The old saying that a man’s home is his castle is particularly true when you’re Batman. Stately Wayne Manor isn’t just a sprawling home where Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth reside. It’s also the resting place of the Batcave, the one place where Batman feels secure. So, naturally, The Court Of Owls has sent a small army of their Talon assassins to attack Wayne Manor and kill Batman. Comic author Scott Snyder’s wonderful "Court Of Owls" story arc is drawing to a close, and Batman #8 is the beginning of the end.
Snyder once again shows just how strong his storytelling skills are. Rather than just have an attack on the Batcave, he’s tied the assault into the subtext of his story. All of Snyder’s work on "Court Of Owls" has been about shaking Batman’s foundation. The one thing our hero was sure of was that he knew Gotham City. He knew the streets, the allies, the glamorous side and the underbelly. Gotham is Batman’s town and nobody knows it like he does. Except he doesn’t know it, not as well as he thinks, and discovering the Court Of Owls and the secrets Gotham keeps has rattled Batman to his core. The parallel between that attack and the attack on the Batcave is easy to spot. Court Of Owls has shaken the Dark Knight’s foundation, now they will destroy his peace of mind utterly.
If issue #7 of Batman was a talking issue, one where dialog and plot took precedence over action, then #8 is where Snyder pulls out all the stops. This issue doesn’t let up from panel one to the end. The Talons come, they come in great numbers and they come with one goal – to end Batman. It’s cool watching Bruce Wayne kick ass without the bat suit on and it’s always awesome when a writer lets Alfred step up to the plate. As the Talons attack, both men play a central role in fending them off. While Bruce takes the whole mini-army on, Alfred uses his extensive computer skills to try and find out what the Court Of Owls master plan is.
Alfred’s discovery is a doozy. Pretty much everybody who matters in Gotham is on a list to be executed on the same night. With the Dark Knight tied up using his ultra armor to cut down the Talons in his own home, Alfred gives the call out to the entire Bat Family to help stop these assassins. The final conflict between the bats and the owls will be spread out over multiple issues, so I’m going to lay bets it’ll be pretty grand. Once again, we’re left with a real cliffhanger in issue #8. One of the best aspects of the Court Of Owls arc has been how unpredictable it is. From issue to issue, there is no clear-cut answer or resolution, which is rare in comics.
Helping Scott Snyder’s genius is art from Greg Capullo. I’ve been iffy with Capullo’s work in the past, but issue #8 is stellar across the board. Outside of Capullo’s original style with his pencils, he absolutely nails the motion of Batman #8. Snyder’s story never stops moving and Capullo does the same with the art. He also does some great work with tension by laying out the panels evenly and then blows the page up with a great splash page or action shot. With so many others of the reboot series failing by issue 8, Batman remains flawless.
(4.5 Story, 4.5 Art)