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Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls (The New 52) Paperback – March 26, 2013
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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!
“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
“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.”
“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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Top Customer Reviews
Batman is reintroduced into The New 52 here as an already established, yet still somewhat younger Caped Crusader. He has a good relationship with GCPD, notably with Harvey Bullock (who has some excellent pieces of dialogue). Almost all of the Robins are present, and Nightwing has a prominent part to play in this arc. The story itself is well written, exciting and gives the reader enough background to become familiar with Gotham City without relying too much on prior knowledge.
The art is good, but I'm not 100% satisfied with it. Capullo's work portrays Batman well, and his city building renderings are fantastic, but some of the people seem a little off. Angular, less rounded fingers and faces work for Jim Lee, but seem a little cartoonish at certain points. That being said, the art has improved as the title has progressed and Capullo has improved his technique, so don't let a few awkward panels here and there ruin the experience.
When the New 52 was unveiled, several continuity changes seemed to remove some of the best elements of the character. This new Batman has a couple changes, but nothing bothersome. The court of Owls delivers the Dark Knight we all know and love (and deserve and need). Now, Commissioner Gordon is Batman, which I think is crazy, and further changes riddle the DC universe. This book delivers surprises without disturbing Batman's persona, yet still remains true to perhaps DC's greatest catalyst for new readers. Purchase this book, but be prepared to buy volume 2 as well, as that wraps up the story nicely.
After a series of brutal murders rocks Gotham City, Batman begins to realize that perhaps these crimes go far deeper than appearances suggest. As the Caped Crusader begins to unravel this deadly mystery, he discovers a conspiracy going back to his youth and beyond to the origins of the city he's sworn to protect. Could the Court of Owls, once thought to be nothing more than an urban legend, be behind the crime and corruption? Or is Bruce Wayne losing his grip on sanity and falling prey to the pressures of his war on crime?
Batman, Vol. 1: Court of Owls by Scott Snyder tried to do a very difficult job – reboot Batman!
The graphic novel did achieve this goal, but I’m not sure I like it. The story is good, the Court of Owls, a secret society, is certainly a worthy adversary for Batman – but which Batman?
Despite the evidence, Batman doesn’t believe the Court of Owls exist because he investigated them already… when he was a kid! Heck, that was when Pluto was still a planet and we still believed that processed food was actually “food”.
If Batman has one superpower is that he doesn’t believe anything, doesn’t trust anyone and has a plan of every contingency. I also didn’t care for Dick Grayson being Batman’s bitching buddy. This isn’t a play, characters can have inner monologues without bitching to other characters, especially people they consider sons.
However, the story is engrossing and my complaints are negligible at best and only refer to vol. 1. The art by Greg Capullo is very good and shows great talent. I enjoyed The Court of Owls very much and am looking forward to vol. 2.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I know that's a controversial thing to say, what with tons of other terrific incarnations of Batman out...Read more