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Comic Book Review: "Batman #10: Assault On The Court"
The Night of The Owls is over and Batman has decided to take the battle for the freedom and control of Gotham City to the Court of Owls in Batman #10. “Assault On The Court” written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion, showcases Batman’s attempt to take down the Court using information he received from his dying friend Lincoln March about some of the members of the Court. In this issue, old friends and new revelations will be unveiled. Also, old horrors will come to light that will change both Bruce Wayne and his family history in untold ways.
“Assault on the Court” begins at the 58 million dollar complex (the top three floors of the famous Powers Hotel) that is the home of Joseph and Maria Powers. It is fully secured and no one who wasn’t a guest or a person who is not employed by the family has ever entered the place. Maria comes home shocked to find the place has been ransacked. She quickly calls security, and tries to escape into the elevator. However; Batman stops her. He shows her the Court of the Owls mask he found. It is hers. He asks where both her husband and his mask are. She says he’s gone. Batman warns her that they anf their friends better leave Gotham City. She scoffs at him: The Court of Owls is in control; not Batman. He tells her that no matter what, he’s going to defeat them.
As he leaves the complex, Alfred informs him that scaring her worked; she’s calling her husband. Alfred is tracking the call. Batman asks about the Talons. Alfred has put them in the cold storage. They are docile and sleeping. Alfred tells Bruce that that he’s tracking the call, but the phone is in a “blackout zone” somewhere in the south side of Gotham. Batman figures out that the location is 77 Irvington. (Batman remembers what the great detective, Henri Ducard, once told him: there is such a thing as “a remembering” is when you figure out something. You didn’t really discover, it’s more likes it was there all along and you simply recall it.) He recognized the place because of Joseph Powers name on Lincoln March’s list. The Harbor House at 77 Irvington is the same place Bruce went as a child looking for the Court of Owls. He found nothing then, but tonight he will find what he’s looking. He’ll bring down the Court of Owls tonight and put them behind bars; they can’t stop him.
He enters the Harbor House and finds a secret Court of Owls meeting room: a huge table with several people in owl masks seated at it. They’re all dead, apparently from drinking poisoned wine; maybe a mass suicide. Batman is not pleased; he wanted to bring them to trial for their crimes; not them killing themselves—the cowards way out. Later, Bruce is listless, staring out the window with two empty bullet cartridges in his hand, the ones that killed his parents. Alfred comes in to remind Bruce of a meeting he’s having.
Bruce doesn’t believe it was this simple: them killing themselves. After everything, it doesn’t add up. Alfred says that it may not be the grand ending Bruce envisioned but it is an ending. That should be enough. Yes, the Court is still at large, but this small group is dead, allowing Batman to take back Gotham City. Bruce still thinks there’s more; there has been a huge amount of money moved from these dead member’s accounts in the last few weeks. Someone really close to it all is still working in the shadows. Alfred says for now it’s over, Bruce should let it go for now. Bruce agrees and puts on his suit. He looks at the picture of his parents and has an epiphany. He tells Alfred to cancel the meeting with Roberts. He’s going after him: Bruce’s going after the one behind it all, the one he forget. Batman goes to the morgue and opens a body drawer and finds a note that reads, “Follow me down the rabbit hole?”
Batman goes to the Willowwood Home for Children. He thinks about how Gotham City has a sinkhole. This home for children with neurological disorders was around until 18 years ago, when the sinkhole swallowed up the orderlies’ quarters. Afterwards the truth about the abuses of the children surfaced. Some people say the place is haunted, and Batman almost believes it because he’s there to find a dead man. As he enters the building, he calls out saying he’s there. Suddenly, he’s caught in a net. Out of the shadows, a voice asks, “So Batman, who am I?” It’s Lincoln March back from the dead. Batman replies, that he’s not Lincoln March, because March never existed. It’s a fake name the Court of Owls created for him, so he could run for office and be another puppet. But he betrayed them. He “faked” his death by drinking the serum that gives the Talon immortality, before he was killed. Then he poisoned the small group of member and made it look like suicide. Batman tells Lincoln March that the rest of Court will come after him. Lincoln reminds him that he’s a little harder to kill now.
He asks Bruce again who he is, if he’s not Lincoln March. Bruce says he was an inmate of the Willowwood, and the Court took him in. Lincoln demands an answer of whom. He tells Bruce that he’s his brother, Thomas Wayne Jr. Bruce’s twin that was removed from their mother’s womb after “the accident” and was placed there at the Willowwood House. Bruce says he’s crazy. His parents would never do such a thing. Lincoln is putting on a special Talon suit made to rival Batman’s suit. He tells Bruce that the Court didn’t cause their parents death, but Bruce did. Lincoln is going make him pay. He wants to have it out with him in a death match; for the city of Gotham. Brother to Brother: Owl to Bat. Lincoln, clad in his Talon armor, rushes Batman.
In the backup story, “The Fall Of The House Of Wayne: Part 2 of 3”, Alfred’s father, Jarvis, continues his letter to his son. He’s running away from the Talon into a Servant’s Shed and closes the door behind him, the Talon puts a blade through the door; hitting him in the shoulder. He thinks about the horror he’s unleashed on the Wayne’s: Martha, Thomas, 3 year old Bruce and Martha’s soon-to-be-born second child. She wanted to create a special school for the underprivileged, but she being harassed by someone. Martha’s on the phone with the mayor. She tells him that the people bothering her say they represent to city; they must work for him. They’ve threatened her unborn child. She tells the mayor that her lawyers will be all over him if they keep bugging her. Back in the shed, the Talon kicks down the door and douse the shed with gasoline. Jarvis remembers the fateful call he received: they told him to take Martha to a special location for “a meeting with friend”. His failure to comply will be “unpleasant”. Jarvis demands to know who is calling as an owl crashes into the window. He tells Martha about the call. She says the mayor’s goon can’t frighten her. She tells Jarvis to get the car ready; they are going to show Bruce the grounds for the new school. She won’t be threatened in her own city, Bruce says he’s brave. She tells him he’s the bravest boy in Gotham. As they drive he sees the Talon in the middle of the street. Now the shed is burning. The car overturns; Jarvis knew things were bad the closer they got to the intersection of Lincoln and March.
The proverbial bomb has dropped in Batman #10, “Assault On The Court”. First, Batman defeats members of the Court of Owls and takes back his city in a rather anti-climactic way (by poison). Then Lincoln March is really “alive” (and Lincoln March isn’t his real name). He’s planned so much of what’s transpired for his own diabolic reasons. He’s a member of the Court of Owls and now he’s “undead” like the Talons. Then he professes to be Bruce’s twin brother. In the backup story, we learn more about the Pennyworth’s and the Wayne’s connection with the Court of Owls. We also learn where the name “Lincoln March” came from: an intersection of two streets where a car accident happened years before. Many questions have been asked just in this issue alone: Is Lincoln March really Bruce’s brother? What happened to Martha Wayne’s unborn child? What happens to Jarvis Pennyworth? These questions and more should be answered in the stirring conclusion to both the Court of Owls saga and “The Fall Of The House Of Wayne” in Batman issue 11.
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