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Batman (2011-2016) Vol. 1: The Court of Owls (Batman Graphic Novel) Kindle & comiXology
|Length: 171 pages||Age Level: 13 - 17||Grade Level: 8 - 12|
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- Book 1 of 13 in Batman (2011-2016)
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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!
About the Author
From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- File Size : 163050 KB
- Publication Date : June 5, 2012
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Publisher : DC (June 5, 2012)
- Print Length : 171 pages
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- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- ASIN : B008J2GAKU
- Text-to-Speech : Not enabled
- Language: : English
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #7,946 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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Top reviews from the United States
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This first volume focuses more on Batman as the technologically-savvy detective, using his mind and gadgets rather than brute strength to unravel mysteries he encounters. As with much of Snyder's run, the villain here, the Court of Owls, is by contrast to Batman, more of the gruesome, gothic-horror type of unseen enemy (which Batman sometimes, but not often encounters). What this does is not only add intensity and suspense, as it often feels like Batman is on the backfoot and out of his depth, but also makes each victory/escape/win feel more earned, because it is often achieved through Batman's keen mind, willpower, and skill. Snyder also uses the Court to reintroduce the reader to Gotham's past, including key moments in Bruce's past, to introduce a slightly altered, but consistent take about the tragedy that befell the Wayne family.
Ultimately, the implicit question that the run poses in its opening pages (and is used to frame Snyder's story) is "What is Gotham?" Its villains? Its history? Its problems? But really, the question is, of course, "Who is Batman?" And Snyder comes off with a strong start here to answer that question, by showing Batman in top form, sharp, undaunted, and relentless.
Got all the Graphic Novels in this story arc for Christmas 2016. I read them twice hoping I would like it better the second time. Didn't work. I really can't put a finger on why they fell flat with me. Wish I could. The look of the books and artwork are top notch but something about the story itself just didn't do it for me. Batman seemed so inconsistent from other books. He struggled mentally and physically with things and people that in other stories he would have made quick work of. If Batman is the world's greatest detective and greatest martial artist is other stories then he needs to be in every story. Can't have it both ways. Art, whatever form it takes, is very subjective (writing, painting, sculpting, etc.) so I can only speak for myself. I wanted to love this story arc but just could not.
I ordered the hardcover but received the softcover so I’m immensely disappointed about that. I reported this to Amazon and they said they’ll investigate.
I do also love how much Gotham is such a central element of these stories. It makes me both want to and not want to be there.
Also, the art is stupendous. Even the yellow font on black background when Batman talks is alluring. I can just look at these pages all day.
Top reviews from other countries
The art style is excellent, and gives the comics the perfect tone for the best Batman stories - dark, gritty, but still with some supernatural and exaggerated elements.
100% reccomend both this novel, and the full series.
I am not a regular batman reader, since somehow I preferred the light-hearted batman stories, yet over the last decade DC seemed to conspire to only produce dark, gritty, and bloody ones.
I found 'the court of owls' to be excellent. Snyder shows why he is considered to be one of the premiere writers at DC.
I'm a big fan of Greg Capullo following his work with Image comics and Todd MacFarlane books.
10/10 picking up the next trade immediately.
Snyder and Capullo are a winning team with both complementing each others work and the end result is a promising first part to an arc that retroactively adds the Court of Owls to the Batman mythos. It makes sense that this is the first Batman New 52 arc, if it had come later in the run people would have complained about the lack of presence of the Court in previous titles. Again, this is only part one, the story concludes (sort of) in Volume 2: The City of Owls.
It's a great read if you're trying to get into the New 52 but if you're a hardcore Bat-fan, you might get the sense of retreading old ground (Hush).
PS. If you enjoyed Scarecrows psychedelic level in the Arkham Ayslum game then you will love the Owl Labyrinth in this book!
Thankfully no. Well sort of, but this isnt a retread, a bland photocopy of ideas past.
Snyder (American Vampire) and Capullo (Spawn) start from the ground up, immediately kick expectations to the curb and start telling a story that stands head and shoulders with the best batman storys ever told (and in doing so also create one the best multi-comic crossover stories - Marvel and DC both could learn alot from this model next time they come to design their "events").
To start with the visuals, Capullos art is very dynamic, and i mean that out without any sense of hyperbole. One of very few artists that can fold such seperate influences and styles together, at moments overblown (showing his Image and Spawn roots), but more often quiet and alltogether more subtley expressive. His character designs vary from functional to fantastic, with the new 'Talons' taking the prize. His sense of space and timing bring Gotham alive and very genuinely compliment Snyders story and writing. Its very difficult to figure out who to credit with what.. but thats the point of comics as medium.
Snyders story is superb, and i only hold two minor quibbles with it. The first isnt really a problem, but it feels like it deserves a better stage. As the reboot had just happened, the story heads straight into the court of owls and you cant help but be left thinkign "this was your 3d or even 4th story". Grant morrison built up the Black Hand and Eventually Leviathan so that when Batman is brought into confrontation, they feel suitably menacing. the court of owls are introduced as a concept, as a counter myth to Batman, and then established inside of 2 or 3 issues, and then ultiamtely dealt with over the next 8. Hardly the "we were there from the very beginning" sort of threat they are in the narrative.
That minor quible aside, I think it speaks volumes about the quality of the writing that they are a threat anyway. IN a comic where we have never met (or even seen hints of the court of owls), and we know that Nightwing and Batman et all wont die, there is still a fantastic sense of dread that permiates the pages and drags the story kicking and screaming at full pelt through amazing issue after amazing issue. Gone is the batgod who rarely looks out of his depth, gone are the immortal sidekick who can dance through a haze of bullets untouched. This is a gotham where its denizens bleed, and knives cut heroes as deeply as anyone else. There were several moments where expression on a character face tells that story "this wasnt meant to happen to me", where major characters actually face down their mortality as people, rather than Supermen.
Having read this book originally as single issues, i saved all three Owls books to read in one sitting, and could not have been more engrossed, and absolute page turner, the pace and detail exceeded all might highest expectations for the relaunch (unlike the Justice league reboot).
Much like Grant Morrisons run before this, I know will be reading batman for as long as these two are writing him.