Monday, 10 February 2014

Thoughts on Batman Court Of Owls

I found another draft from the dark depths of my blog that has never seen the light of day for some reason, maybe I intended to go back to it after reading some more? Or maybe I just forgot? Whatever my reason, here were my initial thoughts on Batman Court Of Owls. The reference to All-Star Western might be a little dated (apparently I wrote this on 16/10/12) but other than that, this was my first reaction to the first New 52 Batman trade:

"HOLY CRAP!" That was my reaction as I finished the first trade paperback of Court of Owls.

Opinions on this title among my friends has been surprisingly divided. As you can gather from my reaction, I LOVED it. I feel as though it's a fresh take on the world's greatest detective though for some of my peers this in itself is the titles biggest flaw. That is, if he truly is the world's greatest detective and Gotham is his domain, surely he'd know about a secret order right under his nose like The Talon?

I understand this point and the frustration that it potentially creates for some fans but the way I see it, this is the ultimate foe for Batman. A true adversary with skills and abilities that rival his own! The potential of Batman's failure makes for an incredibly interesting read. If there were  prize for the best comic villainry, Batman's enemies and villians would win hands down for how varied they are (though Spider-Man comes close second). But for me, a good villain is one that provides a challenge to their nemesis, one which can be as good as, if not, better than the masked vigilante himself.

Batman arrogantly insists that Gotham is his city.. yet, time and time again a new enemy creeps up from it's gritty underbelly to cause mayhem and kill innocent people just for the chance to fight Bats. That, and I don't even want to think of how much money the city of Gotham has had to fork out for the countless repairs and rebuilding of the city in the aftermath of these battles.

Though, this is not my point and I'm in no way ragging on Batman. What I'm getting at is that when I read a Batman comic, I ultimately know that he will win, he'll work out what's going on just in time, see the clues and evidence that Gotham Central cops miss, search out criminals and deliver justice just like he always does. That's what he does, sometimes he has help, sometimes he doesn't - but ultimately, you don't mess with The Batman.

This is why the Talon are a formidable threat, a secret society of vigilantes that have been in Gotham for decades, you could go as far as to say they are Gotham. How does one destroy everything one has worked so hard to protect? I foresee a huge dilemma for both Mr Wayne and Batman. I'd go as far a to say that The Talon will go on to be Batman's greatest enemy... yes, yes... controversial, I know. But screw you guys. I'm genuinely excited for the rest of this run.

If any of you have been following Jonah Hex and Dr. Amadeus Arkham's exploits in All-Star Western, you'll have noticed a familiar secret society. Yes, the owls have been in Gotham almost indefinitely. [I thoroughly recommend All-Star Western, it's been fantastic so far and the dynamic between Hex and the bumbling Arkham has been superb!]

The Talon aside, I thought the artwork, particularly the representation of the Wayne Family in this trade was beautifully portrayed. Albeit slightly creepy... anyone else notice they all look the same!? And not, 'we're related' similar...But identical...'we might be clones' the same!

The Talon are so sinister and the artwork emphasises their eeriness and had me on edge. Not that I'm scared of owls, or birds of any kind, I love Hitchcock's The Birds and Court Of Owls captures that same helplessness and suspense whenever they appear or loom on the page. 

Kudos to Snyder and co. on this because, I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to read volume 2. It makes me wish I'd been buying the singles since day one but my very meagre wages can only buy so many comics *sigh* - anyway, I recommend this book! So far, it has been bold and has offered something different. Which, let's face it, Bats needs!

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