By: Matthew Rapier
For anyone who’s first exposure to DC is the New 52, or even for a lapsed reader that has missed the past few years, they might not be aware that the Court of Owls storyline precedes the much hyped reboot. Back in 2011 Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins worked together on a mini series called Gates of Gotham which explored the secret history of Gotham. It currently stands as one of my top Batman tales so it should be no surprise that I am fully invested in Night of the Owls.
This has been a long spanning event that was originally thought up by Scott Snyder and it continues through all the Batman line of books. Each issue takes place during the period of one night, but are spread out at different times through the evening. Detective Comics #9, The Dark Knight #9, Catwoman #9 and Batman Annual #1 have all synched together in bringing even more heat to the story. The Bat family struggles against a brand new threat and have to find a way to overcome the minions of the Court called Talon’s who seem to be immortal. The court reeks havoc at Arkham Asylum while Batman finds help in an unlikely place with Black Mask and Clayface in order to take out the massive threat.
With such a big story going through the various books you would definitely expect some to be lesser than others; that isn’t particularly the case here. I have nothing to complain about except for one thing and that’s with Batman Annual #1. Snyder introduces Victor Friese into the New 52 as he is being evaluated by a psychologist in Arkham. I won’t give away a lot for anyone who hasn’t read the book yet, but Snyder makes some pretty extreme changes to Victor’s mythology involving his mother and even some interesting choices about his beloved Nora. I feel like he could’ve been updated without such a radical change to the mythology as he basically isn’t anything like the old Mr. Freeze.
Other than that one disagreement with the story, it’s solid across the board. You have artists at their best Jason Fabok, Tony Daniel, David Finch, and Guillem March. March is such a perfect fit on Catwoman as his style brings out all the best in what’s fun about Selina. Finch and Daniel both write and draw their respective books and bring out a solid effort with each area. Winnick feels like he’s wanted to take writing duties with Catwoman for a long time as it all flows out smoothly. Despite my disagreeing with Snyder’s choice to completely change Mr. Freeze, he still knows how to write a damn compelling story that keeps you guessing as it goes.
Night of the Owls keeps chugging along as one of the best Batman stories in a long time and it doesn’t look to be slowing down even as it heads towards the finale.
Overall Grade: 8/10