New 52 Batman Vol 2: City of Owls COMICS RETROSPECTIVE: The pain for Wayne continues


Written by: Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, Pencils by: Greg Capullo, Jonathon Glapion, et al, Colours by: FCO Plascencia, Dave McCaig, et al.


Bruce Wayne: billionaire, philanthropist, playboy. By day, he’s the CEO of Wayne Enterprises, a company his parents founded for the betterment of Gotham City. A city which has, since their untimely death, spiraled out of control: crooked police, mob rule, and the growing emergence of criminals with a propensity for the theatrical. By night, Bruce and his aides are the protectors that Gotham need, they are the "Bat Family" run by Batman himself.


The Court of Owls suffered a loss at the hands of Batman when he defeated their head assassin, the Talon. In response, the Court “wakes up” all the remaining Talons, sending them out into Gotham to take vengeance upon the Batman and reclaim their city. They send them all after everyone who has shaped the city: the city controller, the city deputy sheriff, the Supreme Court justice, even Lincoln March. Bruce has to fight them off before he’s determined to end this. Following the clues back to the Court, he then discovers that they were hiding more secrets, and that maybe things of the past have now come back to haunt the Wayne name.


For anyone who has followed my reviews, I have a lot of respect and admiration for Scott Snyder. His run on Batman has now become legendary, and his current Image Comics book Nocterra has been picked up by Netflix to become a tv series. He has talent when it comes to writing, seen here with such a reversal on the classic comic trope. To anyone who has read many comics, it’s become obvious that when a high-level character is introduced, or one that has a deep emotional connection, that they will eventually become the antagonist for the hero of the story. This is flipped when the Talons are able to kill their targets during a rather tense issue that splices Bruce’s confrontation with them and the high ranking officials being picked off, which ends with Lincoln March’s death.

The book starts to show Bruce as the emotionally fragile and isolated figure he has become, after the Owls captured and tortured him. He is however, forced to trust the Bat Family when the Court start to target Gotham’s figureheads. One thing I really enjoyed about this book from a writing perspective was the inconclusive nature of the ending, where neither us as readers nor Bruce Wayne knows the truth about the claims in the book, and it seems like we may never know. Not everything in life is tied up neatly, so to have this kind of ending in a book was realistic and yet also satisfying.

When it comes to the artwork, the pencils by Greg Capullo are beautiful. We are treated to a large final page on each issue that is stunning, ranging from a close-up of an eye with Gotham’s reflection, to a one on one battle between the final Talon and Batman. Consistently of a high standard, I was engrossed in the book mostly from beginning to end. I say mostly as between issues 1 and 2 in this collection we have a small segment that ties into the story. This is where we get the mixing of Batman fighting the Talons and the government officials being killed. This is such a drastically different piece in regards to art that it threw me off a little. Going from Greg Capullo’s light pencils with dark colours to Rafael Albuquerque's heavy pencils and light colours was such a big contrast. The story was good and it was necessary to understand the impact of the night, however the art style was so different from the last 8 issues that it was hard to connect with.


Overall, it was another fantastic issue by the team, despite my personal issues with the change in artwork, it was still a beautifully presented book that was written well, with intensity. The team are continuing on a high and have now given the Dark Knight a memorable and terrifying new villain, which looks to have the staying power that many new characters don’t.


The New 52 Batman Vol 2 – The City of Owls collects issues #8-12 and Batman Annual #1 from DC Comics, and is available from your Local Comic Shop as well as comixology


 

Andrew Carr was blessed to grow up watching the animated series of Batman, X-Men, and his favorite, Spider-Man.This started his dive into the comics world, which resulted in meeting his amazing cosplaying wife Imogen. They live in England with their Sinister Six dogs.

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