Pick of the Week

November 16, 2011 – Batman #3

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.8
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 87.8%
Users who pulled this comic:
Variant cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
B&W Variant cover by GREG CAPULLO

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

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.

Until now.

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 he 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.

Conor Kilpatrick
The owls are not what they seem.


  1. Best book of the new 52

  2. Isn’t the villian’s name talon?

  3. Conner you should go back and read Capullo’s run on X-force. When I hear his name that is what I first think of.

  4. Great review, tis my POTW as well.

    This run is shaping up to be something really magical. Whether this is just for one arc or being an overarching story, it doesn’t matter. This is a fun, action packed, and deeply disturbing history into the Wayne mythos. I really love it how Snyder can balance the creepy Court of Owls stuff with the fun moments like Batman using a magnet to dispatch the gang. Plus the art by Capullo? Money.

  5. “And I have to give him credit for they 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.”


    …Somebody, hold me.

  6. love,love, love the Twin Peaks tag line on the end. What is it going to take for a company to make a Twin Peaks comic?
    but back on point, Synder is the best bat writer since… shit, he might be the best bat writer. can i get an Amen on that?

    • He’s great but I don’t think anyone will ever top Frank Miller or Bill Finger.

    • I won’t give you an amen, but I will wave my hands back and forth. Could be an amen on the way, though…..

    • I think I’m going to have to add in Grant Morrison here as well, plus probably about a dozen others like Alan Grant and Dennis O’Neil.

    • like him or not, Loeb’s Batman stories have been great. The Long Halloween stands as one of my favorite Batman tales.

    • Lobeb, Morrison, Miller, have all made lasting impressions on the Bat myths, but I have to admit I have never been on the edge of my seat with a writer as I have been with Scott Snyder, that of course includes Tec ( Black Mirror ). Although he is not yet the best there is, was, or ever will be. He is on his way. A couple of years of this type of quality, and we will be celebrating the greatest Bat writer of all time.

  7. I wasn’t very familiar with Capullo’s work before this and I had no idea how he could possibly follow Jock and Francavilla’s work on Detective, but this has been awesome. I knew it would be good since Snyder is involved, but didn’t realize how much I’d like Capullo as well. I wish I’d known last year when he was at the Boston con.

    I’ve loved quite a few of the new books, but Batman is easily my favorite book of the relaunch. It isn’t even close.

    • Capullo’s Gotham cityscapes are wonderful. My favorite scenes in this issue has to be the Bat-Glider ones. Just great stuff!!

      a new 52 POW that’s not a #1 issue! huzzah!

  8. iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 82.0%


  9. Great review connor it’s going to be interesting to see exactly how this will knock bruce off his game and how he regains his composure.

  10. This was okay, but I think Snyder’s tale is made up of very stale elements that seem kinda lifeless to me. I like the Owl cult, but all of the scenes around that final one seem like scenes I’ve seen too many times before, and Snyder is doing nothing to make them interesting. The mayoral candidate is so bland I doubt anyone who gave this book 5 stars even remembers his name off the top of their head. I like the series overall, mostly due to Capullo (who is ROCKING it), but Snyder doesn’t impress me that much. He sure knows how to put a lot of unnecessary exposition and tedious anecdotes in EVERY issue he writes, though. For some reason every character he writes, no matter who they are, always seem poised to turn into a lecturer on random scientific facts, or to divulge a wistful childhood memory of theirs. If Snyder could refrain from indulging himself in that kind of writing so very often, I would like his comics a LOT more, because aside from his annoying tics, I think he’s good.

  11. Hats of for the Twin Peaks close.
    Also hats of to Snyder & Capullo.

  12. Bummed I won’t be getting my comics till Friday because I’m really looking forward to this week and this book. Stupid Parent-Teacher Conferences…

  13. Great book. I have issues 1&2 in floppy’s and was going to wait to get 3 digitally but my Kindle Fire came in today and I had to buy something to test the reader and got this. Awesome experience. Great book. 5 stars all around.

