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Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls (The New 52) (Batman (DC Comics Paperback)) Paperback – March 26, 2013
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“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
“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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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.
Top international reviews
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.
The story is dark & grips you straight away, in some ways reminds me of Knightfall i.e Batman almost the underdog against a worthy opponent. I was wrong to judge the art without actually reading it. Although I personally prefer a different style it is still very good and works very well with the story.
I really enjoyed it and will be reading it again.
The good part about this collections is that they leave out the tie-inns which i find sometimes exaggerated, unrealistic, contradictory or confusing... They've expanded the Batman universe but they should have stayed with the original. Anyway, this first volume is worth reading...
so of your thinking about buying this book do yourself a favor just buy it.