29 Aug 2012

Wednesday New Comics Day - Night of Owls

This will be the last Batman post for a while – I hope.

The Court of Owls has been a new and interesting villain for Batman to face. This shadow organization has been in the shadows for so long that not even Batman was able to discover them until they attacked him.

After Bruce Waynes’ harrowing at the hands of the Court and their agents, the Talons, he is attacked directly in his cave. Alfred is trapped in a vault for his own protection and puts out a call to what Batman named ‘the Family’. The situation is given as dire and a call for help from Batman, known for always being prepaired, add gravitas to the conflict.

A war in one night for the future of Gotham, a Night of Owls.

The main crux of the story resides in the issues of Batman 9-11. Each of the other ‘Family’ comics has a single issue dedicated to the event. Some of them are a simple off the cuff tie in keeping a small level of connectivity between the books.

Batman and Robin stands out as a issue wholly given to Robin. If you’ve read my review of the Batman and Robin comic series you’ll remember that I’ve mentioned it should be a book focused on Robin and their relationship. In the issue in mention, Robin defends a reservist commander from a Talon and shows off his unique upbringing and his understanding of combat, death and being a warrior. This issue really highlighted for me the level of maturity that he has on some topics and the loss of childhood he is trying to regain. It also showed me what Robin can really do and what makes him completely different from the rest of the past Robins. No other Robin would have been able to do what he did; no other Robin could have fought the Talon the way he did.

Nightwing is the other stand out in the tie in. It takes up a pair of issues and follows the most recent story arc where at the Dick Grayson questions his place in the world and where he came from. Before the Night of Owls, Nightwing has really tried to be its own book and has pulled it off. Remeber that Nightwing is the only DC Sidekick who grew up to run his own team and own his own book. The relationship between him and the Talon's, the Court's undead agents, tries to overwhelm the plot but it seems Dick's grounded take on life helps to ensure that the plot point is present but not all consuming. The action is done so well and Nightwing is becoming a favorite book.

The rest of the books, I did pick up for the complete story, were ok. Batgirl has something neat going on, and the other Batbooks really tried to slip in the Night of Owls timeline, but Dave Finch fails to really grab the story. His Batman is great, but the 'new 52' seems beyond him in most panels showing some limit to his seemingling prefect style.

Now I’m trying not to spoil the series but let’s say the end battle is brilliant before the final twist and revelation of a 'new 52' Owl Man character. It's done so well, it's freaky for long time fans of comics and who know the DC universe. Look up Owl Man and you’ll find the evil version of Batman from another Earth. Also his name is not Bruce.

I’m giving the story arc a 5. It’s way above the standard fare for what makes up a cross over these days. The tie in books gets a standard score of a 3 with the odd individual issues of Nightwing and Batman and Robin getting an above average 4 and perfect 5 respectively.

So the trade paperback will be out soon and it will be worth the pickup. If you use a mobile device, I’d recommending buying the series in app and tack on the Nightwing and Batman and Robin issues to round out the experience without picking up every tie in book.