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Off My Mind: Why the Court of Owls Will Make Batman a Stronger Hero

If he manages to survive, he will have learned quite a bit about himself.

How many times has there been arguments that Batman is the best hero around? He is a non-superpowered hero that has the means to take on anyone. It's often said that given enough prep. time, he will easily find a way to take on any threat. His contingency plans have contingency plans. There isn't anything he is not prepared for. Except his overconfidence.

When Bruce Wayne's life was threatened and signs pointed to the Court of Owl, Batman immediately dismissed. Early on, before becoming Batman, he investigated the existence of the Court. He was determined that they had something to do with the death of his parents. He was convinced that they did not exist and claimed there was no way they could be a threat today.

Batman soon discovered hidden Owl nests around Gotham City hidden in Wayne buildings between the twelfth and fourteenth floors. He exhumed the remains of his great great grandfather and discovered he could have been killed by the same type of weapon the current killer, Talon, uses. Investigating Alan Wayne's death further lead him to being ambushed by Talon and taken to a hidden labyrinth beneath Gotham. Batman stands nearly defeated yet this ordeal is guaranteed to make him a stronger hero.

== TEASER ==

It was Friedrich Nietzsche that said, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."

This will be something that Batman has to hope holds true for him. Batman has been beaten before. Bane did quite a number on him but the Court of Owls is putting Batman through a different kind of defeat. He has been trapped for eight days and hasn't gotten any closer to defeating his captors or finding a way to escape. He hasn't had any food and is on the verge of losing his mind, if he hasn't already.

The first thing Batman will learn is to not be overconfident. He already is meticulous when it comes to details. He thought he had all the answers and knew Gotham City better than anyone. While that may be true, there was still a wrench that was easily thrown into the mix.

As long as he can move forward and not become obsessive (or more obsessive) when planning missions, he will learn that even he is capable of making mistakes. It doesn't hurt to check things over again or even get a second opinion by someone else. No one is perfect and while he may come pretty close, even he can fail to see every outcome.

Another thing Batman will learn is the extent of his survival skills.

This isn't the first time Batman survives for eight days (he also spent over a week trapped during his childhood investigation into the Court). Batman goes through some crazy moments and you have to wonder whether they're all actually happening. The water in the fountain he keeps coming across could be drugged, as he suspects. It's highly possible he is hallucinating during this experience.

That means that not only is Batman surviving a physical struggle in the hidden labyrinth, but also a psychological one. He has to survive without human contact and food. He keeps coming across similar areas and knows he might not be able to fully trust his senses. Despite this, he continues to maintain his focus in searching for a way out.

The combination of the physical and mental warefare is enough to tear him down and he will definitely need time to recover. But as when he was a child, he will recover and become stronger than ever before.

The important lesson he'll learn is that the city isn't necessarily his. He doesn't know it as well as he thought he did. Dick Grayson put it best:

Look Bruce, no one knows Gotham better than you. It's your city. It's Batman's city...but it's also nearly four hundred years old. Which means, over the years, maybe it belonged to something else, too. Something big. Something dark.

There's no doubt that Batman will find the time to fully investigate the city as much as humanly possible after recuperating from all of this.

Will Batman survive this experience against the Court of Owls? If you read Batman #5, you know we might have the answer to that. But appearances are sometimes deceiving. This is Batman we're talking about after all. He will find a way to get through this and whoever faces Batman next better watch out. The Court of Owls has put Batman to the ultimate test and Batman will become an even tougher hero than he was before.

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Posted by JonesDeini

This issue was CLASSIC Vertigo horror!!! Never have I seen Bruce broken down like this.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

The funny thing is, at first I was thinking this whole story with the Court of Owls stunk a little too much of his battle with the Black Glove. But the more I read little tidbits like this, it leads me to believe that this Court far surpasses the lengths to which they are willing to break the Bat. Bane did it physically. The Black Glove under Dr. Hurt did it mentally. But the Court is poised to break the Bat in BOTH ways. Gosh, why didn't I make this one of my New 52 pickups? :(

Posted by ArtJoker

This series has been absolute Gold! storytelling at it's finest, The last issue of Batman gave me the chills and made my heart drop when I saw the last page. Props to Scott Snyder and crew on stories such as The Black Mirror, Gates of Gotham, and the current Batman series.

