By: Adam Basciano

The issue starts off with a bang, literally as Bruce Wayne comes crashing through the observation deck of the old Wayne Tower perilously falling through the sky.  Cut to 24 hours earlier as Batman foils a criminal plot on the Bat-Cycle, and is back at the Bat-Cave in time to perform an autopsy on the murder victim from last issue.  Batman discovers the markings on the knives that killed the victim can also be fond on his right wisdom tooth.  The symbol is an Athenian Owl that belongs to a group known as The Court of Owls, an old Gotham legend.  The scene shifts to the observation deck of Old Wayne Tower.  Bruce Wayne is meeting Licoln March the mayoral candidate from last issue.  Their meeting is interrupted by someone dressed in an owl costume.  After launching throwing knives into the prospective mayors chest, the mysterious villain throws Bruce through the glass.  The two fight in mid-air and Bruce’s intimate knowledge of the city allows him to save himself, while his assailant falls to his death. In the ambulance the dead guy in the owl costume isn’t so dead after all.  In fact, he kills the EMT’s and commandeer’s the ambulance.

Scott Snyder continues to solidify Gotham City’s place as a character in the Batman Universe, rather than a setting.  Last issue Bruce intimated that he viewed Gotham as a friend, but in issue two Snyder further deepens the connection between Bruce Wayne and Gotham City. Bruce’s great-grandfather Alan Wayne over saw construction of the original Wayne Tower.  His intention was for the tower to be a symbol that the people of Gotham were cared for and protected.  That’s exactly what Bruce uses the Batman identity for, so in a sense Bruce is carrying on a family legacy.  I was shocked by the straight forward reasoning for how Dick Grayson’s blood got underneath the fingernails of the murder victim.  It was so simple that it was a pleasant surprise.  The choice of villain is interesting.  A group takes up the guise of a creature of the night, just as Bruce does, but their missions differ.  While the Court of Owls aims to rule Gotham, Batman serves to protect it.  This conflict of interest should set up an intense build up to a confrontation in future issues.

The art from last issue was good, but had some inconsistencies.  Greg Capullo’s art for this installment gets full marks.  Each character looks crisp, clean and incredibly detailed.  My favourite action scene in the book is Batman taking down those criminals on the Bat-Cycle.  There’s something inherently captivating about an action sequence on two wheels.  Maybe because it calls to mind scenes from “The Dark Knight.”  What is impressive about the art in this issue is tha amount of detail in the two  big action sequences.  Last issues art used shadows to effectively drive home the type of city Gotham is presently.  This issues use of light signifies the hope for Gotham City’s future.  This couldn’t be more apparent in the scene where Bruce and Lincoln meet, as the sunlight seeps through the observation deck of old Wayne Tower.

As a fan and a reviewer this issue did everything I hoped it would and more.  It builds on the positives from the first installment, while the aspects I found to be negative seem to be gone.  Scott Snyder is one of the most consistently good writers at DC Comics.  That’s something that in recent years I’ve only uttered about Geoff Johns as far as DC Comics is concerned.  Greg Capullo’s take on Batman improves with each page and if that keeps up he’ll win me over completely.  I have nothing to nitpick about with this issue, so all that’s left to say is bring on #3.

Overall Grade: 10/10