Pick of the Week
What did the
- Pick of the Week - 05.15.2013 - Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher #1
- Pick of the Week - 05.08.2013 - Thor: God of Thunder #8
- Pick of the Week - 05.01.2013 - Animal Man #20
- Pick of the Week - 04.24.2013 - Uncanny Avengers #7
- Pick of the Week - 04.17.2013 - Captain Marvel #12
Art by GREG CAPULLO and JONATHAN GLAPION
Cover by GREG CAPULLO
Variant cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
B&W Variant cover by GREG CAPULLO
Size: 32 pages
There’s a moment in almost any great mystery story, where our hero’s world is turned upside down. That moment when the hero, previously so confident and secure in his knowledge and abilities, realizes that nothing is as it seems and that now he has to question everything he once thought to be true. And he realizes that he’s in big trouble.
It’s hard to find a character–not just a superhero, but a character–more confident in himself and in his world than Bruce Wayne. He is, except on rare occasions, the smartest, best looking, richest, and the most capable guy in the room. That sort of situation breeds confidence that borders on arrogance. Nothing can stop him. He’s he man who plans for everything and every situation. He knows 15 ways to disable any adversary. He knows Gotham City better than he knows the back of his hand.
He’s never caught off guard.
For a while now, writer Scott Snyder has been talking about his big Batman story and that in it, Batman’s greatest enemy would be Gotham City itself. He posited the idea that maybe Bruce doesn’t know the city as well as he thinks he does and that just maybe there are forces in it–old, rich, and powerful forces–conspiring against him.
For the first two issues of the new Batman series, some very old forces have been lining up against Bruce Wayne. In issue three, it finally dawns on Bruce that he doesn’t know quite as much about Gotham City as he thinks he does and that might actually be in trouble.
One of the biggest strengths of Snyder’s tenure with the Batbooks has been the way he has woven the history of Gotham City into his present day stories. The villain of this story is called The Talon and he is the enforcer for a group of people in terrifying owl masks called The Court of Owls. This group is said to exist only in Gotham City folklore and children’s nursery rhymes. According to legend, The Court of Owls secretly runs Gotham but Bruce Wayne has written them off because if he, not only as Batman but as the golden boy of one of Gotham’s oldest and richest families, has never seen any evidence that The Court of Owls is real, then there is no way that they are anything more than urban myth. Right?
While Batman tracks down The Talon we learn a bit more about the history of Gotham City, including the mystery behind the death of Bruce’s great, great-grandfather Alan Wayne (who we met in Batman: Gates of Gotham), and of the superstitions that permeate the city, specifically in the architecture (another important element from Gates of Gotham). As Batman analyzes all the facts at hand, the reality of The Court of Owls begins to dawn on him, and it all leads up to a fantastically constructed reveal that is as pulse-pounding as any film thriller.
Batman #3 is expertly crafted. The tension is built with each page and with each piece of new information we get about Gotham City’s past or The Court of Owls to the point where it’s almost unbearable. And just at the point when we don’t think we can take it anymore, that tension is released for both us and for Batman. Reading this comic book felt very much like when you’re sitting in a darkened movie theater and you can sense the whole audience tensing up waiting for the big reveal (you know, those audience members not too busy texting). It was a wonderfully exhausting reading experience and I mean that in the best possible way.
I continue to be impressed by Greg Capullo, an artist I have no history with up until now. He draws wonderfully dynamic actions scenes and he is one of the few artists in the New 52 who is actually drawing Bruce Wayne to look younger, which is nice. And I have to give him credit for the way he draws those masks that the members of The Court of Owls wear. They’re fucking terrifying and will be sure to haunt my dreams tonight.
Batman stories are usually at their best when there is a mystery involved. Batman is the World’s Greatest Detective, after all. What Scott Snyder has done is craft a long and drawn out mystery–he has apparently been leaving clues in his Batbooks for a while now–that is just now beginning to infold and that may have ramifications for Batman and his associates for the rest of the year. When you have a story like that and it all unfolds at the level of quality that it has been so far, what you have is comic book gold. As a reader you can’t ask for much more than that.
The Court of Owls have arrived. Batman’s rattled. I’m rattled. That’s a good thing.
The owls are not what they seem.