By: Adam Basciano
“Broken and beaten, Bruce Wayne has retreated from Gotham City – the city of Owls – to Wayne Manor. But no place is safe, because the Court is about to strike at the heart of city, and nothing will ever be the same. Be there for the start of the battle for Gotham City’s soul. With the Owls descending upon Gotham City, the fate of the city’s leader rests on the shoulders of Nightwing! But as our hero embarks on a mission to rescue Mayor Hady, just how do Cameron Kane and turn-of the-century Gotham City factor in? Plus: the untold story of William Cobb – the Talon who’s hunting Bruce Wayne!” (DC Comics)
If these two issues are considered prelude issues, then readers are in for one hell of a story going forward. Having done all the set up in previous Batman issues, both Batman #8 and Nightwing #8 thrust readers right in to the action. What’s interesting is that both books mirror their titles story’s to date. Batman, much like the previous issues seems overwhelmed by The Court of Owls, as they have invaded his home, just like they have his city. Snyder does allow Batman to gain the upper hand a little more in this issue over previous installments. Kyle Higgins meanwhile, cradted a perfect balance between past and present, while paralleling Dick Grayson’s life to that of his great Grandfather, William Cobb! I’m a sucker for origins and the flashbacks are filling that role. It’s interesting that William Cobb and Dick Grayson have almost walked the exact same path in life. They’re both vigilante’s, but their stance on killing designates one as a hero, and the other as a villain. While these are only two issues in a large crossover, the scripts by Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins were so in tune with one another, it felt like the work of one writer. That bodes well for the rest of the story. I’ve read crossovers that feel so disjointed and uncoordinated, not even a chiropractor could realign them.
Art duties were handled by three different artists on these two prelude issues. Greg Capullo and Rafael Albuquerque worked on Batman, while Eddy Barrows draws Nightwing. These are 3 contrasting art styles, but I didn’t care, because I was so focused on what I was reading and seeing. There’s great imagery in both books. The scene with Bruce battling the Talon’s on the roof of Wayne Manor, looks like a James Bond scene, and it’s drawn to perfection by Capullo. There is so much to praise about Barrows’ work on Nightwing. I absolutely loved his period piece flashback of William Cobb’s past. The colour palate really enhanced the sketches. The Talon beheading one of his victims was appropriately gruesome. My favourite image in the issues is the point of view eye lense shot, followed by Nightwing swinging through Gotham City. Both issue end with great splash pages of the heroes in peril. More please….
I know it’s very early, but if this level of storytelling continues, Night of Owls will be a classic Batman story before it’s even over.
Overall Grade: 10/10