Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review: Batman The Court of Owls

I’m not a fan of Batman. I can’t stand the brooding and all the drama that comes with Old Batsy trying to do everything by himself. Why build a team of children if you’re not going to use them? The only time Batman is palatable to me is when he is paired up with Superman. The dynamic between DC’s two power houses is great and often funny because of the clash between their radically different personalities. The Superman/Batman series is a perfect example of these two heroes working together...for the most part. So when a friend told me to check out the Batman Night of the Owls crossover extravaganza, I basically brushed it off. Eventually I caved (mainly out of boredom) and gave Batman: The Court of Owls Volume 1 a chance to dazzle me and boy did it dazzle.

The Night of the Owls event basically boils down to this. A secret society that has always worked in the shadows of Gotham, has decided to step out onto the center stage and change Gotham in a more dynamic way. Batman, who is opposed to anyone messing with his city, takes action to keep the this new, or should I say old, terror from taking over. The event crosses over into many Bat titles like Red Hood and the Outlaws, Nightwing, Batgirl, and so forth, but Court of Owls (the only part of the crossover that I’ve read so far) is a collection of Batman issues 1-7.
So what about The Court of Owls dazzled me. Well for one, the art by Greg Capullo is gorgeous. He literally painted (I guess drew) Gotham as a living city and brilliantly juxtaposed Gotham's gritty underworld full of sewer gangs and low lives with Gotham's glitzy socialites. What I really liked about the Court of Owls Volume 1 is that Batman goes crazy for reasons I won't say, you know, spoilers and all that jazz. What I will say is, as you read the book, Batman’s perception of himself and his surroundings shift and change. I physically had to turn the book because the pages were printed sideways or upside down. At one point I was confused about were to start reading because the pages read backwards from right to left. It was a really cool way to bring the reader into Batman’s little melt down. The main reason I’m a fan of Court of Owls is because Scott Snyder did a great job of not writing Batman or Bruce as total jerks. Don’t get me wrong, Batman still ends up as the neurotic loner control freak that we all know and tolerate, but to me, Bruce felt very human and I actually sympathized with him. I only wish there were more panels of Bruce than of his tights wearing alter ego.

What this all means is I might actually like Batman after his New 52 reboot. It's great that DC made Batman accessible again. It’s hard to just jump into a long running comic book series, but with the reboot, DC sort of put everyone back on the same page...pun unintended. Also, since the Avenger’s movie, I’ve been reading a lot more comics. I’m sure Marvel had envisioned more people picking up their comic books after the blockbuster movie; but it was very clever for DC to also capitalize on people’s new found curiosity for spandex wearing heroes by launching the New 52. Whether the timing of the New 52 was on purpose or by coincidence this Marvel fanboy is reading a lot more DC these days. Here’s to hoping that DC doesn’t do something stupid to squelch my new love for the DC universe. So how do you feel about the New 52? Are you excited to get aquatinted with new or old heroes or do you think it's just a gimmick that needs to be dropped? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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