After nearly a year the Court of Owls storyline is finally over. It is in this issue that even Snyder’s writing prowess is unable to escape the annoying trope of the fight monologue that explains the villain’s motivations. There’s also a scene with an airplane where I really couldn’t suspend my disbelief considering how grounded the series has otherwise been. Finally, the backup just couldn’t match the excitement it has had in the past three issues.
Of course, don’t take that to mean this was a bad issue. It’s just a comic book denouement and in comics we can’t just have the villain die without understand what drove him. So we get the verbal diarrhea fight scene. To Snyder’s credit the monologue is quite powerful and full of metaphor. (For example, between this and his TEC run, it’s pretty clear that Mirrors are important to Scott Snyder) He also does a great job of moving the fight all over Gotham to keep things interesting for the reader while the alleged Thomas Wayne Jr explains his motivations.
Speaking of last issue’s reveal, I think the best thing that Scott Snyder does is the way he toys with the reader regarding whether or not Owlman truly is Thomas Wayne Jr. In a conversation near the end of the issue and also in the backup story the conclusion end up oscillating with the proof and negation of proof. Whether or not Snyder returns to this topic during his run on Batman, I think he’s done a great job seeding the possibilities for future stories. It also seems to be something he likes to do with Batman stories since The Black Mirror also seemed to have a similarly ambiguous ending.
Between the end of this issue and recent developments in Batman and Robin it appears that with the New 52 some of the writers have decided to revisit Batman’s motivations. Sure, he fights because of the injustice of the death of his parents, but should that be sufficient for how much he’s turned his life around? Batman has gained a new perspective on Gotham and his place in it and that character growth was needed to help grow him into a more modern character.
Greg Capullo continued to do a great job with the art on this issue. He seemed to be a prodigy as he is great at fight scenes, facial expressions, battle wounds, and closeups. There was no time in the main story where his art took me out of the story and reminded me I was reading something drawn. Rafael Albuquerque was also very good in the backup, but his art is much more artistic and while I truly appreciate his art work, it definitely feels more like art and reminds me more often that I’m reading a comic book. Capullo’s art sometimes tricks my mind into almost seeing the scene as if it were real life.
With this arc over, I think the next issue is the perfect time for new readers to jump on. If you’ve been reading my reviews and thinking that Scott Snyder’s run on Batman sounds awesome - you’ll want to jump on before the next story arc which will feature Joker.