So, we haven’t done many reviews of the comics coming out of the New 52, as they came out. Fortunately, some of these comics have been coming out in collections, so they’re a little easier to review now.

Title: Batman: The Court of Owls
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo (pencils), Jonathan Glapion (inks)
Published by DC Comics
Publication Date: May 2012

Available from Amazon.com

The Premise

A series of brutal murders have been taking place in Gotham, with several people being slowly killed with throwing knives, each with the symbol of an owl. The M.O. is that of the Court of Owls, a secretive group of sinister socialites who are said to have ruled Gotham from the shadows for generations. However, the Court of Owls is just an urban legend, aren’t they?

High Points

While this is part of the New 52, it feels like the best of both worlds. It’s something accessible to people who were following the series from before, and who skipped Flashpoint, while also doing a good job of setting up the new status quo for returning fans, and all without changing the characters too much.

Low Points

Batman’s psychological break at the end of the volume seems a bit much. The only Bat-villain who has done this much damage to The Bat, in my knowledge, is Scarecrow. To have the Court of Owls do so much damage this soon after their debut makes them feel less like an organically built threat, and more like they’re being shoved down my throat.

Scores

Originality: The idea of a secret society of sinister socialites who manipulate the city is a good one, and aside from the Low Point, it’s handled well. 5/6

Story: This burned too fast. Batman found the Court too easy, The Court broke Batman (albeit temporarily) too easily, and once The Bat escaped from their clutches they were a little too quick to go publicly try to terrorize the city. 3/6

Artwork: The artwork is very good, and builds a decent sense of dread as Batman gets closer to the Court of Owls. 5/6

Characterization: The established characters feel consistent with their previous incarnations, with the difference that Damien Wayne feels like less of a sociopath then he did in the old DCU. Also, the book’s new character, Lincoln Marsh, candidate for mayor of Gotham city, is interesting and sympathetic, though I suspect that Marsh is probably going to end up suffering some sort of tragic fate, like Harvey Dent. 5/6

Emotional Response: The investigative parts of the story felt intense & engrossing. I can’t say the same for the book after Batman is captured by the Court, as at that point it just feels like it drags. 4/6

Flow: They do some weird layout stuff with the book while the Court is futzing with Batman’s head that is kind of obnoxious to read. 4/6.

Overall: This is a good start to the series, and really looking forward to the next trade. 5/6

In total, Batman: The Court of Owls gets 31/42.