Posted by CanucksXVX

true dat

Posted by stormphoenix

wow this sounds really intresting i think i need to pick this up

Posted by Om1kron
@stormphoenix said:

wow this sounds really intresting i think i need to pick this up

It would be the best favor you did to your comic book reading experience to hop on this batman rollercoaster my friend. This issue seriously was intense. Greg Capullo is a mastermind when it comes to storytelling and layouts and this book is definitely a treat. 
Posted by BatClaw89

Batman has never faced something this close to home. His family, His city and His childhood

Posted by Man of Lengend

never seen bruce taken this far... love it... so excited to see how this plays out.

Posted by MisterParker

Well, that was a rather disturbing last page. It appears the Court Of Owls are very experienced in their work, being able to push even The Batman over the edge like this. Hopefully(big spoiler)

he's just hallucinating about the Talon stabbing him, allowing him to make a big comeback.
Posted by wowylied

Physicaly he would be dead not because he did't eat but by the fact that he is not sleeping.

You die faster by a lack of sleep time.

Posted by Dernman

Friedrich Nietzsche is an idiot. That which does not kill us does not always make us stronger.

Like if you go to war then comeback so traumatized you never get over it. >:p

Posted by Darthmat

@Dernman: Don't try to think about philosophical statements like that in such extreme ways. The saying has a lot of wisdom behind it, and while some extreme cases show it isn't a blanket statement, that does not mean Friedrich Nietzsche is an idiot.

Posted by Dernman

@Darthmat said:

@Dernman: Don't try to think about philosophical statements like that in such extreme ways. The saying has a lot of wisdom behind it, and while some extreme cases show it isn't a blanket statement, that does not mean Friedrich Nietzsche is an idiot.

Obviously I was joking when I said it. Which you can tell by the >:p I made and has no baring on my opinion of the man. I would most likely said something about any quote by any person posted.

Although if asked I'm not impressed.

Posted by RedOwl_1

I was amazed with Bruce's mental broke :O

Posted by Saren

I like Snyder and I like the new Batman series. But to all the people saying "I have never seen Batman pushed/broken down like this"........what? What exactly has the Court done that Bane and Dr. Hurt haven't?

Moderator
Edited by doordoor123

@Dernman said:

Friedrich Nietzsche is an idiot. That which does not kill us does not always make us stronger.

Like if you go to war then comeback so traumatized you never get over it. >:p

The quote is something to live by not something that happens regularly.

Im forgetting the word for "something to live by"

Posted by Dernman

@doordoor123 said:

@Dernman said:

Friedrich Nietzsche is an idiot. That which does not kill us does not always make us stronger.

Like if you go to war then comeback so traumatized you never get over it. >:p

The quote is something to live by not something that happens regularly.

Im forgetting the word for "something to live by"

Again I wasn't being serious. Did nobody see the >:p? Don't you think it would be out of place for me to put a evil smiley there if I was?

Posted by feargalr

I frakking love this issue.. its just.. so.. frakking good!!!

Posted by TDK_1997

The last issue was pure gold.Bruce has never been broken so much before but the only problem is that he was broken before from Bane and Dr. Hurt but he wasn't going down so much.

Posted by feebadger

I have only read the first two issues of this run so far and am loving it.

But when it comes to breaking Bats down, it seems that everyone has forgotten The Cult series from the 80's.

This story seems to have something in common with that tale as Batman was so broken down that he even leaves Gotham (before returning of course). The Cult wasn't a great Batman story but definitely an important one and if you like the idea of Bats being broken, you should pick it up.

Edited by DarthShap

Great run. Probably one of the best.

That being said, although Batman will overcome the obstacles he faces, I do not think he should overcome his overconfidence and obsessions. It is just part of the character. Batman: Absolution, without a doubt one of the best graphic novel out there demonstrated just how interesting a character it makes him. I do not like character development for Batman, especially if that ultimately makes blander in the end. Writers should not aim at making him closer to other superheroes.

