Batman: The Court of Owls: written by Scott Snyder; illustrated by Greg Capullo and others (2011-2012): DC’s line-wide reboot, the New 52, has yielded a number of lengthy storylines right out of last year’s gate. A case in point would be the Court of Owls storyline in the regular Batman title. It occupied the first 11 issues of Batman along with an annual and a crossover into all the Bat-titles, and its repercussions are still being felt.
A lengthy ‘Everything You Know is Wrong’ story, The Court of Owls posits that Gotham City has been run from behind the scenes for centuries by a cabal of the rich and powerful called the Court of Owls. They even have their own nearly unkillable enforcers, the Talons, to wipe out any opposition. Batman has remained unaware of them until the storyline begins. Then, he finds out that they’ve been behind many of Gotham’s woes — and possibly killed his parents.
Snyder keeps things moving along quite briskly, and Capullo’s art is a really pleasing take on the Dark Knight, clean-lined and filled with shadows. The story starts to bog at the end, undone by too much length and a few too many surprises.
The real villain of the piece, an obscure character introduced in the 1970’s and then quickly consigned to the Now Let Us Never Speak Of This Again Bin, is a bit underwhelming. Nonetheless, there are a lot of good Batman moments here. If only DC were still capable of producing standalone stories instead of endless event storylines. Lightly recommended.