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By: Adam Basciano

Red Hood and The Outlaws #9 - Cover

“NIGHT OF THE OWLS” continues here! The Court of Owls is attacking, and the last person in the world you’d expect to answer Batman’s call to arms is the RED HOOD!Also featuring MR. FREEZE! BLACK CANARY, BATGIRL, KATANA and POISON IVY risk their lives in Gotham City to battle THE TALON and The Court of Owls! NIGHTWING faces another villain claiming to be THE TALON at City Hall as the Court of Owls’ plans go into action – but will he be able to figure out what’s going on before it’s too late?” (DC Comics)

Birds of Prey #9 - Cover

This review covers the Night of the Owls Batman crossover continuing in Red Hood and the Outlaws #9, Birds of Prey #9, and Nightwing #9.  So, with two former Robin’s and Birds of Prey, I’m starting to believe that Gotham really does belong to birds and not Bats.  Red Hood and the Outlaws both feature fantastic character moments.  Any time Roy Harper or Starfire question Red Hood’s motives for helping with the Owl problem,  He clams he’s doing it for Alfred, but I think he protests too much. Underneath the hate, there’s still a connection to Bruce Wayne.  There’s also the interesting reveal that Mr. Freeze was duped into working for the Court, and it’s his technology that helps them resurrect their Talon’s.  In Nightwing, the action continues, as does the character drama.  Badly wounded, Dick Grayson is constantly taunted by his great-grandfather as a failure to the family.  William Cobb plays on Dick’s insecurities of always being in Batman’s shadow.  Through flashback’s we learn William Cobb’s motivation for joining the Court of Owls.  He’s driven by loss, after being separated from the love of his life and his child at the hands of her father.  He also wants to increase his status in Gotham. This almost makes you feel bad for the guy…almost.  Birds of Prey measures up in the action department, but lacks any real character developement and suffers because of it!

Nightwing #9 - Cover

Four artists contributed to these three books.  Kenneth Rocafort on Red Hood and the Outlaws, Travel Foreman on Birds of Prey, and Eddy Barrows along with Andres Quinaldo.  The art really highlights the all out war going on throughout Gotham City during this owl infestation.  There’s a fantastic page of Red Hood jumping from one ice-covered building to another, with a nostalgic image of Batman and Alfred in the background.  That coupled with his rendition of Mr Freeze, and I almost forgot about that dreadful film from 1997.  Under Travel Foreman’s influence the Talon looks even more creepy and threatening.  Kyle Higgins continues to impress with his work on Nightwing.  Though, he may have outdone himself with the splash page of Nightwing and William Cobb crashing through the window with the city streets below them.  Although when Andres Quinaldo took over for Eddy Barrows near the end of the issues, there was a panel where Nightwing looked like a whimpering gorilla.  Other than that, all art was near perfect.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #9 - Batman Flashback

From both a written and artistic point of view, there is no doubt that collectively, this is the toughest hurdle the Bat-Family has yet to face.  The action in all three issues is relentless.  However, Red Hood and the Outlaws and Nightwing offer much more personal stories for our main characters. With Birds of Prey being the weaker link of the three, these issues don’t reach the perfection of previous installments of this crossover.  Even still, I can’t wait for more.

Overall Grade: 8/10