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on December 12, 2012
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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VINE VOICEon 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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on August 15, 2012
I'm probably not the first person to tell you this is good but I'm not a really big Batman fan anymore. This still is a good comic and brings a lot of things that I hope stick around with the character.

Good:
-The villains give Batman a really good fight and at a lot of times it feels like Batman is the under dog so he really has to stretch his abilities to fight this new menace. This makes the fight scenes more intense in action. The mystery is also very well done.
-The relevance of the villain to the Batman mythos is just high sprouting from the first case Bruce Wayne ever investigated as a child and even plays on a lot of the paranoia of the character when the villains are ultimately unmasked. Also the fact that this comes right on the heels of Bruce trying to streamline his efforts to help Gotham make it something that will have lasting effects.
-The side characters are well done and are greatly represented in a brillaint note when Batman is trapped by the villains and left to rot in their trap. This leads to moments of despair and shows how this tension affects all aspects of Gotham crime fighting.
-The artwork is excellent, with Greg Capullo finding some really good high notes while keeping some memorable fight scenes and visuals. Particularly the hallucinations Bruce has in the villains's trap.

Bad:
-While I like the side characters and their interactions, the feeling between Bruce and Nightwing isn't played up or when it does reach the point of issue #7, I don't really see a good reason for Bruce's action towards nightwing (he has moments of being a bastard, but Nightwing just takes it like he's still a kid.). There isn't much build up to it that wasn't 5 issue ago and their relationship wasn't that bad.

Really it's just a minor grievance in the long run although I'm looking forward to seeing how everything ultimately resolves itself, all the threads. I'd definately recommend it despite that one part.
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on February 2, 2014
This book got a lot of hype, and the creative team (Snyder and Capullo) continue to garner more. Rightfully so, however, out of all of the New 52, perhaps Batman was the most difficult to make feel fresh. This does an admirable job.

This story revolves around Bruce in his attempt to revitalize Gotham City with the support of an unlikely ally, mayoral candidate Lincoln March. But as Bruce garners more support in his task, his alter ego seems to face increased resistance through a new, more resilient force once thought to be a myth of Gotham.

Snyder is a great writer, and he introduces a great new villain that I would hope to see again at some point and his characterization is always accurate. Batman has always been the victim his own personality, and is really only made interesting through his supporting cast (Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, etc.), but under Snyder's pen, he is slightly less one-dimensional. He has the occasional quip in battle, and he seems smarter and wiser, though also more human (as he is not always prepared for everything). I don't mind that Snyder can be wordy, as his writing is so fluid that it isn't tedious to read.

Capullo's art is good, great at times, even. I like his clean lines and his elegant Batman (he is strong and powerful, but he never looks unrealistically proportioned); his drawing of the Court of Owls has a definite eeriness to it and his overall layouts are great.

However, one issue I have with the pencils is that so many male characters look the same in the face. Often times I could only differentiate Dick Grayson from Bruce Wayne by their relative heights, and in scenes with Bruce and Lincoln March I kept finding myself double checking previous panels to ensure I knew which was which. This is my only real complaint on the art, as it is overall fantastic (he does especially well making things clear and easy to follow, even in very dark panels and scenes).

Finally, though the story itself is excellent, and the art is above average, I don't like that this volume isn't the complete story. Though this is technically the first story arc, the next volume (City of Owls) is directly related and sees the final conclusion of the Owls storyline. I can understand DC's decision to release this the way they did, but it would read better as a larger hardcover collecting the entire Owls storyline. I know it will eventually be released as such, and I will probably buy it when it is (if it is an Absolute edition) but the resolution provided within the volume alone is not very satisfactory. In fact, in the first few panels of the storyline, Bruce is asked what "Gotham is...?" This is a question that will not be answered until the end of volume 2, possibly after you've forgotten the question was ever asked. A small disappointment for an otherwise excellent story.
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on August 1, 2015
First and foremost, since not a lot of people have mentioned it: the mask is pretty cool. Obviously inexpensive, and the plastic is not rigid as I would have hoped, but it's not the cheapest ever and I feel comfortable with the idea of taking it on my Halloween cruise- provided that I pack it with clothes to protect it from crushing.

