Batman Vol. 2: The City of Owls (The New 52) (Batman: the New 52!) Hardcover – March 26, 2013
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“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.”
“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.”
“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
About the Author
- Publisher : DC Comics; 52nd ed. edition (March 26, 2013)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 208 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1401237770
- ISBN-13 : 978-1401237776
- Reading age : 13 years and up
- Grade level : 8 - 12
- Item Weight : 1.36 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.87 x 0.58 x 10.45 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #700,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The story picks up immediately following the final panels of The Court of Owls and becomes an all out war between the Batman and the Talons who are attacking Gotham City. This is an action-heavy volume so if you enjoy Bat battles and big bads, then you're wish will be granted within the first 2 or 3 chapters of this volume that concludes the Owls story arc. There is even an interesting spin on the emergent big bad of this story that adds some alterations to the way we view young Bruce Wayne and his parents (at least I think the Big Bad background is a new take, I'm nowhere near as deep in Batman mythology as a lot of people are). The conclusion is fairly satisfying and leaves an air of mystery about some of the happenings. Along with the Owls conclusion, there is an interesting background story on Alfred's father, there is a character-building story of a person that figures to feature more later on in the Batman series, and an intriguing new take on the origins and character of Mr Freeze.
For me, the only thing really keeping this one from being a 5 star book is that it is nearly all an action adventure without a lot of substance elsewhere. I felt that Volume 1 was amazing with it's intrigue, mystery, action, psychological examination, and so on. You got a great view of Batman there from him being the world's greatest detective through the spectrum of being the defender of Gotham and incredibly mentally tough. In Vol 2 (this book), there isn't much detective work to do, the city's under attack and he needs to save it. Also, the only real mystery that crops up leads to Batman showing no interest in actually solving it.
The imagery throughout the comic is great, so many wonderfully drawn and colored panels that give the character and city so much interest and depth. If you loved or even just liked volume 1, you will almost certainly be happy with volume 2 especially if you are an action fan. I like to see the whole picture of Batman so without the detective/mystery side of the story it loses just a little bit for me. That said it's still easily a solid 4-4.5 stars.
Batman fights original foes and an interesting take on the Wayne family never before seen quite like this. Batman doesn't win just because he's Batman, nor is he portrayed as unbelievably invincible in fights. He starts the story beaten, betrayed by the city he loves and vows to protect. Physically, he is still recovering from his previous bout with the Court of Owls. Of course, when a villain is revealed to know Bruce Wayne and Batman are the same person, it cannot come to a great surprise he doesn't stick around. Still, the action feels real and convincingly dangerous; the Talon assassins cannot die, whereas Batman most certainly can. The conclusion of the Court story is very satisfying.
There is not much to say on Capullo's work, he has improved somewhat on his pieces, which was already more than satisfactory. The Thrasher Batsuit in particular is visually wonderful. Bruce and company face's convey genuine emotion and help propel the story forward. I was initially hesitant on Capullo as artist, but he has delivered. Additionally, the final chapter detailing the origin and ensuing conflict with Mr. Freeze give Fabok a chance to shine. Nightwing and Robin look great, truly looking heroic yet not overdone. The story feels a little shoe-horned in, but I'm glad it was placed at the end of the story so as not to interrupt the main arc.
So, with all this praise, why only four stars? For me, it comes down to two reasons: it's not quite as satisfying as Vol.1, and two, the Harper Row story. Why not the Jarvis Pennyworth story? It was interesting, the art was a little clunky, but it was a brief and relevant component to the history of the Owls. The Harper Row chapter failed to impress me, and I know that sounds arrogant. Batman already has so many excellent supporting characters that Harper, to me, feels unnecessary. I can appreciate that DC now has to meet more diverse gender audiences, but I still don't see this as a valid excuse. I know Batgirl has her own title, and so she should be doing her own thing, but why not the already established Stephanie Brown or Cassandra Cain? When Oracle was left out of the New 52, a character void was left in her place, and I understand the need to fill it. Harper Row has the tech skills of Oracle, but not the heart. While this may be unpopular, I felt the story was partly created just to prove that DC is addressing the relevant controversies of society and appear young and progressive. That's fine, that's what helps the company survive and earn praise and recognition from diversity groups. Still, I felt the 'forcedness' of this addition, and it left me kind of scratching my head. This is only one small component of the book, but still, I think was distracting enough to pull focus from the positive aspects.
Top reviews from other countries
If you don't get any of this series you are missing some very good entertaining Reading and it's Batman.......
who doesn't want to read about Batman ?
****(Semi Spoiler - be warned) - the ending to the first part is not satisfying - the court are murdering across the city - an evil almost unstoppable force. So much so that one owl took up the whole of a Court of Owls book - Yet while Batman goes after the big baddy - his extended team manage to take out a whole army of the owls by themselves with no reference as to how besides a couple of panels of punching. The Owl threat deserved a more intelligent and less easy resolution than that and Batman should have been leading.****
The second story is ok but stands alone and seems a bit pointless.
Greg Capullo is also a great artist and teamwork between him and Scott Snyder is perfect for the batman story.