“Shocking discoveries lead Batman deeper into the mystery of the Court of Owls and its secret and bloody ties to both Gotham City and the Wayne family. But an even deadlier threat awaits Batman: a trap set hundreds of years ago, far beneath his city. The war for Gotham’s soul begins here!” (DC Comics)

Reading Scott Snyder’s run on Batman so far is like having a birthday once a month on Wednesday.  The excitement of the surprise you’ll find waiting for you grows with each passing day.  Make no mistake, this issue is a gem, ranking as my favourite issue to date.  To be fair, I’m behind on my reading of this title and the way Snyder and company are going, that opinion might change. For readers who aren’t taking the Court of Owls seriously, Snyder makes a point to reinforce their validity. Bruce is forced to sleep off his latest round of injures, with a higher than normal dosage of morphine or something of the like.  Last time I’ve seen Batman’s physical vulnerability on display like that was when Bane broke his back.  Translation, $#^+’s getting serious!

Dick Grayson and the others have noted that Bruce has seemingly let this case get the better of him emotionally, more than any other case.  There’s a reason for that.  Since Frank Miller’s “Batman Year One” Batman’s origin has gone relatively untouched, but with the inference that Bruce believed that the Court of Owls may have had a hand in his parents death, adds emotional weight to this story without invalidating “Year One.”  In my opinion, Scott Snyder and Batman combined are the best The New 52 has to offer.

Greg Capullo delivered his best work to date also.  His Batman seems more refined.  The chaotic explosion to open the issue would make Michael Bay drool like a horny teenage boy watching Megan Fox in “Transformers”, and the flashback sequences are as evocative as the one’s seen in “Memento.” In my review of last issue, I was less than flattering towards the cover.  This cover was a big improvement over last.  It really sets the mood, and is a solid precursor to the cliff-hanger ending.

This story has barely scratched the surface of what’s to come, yet I’m totally enraptured by it.  I really hope Snyder and Capullo are settling in for a nice long run on this title, because the character and the fan base demand the best creative team, and that’s exactly what we have.

Overall Grade: 10/10