Actually I am surprised Absolution was not mentioned, it is without a doubt the book of reference on the subject.

Posted by entropy_aegis

@CitizenBane said:

I like Snyder and I like the new Batman series. But to all the people saying "I have never seen Batman pushed/broken down like this"........what? What exactly has the Court done that Bane and Dr. Hurt haven't?

Nothing,people here have short term memory.

And how can the Court be hiding in buildings when Gotham was destroyed in NML? oh look a plothole.@JonesDeini said:

This issue was CLASSIC Vertigo horror!!! Never have I seen Bruce broken down like this.

I have lol,RIP comes to mind and so does Knightfall.

@RedheadedAtrocitus said:

The funny thing is, at first I was thinking this whole story with the Court of Owls stunk a little too much of his battle with the Black Glove. But the more I read little tidbits like this, it leads me to believe that this Court far surpasses the lengths to which they are willing to break the Bat. Bane did it physically. The Black Glove under Dr. Hurt did it mentally. But the Court is poised to break the Bat in BOTH ways. Gosh, why didn't I make this one of my New 52 pickups? :(

Um excuse me? he was begging Bane to kill him,seems like a mental defeat to me and the Black Glove put him though a greater physical test than this for now.

Posted by Outside_85

While a good story, it is neither unique (Morrison pushed him further than this) and relies too heavily on plot holes to hold water, as mentioned No Man's Land leveled most of the city and the maze somehow survives unscratched along with several of the assassins hiding holes...if I remember correctly Bruce even got into trouble during NML because he was apparently the only one that earthquake-proofed his buildings.

Also I don't know if its me, but considering this is Batman on Gotham it kinda rubs me the wrong way that the Court actually remained hidden for so long when Bats has to deal with the likes of al Ghul.

Posted by NaNdoKaveli

aquí en España habrá que esperar hasta mayo para disfrutar de esta joyita de Snyder y Capullo (editado por ECC Ediciones), pero tiene pinta de marcar un antes y un después en el murciélago, uno de los puntos fuertes de "Los Nuevos 52".

Posted by G-Man

@Outside_85: That's kinda the point there. The Court had 'nests' in all the buildings built through the fund established in Alan Wayne's name. That's why those buildings and nests could survive. As for the maze, how far below ground is it. Bigger question, does it actually exist or is this all in Batman's mind? There's also the question as to whether or not the Court actually was in existence all this time or was a more recent thing, trying to make it look as if they've been around.

Posted by Suprman

I can honestly say, I can't remember seeing Batman beaten down like this since Bane broke his back. And between the two, this is more brutal and damaging. Bane's attack was much more physical, this is both physical and mental and the mental is always much more damaging. I love this storyline and I hope stories like it continue in future Batman stories.

Posted by DEGRAAF

is it sad that out of this whole article the part that got me most interested is when Dick Grayson was speaking?

Posted by SpidermanWins

Well said

Edited by entropy_aegis

@G-Man said:

@Outside_85: That's kinda the point there. The Court had 'nests' in all the buildings built through the fund established in Alan Wayne's name. That's why those buildings and nests could survive. As for the maze, how far below ground is it. Bigger question, does it actually exist or is this all in Batman's mind? There's also the question as to whether or not the Court actually was in existence all this time or was a more recent thing, trying to make it look as if they've been around.

The Court is an old thing,Alan Wayne's murder and the upcoming crossover with All-Star Western kinda prove it.

@Suprman said:

I can honestly say, I can't remember seeing Batman beaten down like this since Bane broke his back. And between the two, this is more brutal and damaging. Bane's attack was much more physical, this is both physical and mental and the mental is always much more damaging. I love this storyline and I hope stories like it continue in future Batman stories.

Oh really? except Bruce needed a magic cure and JPV destroying his Legacy to return after Bane destroyed him and he was out for a year, in this case he'll be up and running in the very next issue.

Bane back attack was mental,the back breaker was only symbolic.It was supposed to show the breaking,Bruce was already broken mentally.

