When DC Comics announced they were re-booting all their titles, they were met with skepticism from millions of superhero fans. How could they seemingly brush aside 70 to 80 years of history and just restart everything from issue #1? It was easy for them. They just moved forward with writers and artists and did it. It worked as far as I’m concerned.
The two characters most people worried about were Batman and Superman. These are the most famous and identifiable superheroes in the comic book world. It’s no surprise many readers cautiously approached the first few issues of what is now referred to in graphic novel form as “Batman Volume 1: The Court of Owls.”
The book revolves around the Dark Knight’s investigation of brutal murders in Gotham City. All the evidence Commissioner Gordon and his police force uncovers point to Dick Grayson. Batman must find a way to solve the crimes and clear the former Boy Wonder’s name. He continues his research on the case and clashes with an ancient sect that controls Gotham from the shadows.
Writer Scott Snyder (“American Vampire”) does what he does best with this story arc. He weaves a complex tale which drags you straight into the dark recesses of Batman’s mind. He strips the Caped Crusader down to his raw emotions and exploits his physical and mental limitations. There are times where you think Batman is going to break under the pressure of this horrific organization known as the Court of Owls.
It also helps that we’ve never seen this diabolical faction. They aren’t a recurring group we’re familiar with from past issues. They’re new, unpredictable, and malevolent.
Artist Greg Capullo (“Spawn”) is the perfect choice to visually flesh out Snyder’s words. His art is unique and he moves between realistic illustrations and twisted drawings which remind me of Frank Miller’s pencils from “The Dark Knight Returns.” It accentuates Snyder’s disturbing storytelling completely.
“Batman Volume 1: The Court of Owls” is an excellent collection of the first six issues of the renumbered title. Everything about this book reflects high quality. The story is intricate and the art compliments it in a twisted beautiful manner. If you never gave the reboot of the “Batman” series a chance, do yourself a favor and pick it up now. It comes in a special edition hardcover form and includes bonus material like character sketches, alternate covers, and more.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
Comic Writer Brian Azzarello Talks About ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Spaceman’ Books
Joss Whedon Advises on How to Get ‘Justice League’ Movie Made
‘Batman: Death by Design’ Graphic Novel Review