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Friday, April 19, 2013

Batman, Vol 1: The Court of Owls, Batman: Night of the Owls, Batman, Vol 2: The City of Owls by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, et al.

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Title: Batman, Vol 1: The Court of Owls, Batman: Night of the Owls, Batman, Vol 2: The City of Owls
Series: Batman, The New 52
Authors: Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, et al.
Copyright: 2012, 2013, 2013
Pages: 176, 368, 208
ISBN: 9781401235413, 9781401237738, 9781401237776
Publisher: DC Comics
Twitter: @DCComics, @GregCapullo, @Ssnyder1835
Format: Hardcover
Available: May 15, 2012, February 18, 2013, March 26, 2013
Rating: 4/5 stars, 3/5 stars, 2/5 stars

So, here's the deal. I'm not as big a DC fan as I am a Marvel fan (in which you should read: I know only the very basics of the DC Universe of characters, and most of that is based around Batman anyway). So, when DC decided to do it's big New 52 initiative, I thought I'd give the titles a try with each of the new #1 issues. Not many of them caught my interest, but I really enjoyed the first issue of the Batman comic, so picked up the first collected edition when it came out. We're introduced to a new villain in this collection, the Court of Owls, and their undying assassins, the Talons. It seems the Court, even though they were thought to be nothing more than an urban legend in Gotham, are in fact real and have been hiding in secret in Gotham, pulling the strings of how the city runs in certain ways for decades, if not longer. The Court captures Batman and after being tortured, he kills their current Talon and escapes, at which point the Court unleashes all of their Talons from the past on Gotham to bring the city down, and Batman needs to call in the rest of the Bat-family to help take the Talons and the Court down.

Now, this whole story arc started out very strong for me, and then slowly fizzled out until I could basically care less how the arc ended. The events in The Court of Owls, with its mysteries and new characters, was intriguing and left me wanting more, but then the events of Night of the Owls also left me wanting more, but not in the same way. We jump from Bat-character to character, as each of them takes on a Talon, and what gets me here is that some of the time, the characters don't reflect the hardships that their bodies are being put through by the Talons (how many times can Nightwing be stabbed and have it not affect him in any way? He's not Superman, after all). It was clever how they were able to tie all of these stories together with the events going on in the Batman series proper, but beyond that, it was nothing but fight, fight, fight.

And when I picked up The City of Owls and realized that an actual half of this collected edition had already been printed in Night of the Owls, I felt cheated. I felt like I was tricked into buying these issues all over again. I probably wouldn't have minded one issue being reprinted here to carry the story from the one volume to the next, but to have actually half of the volume reprinted? Not cool. The finale of the story arc, to be honest, is unmemorable. In fact, I don't actually remember how the arc ended, nor do I have any interest in going back and rereading it to see how it was resolved for the purpose of writing about it here. If I decide to pick up the next volume, I may go back and see what happened. Maybe.

Greg Capullo's art, as usual, is great. He's an amazingly talented artist, and his bits in all three collections are the best. The other artists are OK, but nothing that stuck out in my mind as being fantastic.

I'm sure for hardcore fans, this was probably a great new addition to the Batman mythos, and maybe all of the New 52 reboots are great, but for me, they've all really left me feeling a little let down. Perhaps I just need to stick with Marvel and what I know.

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