In this thrilling adventure, Scott Snyder breathes new life into the Batman franchise by introducing a terrifying new enemy...The Court of Owls!
While waging his war against crime, Batman has seen many horrible things...
But all this time, an unseen horror has lurked in the shadows of Gotham City. For over a hundred years, rumors have been whispered about a secret society that rules the streets of Gotham, an omnipresent group known as the Court of Owls. Most people assume the tales to be mere campfire stories told for the sole purpose of scaring the citizens of Gotham. After all, in over 100 years, no one has ever found any evidence of the Court's existence...at least no one who has lived to tell about it. But Batman must uncover the truth behind the urban legend, especially now that the Court has sent an unstoppable assassin after...Bruce Wayne!
Despite the fact that I've loved Scott Snyder's writing in the past, I still went into "The Court of Owls" with a bit of trepidation. After all, I first started reading Batman comics in the early 80s, and the idea of DC's "New 52" banner wiping out so much of that history and trying to reboot the Batman franchise sounded like it was doomed to fail. But I still had a lot of fun reading the first story arc of the new "Batman" series. For one thing, this Batman actually makes a joke now and then! Yes, grim and gritty elements can add more gravitas to the story, but so many of the 90s Batman books overdid it to the point that the always-brooding Batman was almost devoid of any personality. In fact, having read so many of those "grim avenger of the night"
stories, I especially loved when Snyder had Dick Grayson hit Batman with this zinger, "So it's true...you actually do practice brooding!" Under Snyder's watch, Batman is still haunted, but the fact that he actually cracks a smile once in a while makes him even more likable and sympathetic than ever before. In addition, Snyder’s first-person narration from Batman’s point-of-view provides genuine character introspection, as verses the lame ”I am the night”
rhetoric that so many other writers fall back on.
But what really wowed me the most about this story was the inclusion of a new enemy to the Batman rogues gallery. Let's be honest, in the last couple of decades, attempts to introduce the next big Batman villain haven't always been successful. Sure, Bane was cool in "Knightfall" and in the "Dark Knight Rises" movie, but he didn't really serve a whole lot of purpose in the 20 years inbetween. And try explaining The Black Glove and Dr. Simon Hurt to anyone who doesn't have a working knowledge of at least 30 years worth of Batman canon! (Grant Morrison can never make things simple, can he?!?) But I found the concept of The Court of Owls to be executed flawlessly. The idea of Batman fighting an urban legend was such a delicious parallel, considering many Gothamites consider Batman himself to be an urban legend! And Snyder never falls back on hackneyed straw man tactics to make the Court more interesting, his brilliant writing is all it takes for us to feel the same terror Batman does when he realizes just how far the Court's reach truly extends.
An exciting adventure sprinkled with humor and horror, "The Court of Owls" is a fun ride for new and old Batman fans alike. In closing, I'll leave you with this rhyme from the book which citizens of Gotham tell each other to send shivers down their spines...Beware the Court of Owls, that watches all the time.
Ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime.
They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed.
Speak not a whispered word of them, or they'll send The Talon for your head!!!"