Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, and FCO
The short of it:
Batman is been missing for a week, and the Bat-Signal hasn’t been put out once since. The entire Bat family is trying to pick up the slack, but there has been no sign of Batman himself. Why? Because he’s been in the Owls maze, hiding in the shadows, working his way through it, slowly losing his mind. Well, maybe not slowly, he’s more or less insane for the duration of the issue and it’s freaking awesome. The twists and turns of the maze are not unlike the ones taken by Bruce in the recent Batman Inc issue where he was in a maze crafted by Dr. Dedalus, but the fact that come the end of the issue you’re completely unaware of what’s happening and what’s just in his mind? Freaking awesome.
What I liked:
- There’s something about a well designed mindfuck that I can’t resist, and this book did it perfectly. I mean, this was something out of Morrison’s playbook. When the pages started to twist as much as the story I knew I was sitting in the midst of an instant classic.
- Despite there only being a few pages featuring Gotham outside of the maze, Snyder makes the most out of it, and Capullo gets across more with expressions and body language than any over abundance of words could handle.
- You think about Bruce descending into madness while reading the issue, but the fun part is that he’s already there when the issue starts. He doesn’t lose his sanity in this issue, he starts crazy and gets worse. I think that’s a first for the Bat.
- Greg Capullo really makes this issue, I mean, Scott Snyder has a homerun script, but it’s the creepy nature of the art that sells it. He enhances the creepy factor of everything, and really, that’s what makes it even cooler. Morrison’s labyrinth felt like a silver age element in a modern story, this feels like a horror story.
- I love the walls of pictures when we were given the closeups. The aging and dieing faces all in a line was a great trick.
- I love the narration by Bruce in this issue, he’s as aware of his own diminishing sanity as he is convinced that he’s still in charge of the situation. He thinks he’s figuring out a mystery that isn’t being unveiled at all. It’s so rare to see Bruce in this sort of psychological conundrum, and Snyder sells it perfectly.
- Robin at the end. Really the entire end, but Robin especially.
What I didn’t like:
- I wanted more.
- I don’t want to wait.
Maybe I’m just a sucker for mindfucks, but this issue had everything I could possibly want and I’m still not totally sure I know what happened.
Scott Snyder is totally making me regret only placing him at #7 on my best of DC in 2011 list, as after reading this issue I’m wishing I’d put him in the top five.
So fun fact, but I wasn’t completely sold on his Bruce Wayne before this issue. Sure, I’d liked Batman thus far, but I felt that Detective Comics featured far stronger work from Snyder. Not sure how long I’ll honestly be able to say that for after reading this issue though. I’m completely hooked.
How has Greg Capullo not drawn Batman? Or how have I not seen it? He’s phenomenal here! It’s this perfect mix of dark and gritty and super hero that is suiting what Snyder is doing perfectly.
Was the water drugged?
Why is this maze more menacing than Morrison’s? Is it the lack of silver age death traps?
Is the boy from the coffin the mysterious Owl guy with the knives?
Bane broke Bruce’s back, and I think this issue may still be the most broken I’ve ever seen the Bat. Freaking awesome.
Tags: Batman, Court of Owls, DC Comics, Greg Capullo, New 52 (DC Comics), Reviews, Scott Snyder