Review: BATMAN #6

Batman #6

Batman #6

Written by Scott Snyder
Pencills by Greg Capullo
Inks by Jonthan Glapion
Colors by FCO
Letters by Richard Starkings
Cover by Capullo & FCO

22 pages / Color / $2.99 US

DC Comics

“Hurt him…more.”

Out of the mouthes of babes.

Say. You know who loves observing Batman’s murder in a subterranean operating theater? …RICH PEOPLE!

A little podcast callback there. But it’s true. In this month’s issue of Snyder and Capullo’s harrowing psychological thriller, the Court of Owls looms high over the brutal beating of a bat. As the masked enforcer Talon pulverizes Bruce to a mealy Wayne chuck, the unforgiving labyrinth reveals itself as a modern gladiatorial arena. We’ve seen this kind of death match before in the pages of DC comics, but this instance is heightened by Batman’s extreme fatigue and fragile mental state. The Court, creepy enough with their stoic, Eyes Wide Shut masks, appear veritably monstrous through Batman’s hallucinatory lens.┬áCapullo maneuvers expertly through the harsh realities of the situation and Bruce’s bursts of fevered imaginings, careful to tow that line with perfect restraint.

The comic itself has returned to its normal, upright position since last month’s visual spiral–a device I quite enjoyed–but there’s an even stronger turn here. Bleeding and broken, Bruce has seemingly reached the last of his reserves. But the once taciturn Talon’s mounting trash-talk inspires something other than defeat in our hero. Sticks and stones may break his bones, but words will only anger the Bat. Bruce rallies. It’s nothing short of glorious. What’s so great about this turn of the tide is that it’s hardly the end. It also transcends a stirring character moment to become a pivotal narrative shift. Almost a metafictional comment for anyone waiting to see Batman finally rack up a win against these damned owls. It’s like Sam Jackson clutching a snake, but the bravado’s well-deserved.

Children 12 and under get in for free.

Not that the Court concept or the owl metaphor have grown at all tired. But it was important for Bruce to draw some blood. His faculties remain solid. And the Court has transitioned from myth to very real threat.

Snyder is smart to answer questions with even deeper questions. Talon was a problem for Batman, a stick in his craw. Then he became an outright force of mortal danger. The threat escalated until it was no longer a threat. Batman skirted death in the process. Now there’s an even bigger concern, one that hasn’t fully revealed itself yet. The Court doesn’t have a face yet, but we’re starting to see individuals. The minds behind the conspiracy. We’ve also seen that there’s more brawn on the way. It’s a compelling tease for the upcoming Night of the Owls event, one with just the right scope for Gotham. Too often the Bat family of books are tasked with answering a cosmic threat from the larger DCU. This year, the baddies befit the belfry.

Maybe I have Downton Abbey on the brain–okay, I definitely do–but I heard Dame Maggie Smith’s voice in those final pages. I think we’ve got the makings of Snyder’s scariest villain yet. Which is, ya know, saying something.

 

Story: 5 / Art: 5 / Overall: 5

(Out of 5 Stars)

 

 

Comments

  1. I’m literally going to get this within the hour. However:

    Seeing the preview last night and showing the page you just provided….God damn Snyder is fucking killing it!

  2. Best Batman in a LONG time.

  3. You can read the last line in this book like Emperor Palpatine. It’s fantastic.

  4. Just finished the issue minutes ago and i totally agree: this is a classic run in the making (or if you include black mirror it already is).
    the court of owls is as creepy as it gets and even got creepier now that we have seen it. i wasn’t much of a capullo fan before, but his worn down batman looks amazing. this won my pick of the week easily and that means something, when you go against daredevil.

  5. Damn it! I was totally planning on hitting the LCS over the weekend. Looks like I may have to move that schedule up a notch.

  6. Great review, PMont. Can’t wait to read it.

    Is it weird that when I look at that cover, I desperately want to reach out and help Bruce?

  7. Another great review, Paul – really glad to hear Bruce is opening his ledger (damn those owls!). Picking my copy up in a matter of hours.

  8. I don’t typically read any Batman, but I’m thinking I must change this soon.

  9. Man…rich people have all the fun…

  10. Can we all agree Scott Snyder won comics? For life.

  11. great review. want this baby on my iPad !

  12. this is is great. you can feel every punch, kick and throw thanks to that awesome art. like watching UFC ringside. this is gonna be tough for Pick of the Week between this issue and Daredevil (assuming…).

  13. Didn’t like this very much. I was very much into it for awhile, until Batman was getting attacked by those Owl Kids. He’s been in a maze for 9 days, with no nutrients of any kind, mentally and physically beaten down by powerful foes. How the hell will Batman get out of this one!?

    Well, he looks at a picture of an old man and powers up like a fucking DBZ character, apparently.

    It completely negates all the danger and tension this and the last issue had. Batman suddenly goes from completely beaten down to punching guys through walls. Its absolutely STUPID, on multiple levels.

    • You’re entirely welcome to dislike this book, but I’d be REALLY hesitant to pull the string on “stupid” in a book about a wealthy orphan ninja detective in a suit with a big cape and pointy ears.

    • They were breaking down his mind with the labyrinth, Batman’s brain is his greatest weapon. Seeing the picture centered his thoughts and brought him back from the brink of insanity. If you don’t want to believe that, well…. I mean it’s Batman.

    • The thing to remember is: how much of what we’re seeing is actually happening? A lot of what we’re seeing is meant to be what Bruce is seeing – it’s very hallucinatory. In that, it’s also metaphorical. Not your typical comic book narrative. This could merit a page-by-page discussion, I’m sure someone has one on the web somewhere.

  14. The art was fucking awesome.

    • Capullo is killing it, to quote Ron. This is probably the greatest work of his career. Expert mix of action and surreal creepy hallucinatory craziness.

  15. I seem to remember a lot of fanboys talking mad trash about Capullo six issues ago. “His art isn’t for me, ” and all that nonsense. Don’t have much to say now, do you?

    • I wouldn’t classify “His art isn’t for me” as ‘talking mad trash.’

      Per se.

      (For the record, I’ve been into the art since issue #1).

  16. Snyders run on Bats is dynamic….full of serious scope and menace….the man is nothing but consistently Good..

  17. Whoever this Bat-Man character is, he’s a pussy getting beat by some owls.

  18. I’m not really into this Batman book. I like the one where he fights steroid bad guys. This one has too much talking and stuff in it.