Review by: flapjaxx

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community think?

Avg Rating: 4.7
Users who pulled this comic:
Written by Scott Snyder & James T Tynion IV
Pencilled by Greg Capullo & Rafael Albuquerque
Inked by Jonathan Glapion & Rafael Albuquerque
Lettered by Comicraft
Colored by FCO Plascencia & Nathan Fairbairn
Cover by Greg Capullo & FCO Plascencia

Size: 40 pages
Price: 3.99

This was one of the best issues of the Snyder/Capullo run so far. “Night of Owls” has gotten off to a fun, spooky, dangerous start, and this issue set things up for the line-wide storyline in a way that was quite seamless and unobtrusive — a very positive way to start an event. While this issue didn’t have as much “meat” in it as certain early issues of the run (#2-#4 seemed PACKED), it accomplished what it had to do very efficiently, left the reader wanting more, and left us puzzling over what could happen next and how much the Court actually knows about Gotham if they didn’t already know that Bruce was Batman. (The Court’s motivation is still rather unclear to me, and maybe Snyder won’t address it much at all. For what it is, it’s fine as it is, I guess.)

It’s no secret that I’ve considered Snyder overrated. I still like his writing, but certain tics of his can tend to really pull me out of the story. I compare him to Bendis in that regard: a writer who is a great plotter, who has neat ideas I want to read… but in pretty much every issue there will be a spattering of dialogue (or in Snyder’s case monologue) that will take me out of the issue and have me rolling my eyes a bit.

But Snyder writes beautifully here. Of course, there is much narration on the first page, but it didn’t bother me because it was rather straightforward; it wasn’t too purple prose-y. In this issue it felt as if Snyder the monologue-obsessed guy got out of Snyder the plotter’s way, and out of Capullo’s way as well, and just let the story flow rather than interrupting it with a lot of interspersed narration boxes. (It’s not that I have a problem with narration boxes, it’s just that in the past I’ve felt that Snyder’s anecdotes often do more harm than good.) This time around, I just felt free to really get immersed in what was going on in the issue, and the sense of danger built and built and built throughout the issue, leading up to a great turn of events in which Bruce seems to have turned the tables on his assailants.

Before reading Batman #8, I saw one reviewer on another site who complained about Snyder’s repeated use of the “they SHAPE the city” motif. I thought, “Uh-oh, here we go again.” But then I read the issue and the phrase was only used twice, several pages apart. I didn’t have a problem with that. So, as a critic of Snyder who’s often trying to point out reasons why he isn’t as great as Moore or as deep as Morrison or whoever, I do have to admit that there are anti-Snyder people out there who at this point, maybe out of frustration at seeing him praised SO much, are reduced to grasping at straws. Personally, I try to take each issue in and of itself and judge it for what it is. Generally, I feel Snyder is improving as a writer, and he was never anywhere near “bad” to begin with, so I’m happy.

Capullo’s art, as always, was fantastic. The only reason it isn’t a “5” is because I didn’t love his rendition of the Bat-armor on his final page, and there were a few panels in which I couldn’t tell what sort of weird wooden staircase thingy Bruce was using as a weapon. Other than that, Capullo continues to choreograph things beautifully. The art in general is just wonderfully creepy, and the inker and colorist deserve so much more praise than they’ve been getting. This is consistently the best looking mainstream comic in a long time. I wouldn’t rank Capullo as high as JH Williams or Frazer Irving, but those guys can’t do monthly work, and Capullo can, and it looks almost as good, which is so impressive. I hope he stays on the book a long, long time.

The back-up story left a little to desire, but it was perfectly functional. It probably had to be in there. Since it was just a continuation of the main feature, I wish that Capullo had drawn it. But the back-up art, as it was, was okay enough.

I’m very much looking forward to the next issue, which will no doubt see some of the Court’s past filled in. I’ve gone from hesitantly liking this series with a lot of disclaimers to hesitantly liking it VERY MUCH with comparatively few.

Story: 3 - Good
Art: 4 - Very Good

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