Batman, Volume 2: The City of Owls
As DC's New 52 titles entered their second year, perhaps no title had captured the attention of comics fans as much as Batman. All of the Bat-titles, including Batman, Detective Comics, Batman & Robin, Batman:The Dark Knight, Batgirl, Batwing, Nightwing and Catwoman were taking part in the first cross-over event since the re-launch; The Night of the Owls. Once this cross-over event ended, the flagship title, Batman, continued the story of the Court of Owls. The Dark Knight's war against the Court is collected in Volume 2.
The collection starts off with two chapters from Night of the Owls; Batman/Bruce Wayne fights off a home invasion by the Talons, the Court's enhanced and re-generating assassins. They are out to end the life of Mr. Wayne for the Court and they discover the caves under Wayne Manor. Once all of the Talons are beaten and accounted for, Batman takes on Mr. Freese, who has just escaped from Arkham Asylum. This story includes the new origin of the long-time villain. Batman then seeks out the Court, discovers their whereabouts and makes several shocking discoveries. The volume concludes with a stand-alone story in which the Dark Knight gets an assist from a young woman he has recently helped.
The City of Owls collects Batman #'s 8-12 and Batman Annual #1. The stories are written by the masterful Scott Snyder, with an assist by James Tynion IV. The art is supplied by Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, Jason Fabok and others. As with the first volume, and subsequent issues of Batman to date, I am not a fan of Mr. Capullo's art. I find it to be abstract and sometimes sloppy. Mr. Fabok, who supplies the art for the excellent Detective Comics, also does so for the Mr. Freese story originally published in the annual. I find his art far superior and welcome any comments about the two artists.
As DC originally released the New 52, the reaction I witnessed from my fellow fans at the local shop was that Detective Comics was going to be the cornerstone in the Bat-verse, with Tony Daniel supplying the story and art. There was also an air of excitement about The Dark Knight, with David Finch behind the helm. But I think Snyder's Batman has stolen the spotlight, and with the Court of Owls storyline spanning the Bat-verse, I have to imagine that this was DC's plan all along.