The legend of the Court of Owls resurfaces and threatens powerful members of Gotham.
If you were to ask anyone what Gotham is, I’ll bet you that the answer would be Batman’s home. While the New-52 reboot was meant to be re-introduce the characters, Synder was able to do just that by crafting a captivating story that even would entertain the most seasoned of Batman readers. While the arc introduces a brand new villain as the primary antagonist, it manages to name drop a few of Gotham’s more popular villains like Mr Freeze and Killer Croc. Other than being nostalgic, these villains were able to characterize the New 52 Gotham in great detail.
Along with serving up an apt description of Gotham and her history, Court of Owls throws Batman into the heart of the dark city, Arkham Asylum. With such a formidable and powerful antagonist, Synder manages to equally develop the main characters of the series, Batman and Nightwing. This arc further showcases the true essence of Bat Family by showing them embracing their detective roots.
One of the smarter tools that Synder employed was the use of facial recognition technology. Not only does it allow for them to reintroduce the main characters to newer readers, it also provides a platform to introduce new players such as Lincoln March. It is worth mentioning that among all the supporting characters for this arc, Lincoln March underwent arguably the most significant development. At face value, March comes across as a typical politician with altruistic goals of making Gotham great. However, as the arc progresses, readers would notice that March has about the same about of screen-time as Alfred and Grayson which would prompt the idea that he could have a pivotal role either in this arc or in the near future. It is a true testament on his writing ability that Synder was able to not overstate nor understate March’s significance while maintaining Bruce’s prominence.
Another highlight of this primary arc was how the overarching story exploits not just Bruce’s defining moment, the witnessing of his parents death, but also taps on his familial heritage to expand on the nature of the Court. While the pacing of the arc may be confusing to some, the unique structure brilliantly amplifies the narrative in a way that only Batman can. This is explicitly exemplified during the climax where Batman is shown to be tortured in the Court’s Hideout. Both writing and artwork manages to build on each other into delivering an intense portrayal that any generation of readers would be fascinated by.
Even though this series focuses on Batman, Court of Owls also serves to show unity among the main members of the Bat Family, specifically developing the relationship between Bruce and Grayson. Dick is widely known just as Batman’s sidekick. Synder cleverly used the resurgence of the Court to give readers deeper insight into the first robin’s past while cementing the importance that Batman is for Grayson in the New 52 which is probably why the latter is constantly striving to get out of his mentor’s shadow.
Starting off strong, the series is sure to capture the attention of its audience and is on the track to be one of the best titles of the New 52 line-up.