Did you guys even read Knightfall properly?

Posted by Outside_85

@Suprman: Well Bane drove him to a point of exhaustion while taunting Batman from afar, the firs time they met was when he ran into him in Wayne Manor and all of this was in the aftermath of Jason's death, still fresh in Batman's mind when he got hold of the Joker (where he was screaming Todds name while beating the Joker senseless).

@G-Man: Granted that is a reason why it could survive, but I am also thinking about the thousands of dead NML claimed during the quake an the period after it, quakes aren't an everyday occurrence in Gotham to my knowledge, kinda like hurricanes in New York, so what are the chances the Court survived that? But I have to wonder, if there was these secret floors in Wayne buildings and Bruce had them earthquake proofed...why didn't he check them out, with Gothams usual levels of crazyness (like Solomon Grundy being real), there could be anything lurking in there. But yes, there is this element of it all being in Bruce's mind (reminds me of one of those Mad Hatter episodes from the old series). So I guess it will revealed later on if it's a hallucination or not.

Posted by Red Rum

This may sound like a huge, nerdy cop-out, but I'm kinda hoping that the leader of the Court of Owls is really... Bruce's long-lost older brother Thomas Jr.

Edited by Or35ti

8 days damn... I don't know how the hell Batman is gonna come out of this but when he does he's gonna be the motherf**king man again

Edited by entropy_aegis

@Red Rum said:

This may sound like a huge, nerdy cop-out, but I'm kinda hoping that the leader of the Court of Owls is really... Bruce's long-lost older brother Thomas Jr.

That's Doctor Hurt who's buried alive,Morrison incorporated Thomas Wayne Jr in to the modern continuity in the form of Hurt,Willowood Asylum and the Boomerang killer ID were both acknowledged.

Edited by johnny_spam

Batman The Cult, Knightfall, RIP are all stories that show Bruce being pushed physically and mentally and spiritually yet surviving it is very odd that Bruce would not be more prepared for this kind of thing. I kinda find it hard that this one time will be different than others. This story does not seem new compared to others even in Leviathan Strikes Bruce was put in a endless maze breathed in a powerful drug that was confusing him while his allies were being attacked and cities were targeted and only his son killing the man behind it saved him. Now I am not one for continuity or believes it really works but the book does establish that Batman has been around for some time I find it weird that Bruce is only did not take it seriously considering everything he has already dealt with.

Posted by mynameis7

Scott snyder is the best thing to ever happen to batman storytelling, from the black mirror and now this...the court of owls this is absolute gold and anyone not reading this or is deciding on it, get to it! this is what comics are all about. This is all building up into something huge i think and batman will become a stronger person, a stronger detective and a stonger superhero from all of this.

Also, the covers are always a treat as well, i have got all 5 variants as well which are not as good as the originals but i want everything that this new volume of batman has to offer because this is going to be something so look at years ahead of us.

Posted by wxjunkie

I didn't think the quake of NML applied... Like everything else in the new 52...???

Posted by entropy_aegis

@wxjunkie said:

I didn't think the quake of NML applied... Like everything else in the new 52...???

Everything in batcontinuity is canon until stated otherwise.

Posted by MinkoAk

@doordoor123 said:

@Dernman said:

Friedrich Nietzsche is an idiot. That which does not kill us does not always make us stronger.

Like if you go to war then comeback so traumatized you never get over it. >:p

The quote is something to live by not something that happens regularly.

Im forgetting the word for "something to live by"

A motto ?

The issue was great, I hope the next one won't be ruined by Batman making a crazy comeback ! And by crazy I mean ridiculous...

Posted by G-Man

@entropy_aegis: I'm not saying the Court isn't an old entity. They could have been in operation all this time. OR, someone, descendent, whatever, could have more recently tried to resurrect the Court and wants Batman to believe they've been in continued existence. I did toy with the idea that they were behind Thomas and Martha's murder but Scott has always been pretty adamant that he didn't want to change their death.

Posted by Hector

@JonesDeini said:

This issue was CLASSIC Vertigo horror!!! Never have I seen Bruce broken down like this.

