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Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls (The New 52) Hardcover – May 15, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Q&A with Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo

Q: What is it like working on a huge initiative like The New 52?

Scott Snyder: For me it was exciting because we were given the opportunity to work on characters we love with no restrictions. So if the best story meant making changes to a character's history, there was flexibility to do so. With an imitative this big, seeing how many new readers came to the table to read comics after having lapsed, or never having read one at all, was a real thrill.

Q: What would you say defines the characters you are working on?

SS: For Batman, what defines him is his relentless determination, which is both his most heroic quality and his most pathological. For Swamp Thing, I'd say what defines him is his inability to give up his humanity even when he's at his most monstrous.

Q: What stories or creators inspire you most when working on your character?

SS: For Batman, I have my favorites: Dark Knight Returns and Year One, but it's hard to only pick a couple because he's a character who grew up alongside me, where the kinds of stories that were being told about him were becoming more sophisticated and complex right as I was coming of age. And now the fun thing is that I have a five-year-old son and I get to fall in love with some of the tamer versions of Batman all over again.

Q: Do you keep up with any of the other New 52 books? Which ones and why?

SS: My favorite of The New 52 would have to be Animal Man by Jeff Lemire, who is also one of my closest friends. And I'm really excited to be a part of everything happening in Gotham between Batgirl, Batman and Robin, Nightwing, and all the great books in our neighborhood. I particularly like All-Star Western for its interesting mix of old west and gothic horror.

Q: Has social media and increased direct interaction with DC Comics' fans changed your writing/drawing approach at all in regards to The New 52?

SS: It hasn't changed my writing approach; it has made me appreciate how much the fans love these characters. I always knew it, but seeing the responses online through Twitter and Facebook is overwhelming and inspirational. It's like being at a con all the time. I brought my wife to her first con last year and when I asked her what she thought, she said--and I was nervous to hear her response--that she was really moved by how passionate the fans were about these characters, and I feel the same way.

Q: When it comes to writing Batman, are you distinguishing this version from the previous one? Is your approach to the character different than the pre-New 52 Batman?

SS: No, my version of Batman is as different as the version that came before, just like every version is, because the truth is, the only way to write a character as iconic as Batman is to accept that you're going to have to make him your own, almost as if you were writing fan fiction and no one is ever going to read it. If I started thinking of all the amazing versions of the character that have come before, I would be paralyzed.

Q: You and Jeff Lemire tend to Twitter war each other often. How has this affected you when it comes to writing Swamp Thing and its ties to Animal Man?

SS: For me, our Twitter war is fun because while we insult each other online, usually we are texting each other offline, laughing about the whole thing. Jeff is one of the creators who inspire me the most for his sense of story and his dedication to characters.

Q: Greg, what's it like for you to work on the iconic Bat-Family and Batman villains? You even redesigned the Batman Rogues in the very first issue!

Greg Capullo: Well, everyone has probably heard me say by now that I first drew Batman and Robin when I was four years old. My mom has it somewhere. It was crude, but clear who they were, so to be drawing them professionally all these years later is really cool. I can tell you that I'm super excited to be drawing Batman and, though I admit to being a bit jaded, I was never so nervous (except for maybe my first work for Marvel) as when DC asked me to relaunch Batman from issue no. 1. Terrifying, is what it was. Especially being that I was aware of some of the fear out there that I was going to be turning Batman into Spawn, as I'd worked for years on that book. I really felt like an underdog. I was always confident (after the nerves settled) that those fears would be replaced with joy. I mean, I love Batman the same as you. I don't want to mess him up!

The Rogues, Ah, the Rogues. Well, they weren't really redesigns. I guess to some extent they were. But, they were locked up in Arkham. So, it was more like: what ways might a prisoner come up with to maintain his or her persona behind bars? That became the question. Speaking of, how about the Riddler's mohawk? HA! I think some Batman fans actually wanted to lynch me for giving him that! The Joker was the closest I got to a redesign. I'd love to get my hands on him for a story arc!

Q: The New 52 introduces a younger universe of heroes and I think your art very much reflects that. Is this a conscious thought when you're working on the title?

GC: Absolutely. I was given the characters' ages up front. Some complained that I draw Bruce and the family too young. The fact is I'm drawing them exactly as the powers that be want them to appear. As a professional, you want to give the client, in this case DC, what it is they're looking for. However, I listen very closely to the fans. After all, without them, we're nowhere. I've tried to make subtle changes based on what some of them were saying. My hope at the end of the day is that everyone will be pleased, even though that is completely impossible. Still, I'll always try. Now, I'm off to the Bat Cave to draw me some more Batman!


Review

A+. The hero's got personality (and is unafraid to release a quip as sharp as a Batarang), a horde of supervillains, gumption to spare and a whole host of high-tech gadgetry to suitably impress longtime fans and those new to the Dark Knight.”
USA Today
 
“This is one of the best comics of the week.”
The New York Times
 
“[Writer Scott Snyder] pulls from the oldest aspects of the Batman myth, combines it with sinister-comic elements from the series’ best period, and gives the whole thing terrific forward-spin by setting up an honest-to-gosh mystery for Batman to solve.”
Entertainment Weekly
 
“Scott Snyder, already the company's greatest asset over the last four weeks, spins a stack of plates immediately…. Too often Batman comics focus heavily on the hero persona … Snyder sets up equal amounts of conflict for both Wayne's public and private personas.”
Time Out Chicago
 
A stunning debut…. Snyder knows these characters, sets up an intriguing mystery, and delivers some action that Capullo realizes stunningly. This is definitely in the top rank of the revamp.
The Onion AV Club
 
