batcave in order to save an innocent life – and Gotham City! Plus, in the backup story, learn more about the Pennyworth family and the secrets they’ve kept from the Wayne family! Collects Batman #8-12 and Batman Annual #1.”
Volume 2 picks up right where the last left off.
The Court of Owls unleashes its formidable Talon army on Gotham City in retaliation for Batman’s actions in the previous volume. Their goal: Destroy Bruce Wayne & burn Gotham to the ground. While hordes of talons flood through the streets, a mob sets its sights on the Batcave; and with the rest of the Batfamily protecting the city, Batman and Alfred are left to defend the cave alone.
This book is the epic conclusion to Scott Snyder’s wonderful ‘The Court of Owls’ arc and it wraps things up nicely. The way that Scott Snyder rewrites Gotham’s history and weaves it in seamlessly with Batman’s is really something special, and the entire Owl story-arc adds to an already rich and interesting mythos. Not to mention, the twist at the end of this volume is just downright insane… And I love it!
Again, Capullo’s art is astonishing and it feels as though he was born to draw Batman. His unique take on the Dark Knight is a welcomed addition to the character (at least for me) and this story just wouldn’t be the same without him.
Again, you need to read this if you haven’t already.
Overall, these two volumes are incredible. They’re really ambitious (in a good way) and they add a brand new villain to an already prospering rogues gallery. I’d very highly recommend these books to any Batman or DC fan as they’re the best things to come of the New 52. They’re well worth the money!