Batman Court of Owls: Vol 1 by Scott Snyder, Greg Caoulla and Jonathan Glapion
So this was exciting!
What? A Batman comic exciting for me? No, that never happens.
In Court of Owls we watch Batman, and the rest of the family to a lesser extent, fighting an ancient, evil cult of… people who dress up like owls and hand pick assassins (although I’m not sure what they get out of the experience) who have been secretly sitting around in Gotham since it was built.
Yeah, the more I think about it the less convinced I am that they make sense as a big bad. What do they gain exactly by lurking in crawlspaces and kicking billionaires trying to invest in their city through windows?
Maybe I’m over thinking it.
In case you were wondering, Bruce was fine. Despite being kicked through a window. It slowed him down for 3 whole frames. Then he got better.
But what happened in this particular story because of the age oldness of the villains was it really brought Gotham to life. I mean, in the really good Batman comics there are usually three characters – Bruce, whoever he’s fighting and the city itself. And that came through so well. There’s almost three Gotham’s – Bruce Wayne’s, Batman’s and the Owls and this multi-layered-ness has a huge effect not only on Bruce but also on the reader. This thing, Gotham, that’s always been both good and evil has this whole other part of it, that’s been running parallel all this time. It’s like learning something really surprising about someone you’ve known and loved for years. Like finding our that your respectable, account father used to be a totally hippie with hair half way down his back who smoked a ton of pot.
Only, that was funny to find out. This comic is a little more serious.
Anyway, Bruce’s feelings that he’s been betrayed by his city are very powerful.
There’s also a big connection/surprise reveal about Dick in this one, which is of course awesome ’cause I love him and also because it highlights some really neat, fundamental differences between how Bruce and Dick think but also how fiercely they love each other. And I learned that if you need to remove a tooth from someone you love it’s easier to just punch them in the face then like… get the tooth pulled. There was also a really, really beautiful moment with Damian who only makes a few appearances. In just three frames with Damian and Jim Gordon and only two speech bubbles so much of Damian’s love and fear for his father is conveyed. It was just gorgeous.
Of course, the rest of the Batfamily was pretty sidelined (where is Tim?) which was a little disappointing and Bruce’s fight with the Talon felt a little longer than strictly necessary (at least a page). You know when you wish you had a book while you’re watching an action movie that just has an outrageously long shot of two fellas punching each other? Yeah, what to you do when it’s a book you need distracting from? Anyway, this disinterest may have something to do with my lacking lots of testosterone.
But what was so awesome, if a little long, was the Court’s attempts to drive Batman crazy before the big fight. Again, I’m not sure what they hoped to accomplish by this – apparently they’re just jerks for fun. But the way it was handle was so cool. For one thing, all the frames were very, very white which after a while started to seem just a little blinding. Not only was it unpleasant for the reader but Batman thrives in the dark so in this bright place he kind of… was notably less Batmanlike. There were also pages that were upside down, the pages in which Bruce was struggling to maintain his identity and sense of self. If it wasn’t so well done it would feel like a misprint, which causes the reader at least one quick moment of self doubt (“why am I holding this upside down? It was right way up before!”). It was just brilliantly done.
If for no other reason than that sequence, everyone should read this book.
Last movie I watched: Still working on Prometheus. Michael Fassbender….
Last TV show I watched: Still thinking it was Teen Titans. Young Justice is better.