The book has a nice glossy cover. The pages feel a little thin and fragile, but it's a collected volume- not a hardcover collector's volume. Much as with the mask, I can forgive a few cut corners.

The story itself is an interesting examination of Batman and his relationship with the city of Gotham. The titular Court of Owls don't appear very often and are given very little real development- they are instead used as a literary tool to effectively criminalize Gotham itself- turning every proud denizen into another terrible clawed deception and the very culture of the city into a veiled threat against Batman, Bruce Wayne, and anything wholesome.

SPOILERS:

Toward the end, Batman is dropped into a maze, drugged, and tortured until he begins to hallucinate and lose his mind. He stops trusting what he feels is logic and intellect and relies more upon his violence and gut instinct to brute force through a problem, and while he is successful I do recognize that a lot of readers found this to go against what they know of Batman. I have always considered Batman to be first and foremost human. When backed into a corner and told that his every waking assumption is a lie, he reverts to the same characteristic flaws that we all have beneath the surface. This is an extremely human Batman, and I find that compelling.

Once my next paycheck rolls in I think I will be picking up volume 2 and seeing where they went next with this interpretation of the dark knight.
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on October 27, 2012
Batman is rebooted back to #1 in this new series and DC has released this really neat hardcover containing issues #1-7 of the new series! Batman takes on a mythical Court of Owls and must fight a force that has been haunting the Wayne family for over a hundred years! Batman, and his family, must take down these owls before they hunt down every last bat in Gotham!

Here we have arguably the best series to come out of the new 52 reboot. Batman takes on what was a nursery rhyme and now an army of reanimated corpses fighting for an organization that predates Bruce himself! The mystery that builds up in these issues is very fun to read as, more and more, you see owls in the background stalking Bruce and his family at every turn and when they strike, it's made all more epic as they get the jump on the great detective! Issue 5 is by far my favorite as Bruce is drugged and as he becomes more confused and delirious, the comic reads like a calendar and then moves to reading completely upside-down! The art here by Greg Capullo is fantastic and works very well for this series and Snyder is writing a grade-A story here that will spill over into the Night of the Owls crossover event that will be collected into a hardcover volume and scheduled to release in February. There's also a script, character sketch gallery, and a really nice variant cover gallery as well as all the normal, textless covers within the book. Overall, it's a very, very fun read to go through over and over again and never dulls out.
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on August 8, 2014
I am not the most tried and true Batman follower, but since my childhood I have checked in from time to time to get a feel for what the comic was doing. Knightfall and No Man's Land were the two major crossovers that caught my attention as I was growing up, since these were major at the time, but I've also gone back to read the classics, those being Dark Knight Returns, Year One, and (according to some) the Long Halloween.

With the start of the Snyder/Capullo era and a relaunched universe, I was hearing more good things, so I made it a point to at least check back again and read this first trade paperback when it became available. I know nothing of Snyder, but I remember Capullo fondly as being the only interesting aspect of the Spawn series over at Image Comics. Here, on Batman, his work is surprisingly cleaner and less complicated, which runs counter to what I would have expected when sicced upon a character as gritty as Batman. Capullo is a competent storyteller, though, and he's easy to follow here. He hits his stride in issue #5, during a hallucinogenic episode that Batman experiences; that's when the artist's creativity really shines through and he takes some chances. Watching Batman's cowl assume wildly elongated and impractical lengths and dimensions truly does evoke Capullo's old Spawn days.

As for Snyder's story, it gets off to a slow and boring start. The first issue in this collection tries to grab the reader with a large fight scene pitting Batman against all of his rogues gallery at Arkham Asylum. The fight is so generic and impersonal, though, that it fails to thrill. Snyder tosses in a twist with the Joker, Batman's greatest enemy, but it has no real bearing on the plot and doesn't resonate.

