The Court Of Owls’ storyline takes place inside the New 52 and is the debut arc of Scott Snyder’s and Greg Capullo’s run on Batman. And what a groundbreaking start to a new era !
The Court Of Owls is one of Gotham’s urban legends. This secret society has supposedly been running the city from the shadows. But it is just a myth…right ? Well, Batman is about to discover that he may not know Gotham as well as he thinks he does.
What makes The Court Of Owls such an immersive and effective tale is the fact that the reader and Bruce Wayne/Batman are on equal grounds. We learn about The Court Of Owls at the same pace as Bruce Wayne and are kept in the dark when he is. As such, there are a lot of highly identifiable moments. Batman thinks of himself as a prince of Gotham and his ego is harshly put to the test in this volume as he learns that there is another side of the city he was unaware of (or, rather, was sure did not exist).
The way The Court of Owls unravels is simply brilliant. Though it is the first time we are introduced to this society and its secrets, it does feel like it was always part of Gotham’s history. Each issue ends on a highly effective cliffhanger and it is almost impossible to put the book down before reaching the end.
The great storytelling is enhanced by Greg Capullo’s magnificent artwork. The action sequences are fantastic and the violence is almost palpable. The horror elements emphasize the overall creepyness of the story. Some panels are, for lack of a better word, insane (both in what happens in the story and the artwork itself). The best exemple is the labyrinth sequence, where Batman discovers the Court’s nest. I was on the edge of my seat : a perfect mix of horror, mystery and action.
I deliberately did not write a detailed synopsis of the story because I strongly believe that The Court Of Owls needs to be experienced to grasp the scope of its greatness. From the storytelling to the artwork, The Court Of Owls is a must-read, whether you are a comic reader or not. It is creepy, intense, action-packed and filled with mystery. It is simply a thing of beauty.