Batman, Volume 1: The Court of Owls

Batman, Volume 1: The Court of Owls

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Fans and readers were either appalled, disgusted, excited, intrigued or some combination of all of the above in early 2011; Fifty-two titles, most of them new or re-launches of older series. Most of the re-launches with all new characters and story lines. This was the basis of the "New 52" DC was releasing in September, 2011. Of those 52 titles, Batman or the Bat-Family would be featured in at least ten of them, with several other titles containing guest appearances. It was apparent to DC's fans and readers that Batman was taking center stage.

Of the core four titles, which also includes Detective Comics, Batman & Robin and Batman: the Dark Knight, the flagship title, Batman, set the stage for current and future Bat-Family stories. The Court of Owls storyline would precede Night of the Owls, a multi-title crossover involving the entire family. It would be the first major crossover storyline in the New 52. Batman would also quickly gain a cult following, as comic shop regulars made the book and it's writer a major topic of discussion.

I think DC made a statement when choosing Scott Snyder to write the series. Or maybe, with his impressive resume, Mr. Snyder did the choosing. He has quickly become a fan favorite among Batman, DC and comics fans. While Geoff Johns, arguably the most popular among DC's writers, was off writing a plethora of material for Justice League, Green Lanturn and Aquaman, Scott Snyder was quietly making a name for himself in what has become one the New 52 Stars. I was not very familiar with him prior to the re-launch, but have since sought out and read several other works, including Severed, an excellent horror series.

Unfortunately for me, the consideration of the creative team was not passed on to the choice of artists for the book. I have never been a fan of Greg Capullo's art. I will admit they are unique and are now starting to grow on me, but I think it is just too abstract, and I daresay sloppy, for Mr. Snyder's wonderful stories and the most interesting character in DC history.

The Court of Owls graphic novel contains Batman issues 1-7. Batman investigates a murder that points to the fictional Court of Owls. The Caped Crusader soon discovers that the Court is not quite so fictional. His detective work leads to a confrontation with the Court's assassin, the Talon. A one-sided battle ensues, and just when all seems lost for the Dark Knight, he once again battles back and seemingly wins the day. But as the series comes to a close, it is obvious that the war with the Court is just beginning.

Batman: The Court of Owls is an excellent lead-off to the lineup of new Batman and Bat-Family titles in the New 52. Snyder's stories continue to be engaging, interesting and often disturbing. He has helped usher the Dark Knight into a new era, one that is dark, mature and much more attuned to a world where violence is a daily reality. Despite the fact that I was one of the appalled fans when the New 52 was announced, I look forward to future stories.

A disturbing example of Greg Capullo's abstract art.

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