Comic Book Review: "Batman #9: Night Of The Owls"
Batman’s evening with the Court of Owls continues with Batman #9, “Night Of The Owls”. Written by Scott Snyder, with art by Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, and Rafael Albuquerque this issue shows Batman fighting (physically and psychologically) against the Court of Owls and their zombie-like assassins, the Talons. Although he is outnumbered and possible outgunned, Batman’s determination is the key to his victory throughout the long Night of the Owls.
“Night Of The Owls”, begins with Batman in his “Ironman” Batsuit fighting the horde of Talons that have broken into Wayne Manor to kill Bruce Wayne on orders of the Court of Owls, and find Batman and his Batcave instead.
Bruce is remembering that in 1855, when his ancestors bought the Wayne house, they tried to remove all the bats in the cave underneath it with tiger owls. Less than a year later, all the bats were dead. Now over 150 years later, owls have infested the cave again to trying to kill another bat.
It is 7:51 p.m. and Batman asks Alfred how the low the temperature in the cave has dropped. The low temperature will cause the attacking Talons to hibernate. Alfred says it going as fast as possible. Bruce says it needs to be faster, since there are so many of the Talons to fight off.
Alfred implores him to return to the armory where it is warmer and safer. Batman doesn’t believe that the huge doors will hold them off. Only the dropping temperature will help against the Talons. According to Alfred, the Talons will fall asleep in roughly 35 minutes.
Alfred is concerned for Bruce’s health in the freezing temperature. Batman says that the situation allows him to “play rough for once”. He uses charged Batarangs to electrocute the Talons.
His Iron-Batsuit was made to allow him to battle in any weather and situation on Earth. It protects him from heat or cold and has batteries and oxygen that can last for weeks…and he’s using it in his home.
The Talons swarm him, as he taunts them. He uses more electric Batarangs on them as they dog pile him. They manage to beat him up despite the suit, and knock him down, next to the giant dinosaur. As he lies there beaten, the one of the Talons tells him that he should get a guard dog. Bruce says he already has one. He turns on the robotic dinosaur and it crushes the group of assailants with its foot.
It doesn’t stop them all and they continue to attack him; now Bruce’s vitals are dropping. Alfred tries to leave the armory to help, but Bruce locks the door to keep Alfred safe.
Bruce is remembering that the owls once killed all the bats in the caves, but once the owls left, the bats returned, as a swarm of bats fly into the cave. They attack the Talons; the cold temperature brought them back. The Talons start to succumb to the cold temperature. This gives Batman the opportunity to leave the cave in the Batmobile to deal with the rest of the Talons throughout the city. He tells Alfred to uses the coolant tanks to store the frozen Talons as he drives off.
Its 8:36 p.m. and as he’s driving through the city, he looks at the remaining names on the Courts list. The last name that needs saving is Lincoln March. It’s almost midnight by the time Batman arrives at March’s office. As Batman enters the room, Lincoln fires a gun and kills a Talon hidden behind the door. Lincoln says he has a message for Bruce Wayne. He has a Talon dagger stuck in his chest. Lincoln hands Batman a slip of paper. Lincoln says he was able to track down three possible members of the Court. He tells Batman to tell Bruce to fight the Court, because Gotham is worth fighting for, then he dies.
Alfred calls and informs Batman that all the Talons have been contained. Batman tells him that since the Court came to his house, his going to “burn theirs to the ground”.
The back up story, “The Fall Of The House Of Wayne: Part 1 of 3”, begins years ago, with Jarvis Pennyworth is writing a letter to his son, Alfred. He tells him that Wayne Manor is haunted. For a long time, Jarvis wanted Alfred to take his place as an employee (personal assistant) of the Wayne household, but now he doesn’t. The entire family and estate are cursed. He warns Alfred to never to come to Wayne Manor. He tells Alfred that he wished he had spent more time with him. He believes that he will not see him again. Dark shadows run throughout the manor. But it wasn’t always that way. In the time that Jarvis had served them, he helped Thomas and Martha Wayne raise their young son Bruce. One day, Martha states that the corruption in the city must be stopped. Thomas says that they can refuse to give the mayor any money at the next fundraiser. She demands that more be done. She asks Jarvis’ opinion; he agrees with her. One stormy night, as Jarvis is driving up to the gates of the manor, his sees a Talon waiting for him. In his letter to Alfred, Jarvis blames himself: “It is I who have doomed us all.”
Much of the action of “Night of The Owls” happens while the rest of the Bat-family is fighting the Talons throughout the city. This story deals more with the emotional and psychological impact on Bruce as Batman and as a Wayne. So far, Batman’s major fights with the Court and Talons were in issues 1-6. Now he has to deal with the ramifications of the Talons infesting the city and infiltrating his home (Wayne Manor and the Batcave). Unlike the rest of the Bat-family, the impact of the Court of Owls is far more personal for Bruce Wayne. By the end of the night, despite his best efforts, Batman couldn’t save all of the targets: he’s seen his good friend Lincoln March dead and his homes (both of them) violated. Now, Batman plans to “Cry Havoc! And let slip the Dogs of Wars”, and completely destroy the Court for good. The backup story, “The Fall Of The House Of Wayne” starts a three part story of the dark history of Bruce Wayne’s family, Alfred’s father, Jarvis and their connection to the Court of Owls. The title, being a play on the title of the famous Edgar Allan Poe story (“The Fall Of The House Of Usher”), adds to the mood and dreary overtones of the story. The story shows a different side of the history of the Wayne family. The addition of Alfred’s father as a butler before him (the entire Pennyworth family seems to have worked for the Wayne throughout the years) adds a mystic to the strong connection between the two families. It will be interesting to see how both stories play out in the coming issues.
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