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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
Top customer reviews
The Court of Owls was such a fierce and interesting opponent that, even if these villains were completely original and never seen before, it quickly became a fan favourite, when it comes to villains. People want to see the Court in TV series, animated series and even the Ben Affleck movies. That's how good this story is.
I strongly reccomend this story arc and everything Snyder has written for Batman. It's an exciting new spin for longtime Batman fans and it would work great as introduction for new fans who never read comicbooks.
As icing on the cake, the box set is ungodly cool and the mask is awesome, it looks just like it does in the story.
Very satisfied with the story and with the quality of the product. Also, the price is more than reasonable.
I was bummed when I received this package to learn that only vol.1 was included and the mask didn't come with a stand. Not the end of the world, however, because the story is excellent. I've been reading Batman comics/graphic novels for almost five years now and was seriously wowed by this story, (vol.2 not so much).
- Bruce Wayne finally has a new enemy that is terrifying and awesome to read about
- the story isn't as "realistically" violent and dark as some of the other stories Scott Snyder has done (looking at you Black Mirror)
- It is nice to see Batman lose it and get his butt kicked (at least once in a while)
- This package only includes a mask and vol.1 and does not come with a stand for the mask
- if you haven't kept up with Batman's more recent stories then there will be a character or two you're not familiar with
- Not for kids (very few Batman comics are nowadays, but I thought I'd throw that in here for the parents out there)
Overall, I'd have to recommend this book to anyone who either enjoys Batman, loves Batman, or is looking to get into Batman. I loved this story and the artwork is clean and polished. It really is a great read!
I have read volume 1's of Justice League, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman and now Batman. By far this is the most graphic and bloody of all. In saying that, the story is also the best of all in my opinion. As I was reading I felt a sense of dread for Batman because he litterally has no idea who he is against. There have always been rumors, or stories of a secret organization that has run Gotham from its birth, but even Batman never uncovered the evidence to prove the court existed. Not until they wanted him to know. If there was ever an enemy of Batman that was more dangerous, or at least just as dangerous as the Joker, it is the Court of Owls. I admit, I have just read Volume 1 so I don't know the entire story but what I do know is that Batman took all he could handle from just one Talon, their assassin. By the end there was a small army of Talons descending on Gotham. Nightwing is tied into this story in a cool way that adds so much history to the tragedy of Dick Grayson's family.
I hope that who runs the court and how the talons are used will be thourougly done in later volume's. I am so interested in this organization. And the reason why is because of how they make Batman feel. he says Gotham is his city, not theirs. But it is clear who really runs things. The Court! On a side note, I see that DC has spin off story called Talon. I'm getting that next. I was origionally buying all the members of Justice League's volume 1's first, but after readin this I now want to get Talon volume 1 next.
Joker's is back and Gotham is in trouble; heya, heya the Joker's back. This time Joker isn't in a playful mood and sends the Justice League in as his opening act. We go back Joker's roots as he is trying to poison the city but he has stepped up his game and that may be because he has been at this longer than anyone suspected.
Greg Capullo's art is just as stupendous here as he has been throughout the series.
The lack of 5-stars is only because I found out shortly after getting this that the Joker: Endgame volume has all that is in this volume and more and the price is pretty close.
If you care about having all of the volumes in the Batman, then get it. Otherwise, just get the Joker copy