Batman #11: The Court of Owls Smackdown

The finale of the entire Court of Owls saga is right here, and it's a hell of a fight.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Batman #11

Ladies and Gentlemeeeeen!!

               LET’S GET READY TO RRRRRUMMMMMBBLLLLEEE!!

 

Yes, ladies and germs, this is it, the brawl to settle it all, the fight to make it right the rumble in the (urban) jungle. In this corner, our beloved Batman. He’s battle-scarred, tired, and busted up, but in his favor, he’s pissed off and he is Batman! The challenger, dressed like Owlman, is none other than Lincoln March, the former mayoral candidate, current psychopath and all around member of the Court Of Owls. He’s crazy, koo-koo and has the ability to regenerate. This makes killing him damn near impossible. So, in the Octagon (rather Gotham City), who will reign supreme?

There’s been so much focus on the (awful) Spider-Man flick that many of us forgot Batman has a brother. Well, not a brother, but a nutbag with a convincing case. Lincoln March, now dressed in his own costume and calling himself Owlman, is about to let old Bats in on why he’s so pissed as well as explain how he could be part of the Wayne family line. During this explanation, March will also try to beat the holy hell out of Batman.  That’s it, that is the sum total of Batman #11. Batman and Owlman fight and the Owl lays out his nefarious plans.

With so little prose happening, the easy thing for this issue would be to just make it a slugfest. Let Scott Snyder sit back and drink some cocoa while artist Greg Capullo handles issue 11. Nope, not Snyder. He wants words to fly along with fists. Issue #10 gave us the big reveal, but issue 11 explains what has been revealed and why the revealer has revealed it. No time for simple biffs, pows and whams with Snyder on the team.

Lincoln March believes that he is the son of Thomas and Martha Wayne. That after a car accident he was left in a home to have his wounds tended to. Martha Wayne visited him often and all seemed well. Until the Waynes were shot and the place Lincoln was held went south. Years of abuse and torture went by as Lincoln waited for his brother Bruce Wayne to come get him. He never did. Instead, the Court Of Owls came and the rest is history. At this point, Owlman doesn’t want keys to the manor or to come for a BBQ. He wants to outsmart, outfight and finally kill Batman.

Snyder is no dummy, he never drops a smoking gun that Lincoln is Bruce Wayne’s brother; he just allows enough clues to keep the idea out there. Owlman is here to stay in the New 52 Universe. He’s going to be a big baddy for future Batman stories, even if his fate seems a little vague at the end of issue #11. Trust me, Owlman is going to see a return and it’ll be a big one. I know there are those who hate the idea of Bruce Wayne having a brother or even the hint of a brother.  I understand your pain, though I don’t agree with it. To me, this new slant on Batman is the first real use of the “New 52” playground.

Art wise, well, Greg Capullo blasts the hell out of issue 11. Though the words do flow, nothing takes center stage like the action. Batman and Owlman crash through walls, cut through floors, bust through ceilings and knock down doors! It’s like the DC version of Run-DMC when these two throw down. Every panel jumps off the page. The movement Capullo brings forth is staggering. When the two are plummeting towards the streets of Gotham, you feel the velocity.

It’s rare these days for a writer knows when to let the artist take over. Snyder’s plot arc is maintained, but Batman #11 is Capullo’s baby. I like his vision for Owlman’s new costume; it’s not easy to make an owl suit look badass. By the time the fight is done you will be physically exhausted. The art is that engrossing.

The end of the Court Of Owls story arc is not without controversy but things that really expand a medium usually are. Snyder has, once again, blown open the dark corners of the Batman mythos and added depth to a world that was already incredibly rich. Snyder and Capullo prove that they not only understand Batman, but also storytelling, sequential art and comic books as a whole.

9

(4.5 Story, 4.5 Art)