Hits all the right notes. I enjoyed the living hell out of this.” – io9
 
“Bruce Wayne is a badass. The end.”
—IGN, 9.5 Rating
 
A+. Incredible tone and enough twists, turns and character appearances to keep us hooked.”
UGO
 
“There's enough here, kept at a high enough level to make it interesting and viable across media and digestible enough for even the most novice DC Universe reader…. Score one for DC and score one for Snyder and Capullo in finding a new fan.”
—Comic Book Resources

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401235417
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401235413
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.6 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (710 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Scott Snyder is one of comics' bestselling authors. His works include BATMAN, AMERICAN VAMPIRE, THE WAKE, SUPERMAN UNCHAINED, SEVERED, and WYTCHES among others. He has also been published in Zoetrope, Tin House, One-Story, Epoch, Small Spiral Notebook, and other journals, and has a short story collection, Voodoo Heart, which was published by Dial Press in 2006. He has taught at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence University and NYU and lives in New York with his wife, Jeanie, and his two young sons.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 85 people found the following review helpful By scot16897 VINE VOICE on June 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Batman: The Court of Owls V. 1 is a fantastic rebooting of Batman, and should appeal to casual as well as hard-core fans.

The story and art are both essential components of comics and graphic novels, and each is discussed in this review.

The story is engaging and very interesting. It starts with a bang, with Batman facing off against several members of his Rogues Gallery, a move which draws in long time readers and for newcomers, firmly establishes Batman as a physical force. After that, the reader is immersed in Bruce Wayne's high society, and just that easily, the dual nature of the main character is established. From there, writer Scott Snyder starts up with his own new plotline, in which he turns the history of Gotham City on its head, creating an all-new threat. The Batman faces a foe who always seems one step ahead, and who is a physical match. The pacing with which Snyder develops his story is fantastic, and readers will be swept along for the ride.

Greg Capullo's artwork is truly beautiful. Capullo captures emotion and action with great ease, and his drawing is truly art. It will sound strange to make this distinction, but while I was absolutely blown away by the Batman scenes, whether action or in conversation, I was somewhat underwhelmed with the out of costume art, specifically the fact that Bruce Wayne looks almost identical to another character in the book, and Wayne's younger wards look so similar as to be drawings of a younger Bruce Wayne. Given the skill with which Capullo draws, I am sure this was intentional, but it was pretty much the only thing about the book which was anything less than spectacular.

By the end of the book, I was excited to read more, and see where else the team of Snyder and Capullo would take the characters. At the end of the day, isn't that the way such a book should be judged?
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Taylor on December 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'll start off by saying that this storyline is up there with The Dark Knight Returns and The Long Halloween. I had been waiting to read this for over a year now, and since I'm usually one to wait for the tpb editions to come out to read the comics of my choice, I did that with this one as well, and now I'm mad at myself for waiting so long. Scott Snyder's writing is truly excellent; he knows how to develop a complex storyline all the while getting into great character development. Batman's character in this storyline is one of my favorites of all time; it really rivals the complexity of Miller's Batman in TDKR. Greg Capullo's writing only enhances the storyline. The art is excellent and it only further immerses the reader in the story. This book makes me question my stance on The Black Mirror, as I didn't like it my first time around. Snyder is probably the best comic writer around today. I recommend this book not only to Batman fans or comic fans, I'd recommend this book to anyone. Seriously, buy it now. When you finish reading, I guarantee you'll want to run to the comic store and buy all the recent Batman issues from 8 on. It's that good.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. K. Petersen on August 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As much as I enjoyed the concept behind the Court of Owls, the New 52 has had a devastating impact on the Batman family of books. The compressed history now makes no sense and takes away the grand build up that Morrison's 7-year run on the title lead to. Moreover, Snyder, while he's a fine writer, is no Morrison when it comes to delivering the force of character of the Darknight Detective. Batman seems to go through the motions here, whereas Morrison gave more of a sense that Batman was always under control of (or at least anticipated) the events and circumstances in which he found himself.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By tvtv3 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really enjoy Scott Snyder's AMERICAN VAMPIRE comics. Those stories are fresh and original. I was first introduced to Snyder's non-AMERICAN VAMPIRE writing in BATMAN: THE BLACK MIRROR. That pre-new-52 story has been heralded by many as the best Batman story in the past five years. Unfortunately, I don't agree. I thought that the initial premise of the story was promising, but then it went to places it wasn't necessary to go (for instance, was it really necessary to make Jim Gordon's son a psychopath?) It reminds me of some of the extremes DC went to in the 1990s to increase readership, but that almost led to the complete destruction of the company. Despite not enjoying, THE BLACK MIRROR, I decided to give Snyder's Batman another chance and read BATMAN, VOL. 1: THE COURT OF OWLS.

The basic storyline is that Batman discovers that an old rhyme that mothers in Gotham City used to tell their children to scare them into obedience, is actually true. For over a century, Gotham has been "watched over" by a secret group of individuals (like the Illuminati) that call themselves the Court of Owls. Nothing happens without the approval of the Court and if the Court doesn't like what you're doing, they send their assassin, named Talon, to kill you. Batman is the Court's next target and he finds himself racing against a clock as he struggles against enemies who seem to know his every move before he even makes them.

I realize with the New 52, the entire DC universe has received a reboot. I don't agree with it, but I understand and accept it. But even with a reboot, with all the villains in Batman's rogues gallery, was it really necessary to create another evil group to pit against Batman?
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