Batman has found himself up against the Court of Owls, an organization that has existed for decades yet also one that Batman was certain didn't exist. Last issue dealt with Batman being trapped for over a week. He didn't have anything to eat and all there was to drink was water from a fountain he assumed could be drugged. As he moved around, he uncovered signs that the Court had indeed been hunting innocents, leaving them trapped in the Labyrinth until their death. Batman refused this until he was stabbed from behind by Talon.
Starting with the cover from Greg Capullo, you get a sense that some freaky things are going to happen. Opening the issue to the first page and your heart sinks. This isn't how we want to see Batman but you won't be able to resist continuing.
We've seen countless battle after battle with Batman triumphant in the end. They're always great battles but how many times has Batman been on the ropes as he is now? Not many. Seeing what Talon continues to do almost made my stomach turn. You can feel the disparity dripping off the pages. Batman thought he was prepared to deal with this new threat...but he turned out to be wrong.
Long time readers might scream that Batman can't be beat. He always wins. That's what gives this story an extra edge. We don't get to see Batman sink down to these depths. Will he win in the end? We've seen the cover to issue #9 and Scott Snyder mentioned that Bruce will try to win back the city so of course Batman has to survive this. That still doesn't make this any easier.
Snyder is also known for taking us to Freakytown from time to time. It happens more often in his other titles such as SEVERED and AMERICAN VAMPIRE but dang if there aren't some creepy scenes contained here. It's almost hard to believe this issue is only rated Teen rather than Teen +.
There is some action as well. Batman may have been skewered last issue but there is still plenty of intense action. Seeing more of the pieces to the Court of Owls and their plan is both fascinating and eerie. Even if you've read all the solicits to the coming Bat-titles, you still might find yourself uttering "Holy $#!&" when you get to the last page.
Nothing. We shouldn't even bother to have this section for this series.
BATMAN by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo is becoming an addictive read. You'll find yourself slowly savoring each and every detail on the pages and will regret when the final page arrives. Since Snyder and Capullo joined forces on this series in "The New 52," each issues has been amazing. I've found myself saying, "This is the best issue Snyder has written. There's no way he can top this." And then what happens? He somehow delivers an issue that's more of a killer the next month.
Batman and the Court of Owls has been a superb story arc. We're seeing Batman facing a danger unlike any he's faced before. There surprisingly has been some skeptics out there but when you see the new details emerge and go back and re-read the previous issues (yes, I keep the previous issues handy-dandy right next to my desk), you'll see how everything fits together.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, you almost get the impression that Snyder and Capullo don't like Batman. He's going through a lot and this issue gets a little dreary but you'll still be blown away. It's no secret I enjoy reading a good Batman story but having Snyder and Capullo at the helm makes it the perfect ride. Now to wait another 30 days for the next chapter...