  14. I have picked up all my books last night and have only had time to read three of them last night. I have not gotten to this one yet agian however; my question is. How in the heck do we already have a POW on a Thursday? Did everyone read all of their books already for this week in one day? Maybe I have to many books to read or maybe everyone else needs to read a few more before crowning a POW. Just think about this fellow IFanBoy readers and commentors; some readers read 1 to 3 books, 4 to 8 books and some even more per week. I am not saying anyone is better than anyone else or maybe some of us only have enough money for one or two books a week or a month for that matter. So someone has read a lot more books so there are more options and someone reads less there is only less options for POW.
    Maybe, just maybe; I am crazy and really no of this makes any sense and I will never comment on this again promise! I do have Batman as one of my books so when I read this by this weekend it could very well be my POW anyway.
    Enjoy my freinds and thanks week in and week out for the extra entertainment and discussion when it comes to comics. IFanBoy thank you for your web site it is a huge part of mine and probably others comic world. We get a voice and we get all kinds of cool previews and extras. Great work!!
    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and because of this site and all of my fellow readers and commentors it will be a little better this year; just for the amount of smiles and laughs I have gotten from you all at this site in times of need.



    • Well I usually read my favorite books first and if something immediately grabs me I make it my POTW, and it usually stays that way. But sometimes a book I read later on in the week will surprise me and i’ll just go back while i’m rating my books and change it.

      I feel like a lot of people do this, or maybe they just have more time than you and I do, or maybe they just read more quickly

    • Well, you also aren’t an editor on a comics website, which may be why your POWs take longer to decide.

    • @Flash923 well you need to just read FASTER (jk)!
      I love when my online LCS emails me solicits for the NEXT weeks books on the Weds evening that I just got my current issues! Like Tom Katers on said , slow down and enjoy your stack (I’m paraphrasing)

    • it sometimes takes me through the weekend to read less than 10 books. Take your time, enjoy your comics…its not a race or a job…unless your job is to be an editor and post POTW’s on this site on wednesdays. =p

  15. I enjoyed Morrison’s Batman… but I think I’m enjoying this more. Because while in Morrison’s, Batman had still come prepared for any eventuality, he clearly isn’t ready for the Owls.

    Three issues in and this has all the makings of a legendary story.

    • Really, the Court of Owls seems like the EXACT sort of thing Batman would prepare for, which made me sketchy of the idea when it was first announced. But with each issue, I’m sold more and more on the idea. Snyder gives Bruce the exact amount of hubris to show how he might overlook something like this.

    • @Blargo The end of your comment is spot on. This is a young Bruce, so naturally he’ll be more arrogant, there’s a line when he’s talking to Lincoln and he says’s “Now.If there really was a Court of Owls don’t you think with my roots in this city, I’d have learned they were real long ago?”.

      Anyone enjoying the tension/suspense elements should check out Severed if you’re not already reading it. This just beat it as my POTW.

  16. This is an incredible issue. One of the best issues of Batman I’ve read since the early B&R issues. We got to see Batman as a detective. I always enjoy seeing that.

  17. Batman wandering through the empty lost floors was such a great horror movie moment that it absolutely creeped me out.

  18. Yea I also have to wait until Friday to get my books.I’m really looking forward to this one!!!

  19. Very good 5 star book. My only quibble is that I wishes the artwork were gloomier and moodier for such a dark story. I think this is probably a coloring issue.

    • Just want to say HUGE thanks to all you guys – I LOVE iFanboy – they gave me my first review ever! – and being potw is a tremendous thrill. For all of us on team BATMAN, seeing the supportive comments here warms our (black and twisted) hearts 🙂 And I promise, the best is yet to come. Wait til we get to the end of 4 and then 5 and 6. Never been more excited for issues. S

    • Loved issue three, Scott. Batman has become my favorite book.

      That’s saying a lot, since I’ve been a Marvel zombie for decades!

  20. Anyone see the Clown on CBR give this 2.5 out of 5.

  21. Fine review, Conor, of a worthy PotW. I especially like that Scott, Greg and co delivered a gripping tale without resorting to sex and gore.

    My bet is that Lincoln is either a member of the Court of Owls, or just a nice guy with a bit of a crush on Bruce.

  22. I am surprised that people have not heard of greg capullo. He used to draw spawn so drawing batman would be a piece of cake for him considering his spawn art was waaaaay more detailed than it is on batman. They should make this owl dude the new owl man lol!

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