The plot in the first issue tries to accomplish two things: first, it introduces all the characters in the Batman mythos. Again. As though I haven't read a Batman comic in the last 25 years. I understand that the first issue of a new volume (in a new fictional universe) needs to set the ground rules and appeal to first time readers, but these are extremely familiar characters that Snyder feels the need to trot out in succession, one after the next, and there isn't anything particularly new or enthralling added to any of them that we haven't seen before. There is the conundrum of the three Robin characters who, as part of Snyder's remit for this series, have to coexist within the new continuity simultaneously. In effect, this means that they're tripping on top of one another. This is the fault of the editors and not Snyder, but it still comes off as a bizarre image to see three dark haired boys, all wards of Bruce Wayne, in issue #1. (Within the later parts of the story, Snyder is wise to focus on just one of the Robins-Nightwing-for the purposes of the plot.) Apart from the Robins, stylistically many of the character designs do borrow something from the recently concluded Batman movie trilogy. Otherwise, the cast is standard fare. On the bright side, some of Batman's tech gets a facelift!

The other objective of issue one is to get the ball rolling for the grand mystery surrounding a new group of villains, the Court of Owls. Again, with Snyder going for the slow boil, there isn't much to see in issue #1 except a stale crime scene; no villain from this group ever shows up until the second issue. Snyder begins to flesh out a new theme, namely, that Gotham City will personify or belong to either the Batman or to the Court of Owls. This is promising, and he builds upon it, but in the first issue the setup takes the shape of Bruce Wayne simply giving a long and cliched speech about Gotham to a large group of Gotham aristocrats. These scenes are not the stuff of suspense.

Snyder adopts a first person narrative throughout the book, which I like. It gives insight into Batman's analytical mind, and it provides a way to give the reader background information about the fictional landscape, as experienced by Batman, and about the Wayne family, which figures prominently here.

Snyder, like Capullo, hits his stride in issue #5, when the slow build up bears dividends, and when the action and sense of danger catches up to the mystery being built. From that point on, the book maintains its edginess. While the main storyline does not conclude in this volume, it reaches sufficient momentum to propel it, and the reader, into volume two. After an underwhelming start, I am surprised by how well Snyder was able to recover in the second half of this collection.
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on May 23, 2015
This is an awesome set! I purchased this for my boyfriend, but really it's mine. He can PRETEND it's his, but really...it's mine. So what, if I handed it to him wrapped. That is completely irrelevant...

The set came with Volume One of "The Court of Owls" storyline in the New 52.. Granted, I already OWN The Court of Owls Volume One, and two, and three...but I still couldn't resist this set. I mean, it's not like I'm actually going to open it..

I'm really glad I purchased this because it's impossible to not glance at every time I step in the bedroom. I LOVE my little owl, and of course....THE BATMAN! (I purchased this myself!)
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on September 6, 2012
I must admit that I am new to comics. However, after reading about the New 52 lineup from DC Comics, I thought this would be a good way to start. I was trying to find a new Batman fix after seeing The Dark Knight Rises (knowing that this would be the last one directed by Christopher Nolan). I wanted a story that focused on Batman's vulnerability (he is just a man who trained himself to be a hero. He has no super powers at all.). Well, rest assured that Batman: The Court of Owls does the Batman mythos proud. He is dark, brooding, determined, and at times, vulnerable. What this story does better than any other story arch before it is that it puts Batman as a detective at the forefront. There are a series of grizzly murders in Gotham that Batman must figure out and solve. However, the deeper he looks into the murders, the more he realizes he is connected to them in more ways than one. Imagine Batman envisioned by David Fincher, and you would have a good idea of what to expect. Beautifully told, cutting edge artwork, and fully realized ambition make this a Batman tale of the highest order. It will be held in the same esteem as The Dark Knight (by Frank Miller) and The Long Halloween (by Jeph Loeb). It is THAT GOOD!
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on September 14, 2015
Holy S*%T Batman! I picked up this issue (and subsequent other 4...#6 is pre-ordered) after reading a random online article about this "new" Batman story. That's all I'm saying about the plot, and I highly recommend any Batman fan to check these out. Issue #1 starts a little slow, but by #3 you are audibly saying "no way" as your spouse asks "what?" from across the room. It's that good. Best Batman since Dark Knight series.
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