I never have either. This book is amazing!

Posted by The Impersonator

@JonesDeini said:

This issue was CLASSIC Vertigo horror!!! Never have I seen Bruce broken down like this.

Posted by Gordo789

geez you guys seem to love Batman so much maybe you should marry him! It's like another Batman article every day of the week.

That said, I can't wait to read these when the trade is out.

Posted by kartron

Tony, firstly, SUPERB article!!!

Secondly, I am bit concerned for Batman now, esp after reading # 5. He has to find a way out of the current situation. The ending of this issue was really horrifying and totally unexpected.

If, somehow the stabbing is not true, then, I agree with you that he will come out a stronger hero and may think over a bit about his "know-it-all" attitude especially about Gotham city (BTW love that Dick's quote up there).

Also if he comes out a winner, I think the court of owls will be now be added to the list of THE most popular & major story arcs of Batman.

Edited by kartron

@Gordo789 said:

geez you guys seem to love Batman so much maybe you should marry him! It's like another Batman article every day of the week.

That said, I can't wait to read these when the trade is out.

my friend, trust me, the current arc is so so awesome that I just couldn't resist to wait for the trade... And I cant stop picking up the issues!!! I will end up taking both issues & trade probably!! By not picking up the issues you would be missing on a HECK lot of superb stuff that are coming out in Tony's articles....

Posted by super2j

I have been wanting to start reading batman comics for a long time. But i have no idea where or what i should read. I heard about Bruce dying in the darkest night storyline(which i latched onto when i first heard about it bc it was an easy and clear what comic i should read and what issue i should start from). I want to know if i can start reading the storyline of batmans death, then his return and what ever else happens until this court of owl stuff. There is also the flash point stuff (that i also read because, again, it was clear what i should read, ie. The flash). HEEEEELLPPP.

Btw for Absolutely no reason, i just read HUSH, just borrowed bothe trade back volumes from the library and consumed them in two sittings.

Posted by RainEffect
@entropy_aegis said:

@Suprman said:

I can honestly say, I can't remember seeing Batman beaten down like this since Bane broke his back. And between the two, this is more brutal and damaging. Bane's attack was much more physical, this is both physical and mental and the mental is always much more damaging. I love this storyline and I hope stories like it continue in future Batman stories.

Oh really? except Bruce needed a magic cure and JPV destroying his Legacy to return after Bane destroyed him and he was out for a year, in this case he'll be up and running in the very next issue.

Bane back attack was mental,the back breaker was only symbolic.It was supposed to show the breaking,Bruce was already broken mentally.

Did you guys even read Knightfall properly?

Haha, Entropy, relax bro. You're bordering Bane-fanboy territory.
Posted by Solomonwreath

@doordoor123: is the word philosophy?

Posted by JonesDeini

@feebadger said:

I have only read the first two issues of this run so far and am loving it.

But when it comes to breaking Bats down, it seems that everyone has forgotten The Cult series from the 80's.

This story seems to have something in common with that tale as Batman was so broken down that he even leaves Gotham (before returning of course). The Cult wasn't a great Batman story but definitely an important one and if you like the idea of Bats being broken, you should pick it up.

You know what, this did remind me of the Cult.

Posted by dravenmort

DC has plans on making Earth 3 legit in the new 52. I would love to see that the Court of Owls influenced the creation of Owlman

Posted by abyss08

This was an amazing comic. This issue turned the first issue of the new Batman series quite literally on its head (if you notice how the comic actually turns upside down, like Batman's world has just inverted itself). In Batman #1, for instance, an overly boastful Bruce Wayne, stands over a model of Gotham City, while speaking about plans for its development, under the auspices of his corporation. But, here, the city and its past has claimed him; he is the mouse in the Labyrinth, hunted by the Owls and tortured by his own sense of increasing insignificance. To be honest then, I wouldn't necessarily want a return to the all-knowing superhero that is Batman. I like this lesson in humility; it can only offer more of that ever-present word which concludes the first issue of Batman: mystery.

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