In the world of Batman, shit just got real!
"Court Of Owls" is one of those stories that is destined to go down in history as a premiere Batman tale. Writer Scott Snyder has crafted an arc with such depth that is constantly exposing new layers. Last issue, Batman’s home was invaded by the Talons, the assassination squad for the Court Of Owls, and while Batman #9 is rife with payback; it also alludes to a deeper and more startling mystery. Methinks once this whole jam is over, Batman’s life just might get a swift kick to the nuggets.
I usually save the art for the end of my review but Greg Capullo’s opening shot of super-armor Batman taking down Talons is just stunning. It jumpstarts the issue and the pace never lets up. Snyder has crafted a perfect balance between action and drama. Everything that unfolds does so as Batman beats the holy hell out of Talon killers everywhere. The Dark Knight is pissed. The Court Of Owls has stepped to him in his own home and that aggression won’t stand. Most of Batman #9 is high-octane smash-mouth fighting at a visceral pace.
Batman fights. Batman punches. The Talons talk shit and try to kill our hero but it’s not to be. I loved the super-armor aspect because it proves that Scott Snyder gets it. So often comic book writers raise Batman to a superhuman level instead of remembering that his humanity in the face of threats is what makes him such a hero. It’s too easy to have Batman defeat unbeatable odds just because “he’s Batman” (cough cough**Grant Morrison**cough cough). When Batman begins to feel like just another superhero, that which makes him such an endearing character gets lost in the shuffle.
Snyder takes on the fact that Bruce Wayne has megabucks and plans for everything. With this super-armor on, his ability to take on so many Talons fits right in with Batman not being superhuman. He’s outsmarted and outpunched his attackers. Greg Capullo’s art keeps right up with Snyder’s pacing. This issue, art wise, moves like movie. Capullo panel layouts and various focal switches create a sense of controlled chaos. It’s some of his best work to date.
When all is said and done with Batman #9, the identity of at least three major members of the Court Of Owls is revealed, though only to Batman. Scott Snyder smartly keeps the names from us and allows Batman’s reaction to dictate how serious it all is. The nonstop action ends on a dime in the last pages this book, but it doesn’t feel awkward, it completely works. The death at the end of Mr. March gives the scene emotional gravitas, which in turn stops the action cold without feeling off. Who are the names on the list? How does this affect Batman and the whole Batman Universe? I am waiting on pins and needles to see how all of this works out.
(4.5 Story, 4.5 Art)