Comic Review -- Batman #5: Face the Court / Scott Snyder, Greg Ca
Originally posted on my blog, The Comics Cove, not too long ago...
Oh, wow. Nice cover. Batman, lying on the ground, covered in blood, trying to pull himself away as the Talon bears down on him, daggers drawn and dripping. The scene is only partially lit and suggests a partially enclosed area. This looks deliciously grim!
Over a week has passed, with Batman stuck in the Court of Owls' underground labyrinth. He's delusional, dehydrated, and keeping to the shadows, where he believes it's safe and they won't find him. Vacillating between fear and rage, illusion and reality, he sees picture galleries of their victims, as well as cameras set up for himself. Finally, seeing a picture of himself as the latest victim, he is stabbed viciously from behind by the Talon. The Bat-signal is defaced, prompting Robin to both demand and plead that it be replaced quickly.
The fact that Batman has been trapped for longer than a week by the Court, with no trace, is a pretty big deal. That they've reduced him to hiding in the shadows, pushed to the edge of his faculties and seeing illusions shows that, whoever they are, they're no pushover group of adversaries. Something big is going on here, and I'm both horrified and thrilled by it.
I did enjoy the forced perspective mechanism once Batman drinks the presumably drugged water in the labyrinth, where the reader has to turn the comic sideways, then upside down to continue the story. It's a good mirror of Batman's twisting perceptions and reinforces the suggestion that no one--especially Batman--knows where this is going or how it will turn out. Very nice and timely use of what could have been a very gimmicky and distracting trick.
Capullo's obsession with the eyes of his characters, which last review I mildly criticized, actually serves him very well here, where shadows and darkness mask all but the most extreme of emotions. Seeing Bruce's eyes, or specifically, one eye under the torn cowl really drive home just how desperate the situation is, and really works in favor of the narrative.
Overall, this is an eerie and pulse-pounding thrill ride, with an ending that makes you drop your jaw. While I'm sure he won't die--he never does--I can't wait to see what kind of trouble Batman has to deal with in the next installment. A wonderfully surreal and nerve-wracking read. Highly recommended.