I’m finally back into reading comics and I’m starting from the beginning or, rather, the new beginning of DC Comics. In the wake of declining comics sales and the manipulative need for comic books to market themselves on big, cheesy, nerd events rather than write stories of substance, DC comics has restarted. Basing the continuity on a book called Flashpoint, all 52 titles in the DC universe have gone back to square one: they are not starting at the beginning, instead remaining established heroes, but their continuities are moving in different directions.
What does this mean? Absolutely nothing except to get suckers like me to buy comics. Flashpoint, and every other event, is of no concern to the readers of this post. We’re starting from the beginning, guys! So let’s get to it.
Batman: Court Of Owls, released in February of 2012, dedicates itself to reestablishing Batman and his family through the first 6 issues of the Batman title and the Nightwing title. And, shockingly enough, it does it well! The Batman half of this title is absolutely wonderful. First and foremost, it is impossible for the readers not to notice the delightfully realistic art of Greg Capullo. Capullo seems to be striving for a fusion of the Christopher Nolan Batman and the classic character, beginning his book with a splash panel that makes the tone for this book clear from the outset.
Clearly, Cillian Murphy (Scarecrow) and Aaron Eckhart (Two-Face) are the influences for both of these villains. But what of Batman and his arch-nemesis?
I joke, but this Batman is a fusion between a classic, origin style Batman. Dark, only a black bat on his suit, and a sleek cowl emulate the Year One style, while the body armor makes for a merging with the movies reminiscent of a video game style Batman. The art really blows me away in the first 3 issues, until the series takes a sudden turn toward an impressional take on the character, but even then I am not thrown.
On writing and story, The Court of Owls suffers from the same problems that comics have in today’s day and age: Batman cannot exist unless he is saving millions of people from shadowy societies or super-villains. The crime thriller has really died as Batman has escalated into a billion dollar character. That said, Court of Owls does not fall flat on writing thanks to fresh dialogue and fun that has not been seen in the comics in too long. The give and take between Nightwing and Batman is wonderful, with Batman engaging with and enjoying his supporting cast.
Overall, I have to love the Batman side of this arc, even with an absurd secret society that seemingly has bases and tunnels everywhere that are never found. Comics do not need to be logical, but their characters do. Batman has profound monologues, musing about his place in a city he wants to make his own, but also possesses legends bigger than that of only the Batman.
Nightwing’s arc is barely worth mentioning, a throwaway full of comics cliches, twisted pasts, femme fatales, and soul-crushing boredom. But he is there to provide Batman with more food for thought, as in the panel above.
Batman #1-6 is the place to start in catching up with the current universe. I give it 4/5 Batarangs and plan on catching up further so that I can review individual issues in the future.