It doesn’t seem like that long ago that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo began their journey together but here we are, nearly a year later, with Batman #11 concluding the Night of the Owls and the first arc to Batman’s second volume.
As revealed last month, all this time, hiding behind the Court of Owls and their unfrozen mummy-ninja-assassins was an even larger mystery that Bruce Wayne has a brother.
Dresses up like an Owl.
And might not be his brother.
Which actually really excited me. Even though teasing us with Wayne Family secrets seems to be all the rage nowadays this reveal was crafted really well and in the context of a rebooted universe in need of original villains [kinda] Thomas Wayne Jr. as Owlman seemed like a good as fit as anyone. Not to mention I’m a sucker for all the Wayne Family history stuff.
Which is why it’s too bad this issue left me underwhelmed.
With the amount of momentum behind the story at this point and then having to wrap it all up in a few pages I doubt there was anyway for this issue to wow us the way the previous ten have. So while it’s intriguing that the Court of Owls ended up committing suicide before being caught and that the real bad guy was Bruce’s (maybe) evil brother it’s close to the opposite of intriguing when the brother pretty quickly goes missing after a big explosion (a convenient-for-the-plot classic) and we find out that the evil organization is still at large just momentarily “hurting.” Sure, this leaves more toys in the Bat-chest to play with another day but it gives hardly any resolve to the actual story. I mean come on, we all know those frozen talons underneath Blackgate prison won’t stay frozen forever right?
And while Greg Capullo’s designs are always beautiful to look at, the scale I had expected from the art wasn’t all there; the colors seemed a bit muted (probably having to do more with the nighttime setting than anything else), the dialogue seemed to keep the panels full, and the biggest building in Gotham comes crashing down in the matter of four small panels – and I’m sorry to be nitpicky here for a moment but spare me, if a building of that size goes down Batman really heads home to call it a night and the Gotham skyline doesn’t reflect the massive destruction it would have caused?
Like I said, nitpicky, I know. I didn’t hate any of it, really. I enjoyed it, just not as much as I had expected to.
That plane scene though was pretty crazy. A high moment of the whole series for me.
Where I may have been underwhelmed in the beginning and middle the moment at the end between Bruce and Dick may have made up for it. I might be one of the few people that actually enjoyed All Star Batman and Robin, so I like a Batman who’s as cold as ice, but I equally love the family moments and really appreciated Snyder’s sensitivity to it here. In an issue where Bruce fights off his potential actual brother it was a nice touch for it to end with Bruce and someone who I imagine he sees as a brother at this point in Dick Grayson.
As a single issue this isn’t the best of the series, but how does that saying go, “it’s about the journey, not the destination?” Part of what has made this creative team so fun to watch is that even an issue that might not be on exact par with the rest is still heads and shoulders above most of the other superhero books on the shelves right now and this is just a part of the web they’re weaving, it is a conclusion of sorts but it’s also a bridge to the next thing this team has in store for us. None of which this has made me any less excited for.
Next time Lincoln March/Thomas Wayne Jr./Owlman and the Court of Owls, next time!
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|The battle between Batman and Owlman was indeed pretty epic and we get a very cool ending between Bruce and Dick||Pretty standard stuff; the evil guy starts a fight, losses, no body to be found in his own wreckage. A more cut and dry ending than I expected.|