Batman 4 – 6
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists: Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion
Hello dear readers! Today we continue our look at what we’ve learned about the Court of Owls, moving on to Batman issues 4, 5 and 6. If you missed the first part of this discussion check it out here!
In Batman 4 we get a surprisingly deep look into the dark time in Bruce’s life shortly after his parents’ murder. He became convinced that Thomas and Martha Wayne were killed as part of a larger conspiracy, but despite searching obsessively then and at later times through his life, Bruce never found any evidence of the Court of Owls.
I know I’m supposed to be concentrating on information today, but the artwork here is just so beautiful. There’s a distinct change (as you can see in the picture above) when we enter Bruce’s memory: details get fuzzy, contrast is high. As Bruce finishes telling Dick this story about his past, we learn not only what he discovered but also how it shaped him as a detective.
Batman had been examining Alan Wayne’s bones, and found that Alan was probably stabbed to death in a manner very similar to the unidentified man at the beginning of issue 1. He heads into the sewers searching for the source of a residue he found on the bones, but while he’s there Talon finds him and traps Batman in the Court’s labyrinth!
We know all about the labyrinth from my closer look at Batman 5, but there are a few details I didn’t mention that definitely help us know our enemy, I want to look at two particular things here. The walls covered in photos tell us that the Court of Owls has been around for a very very long time, and have been using their labyrinth to drive people crazy for just as long.
Of course, it’s also possible that they just built the labyrinth recently, and it’s all a very elaborate trick to make it appear old. Then there’s the room full of coffins, which tells us that they’ve either been keeping their Talons after they die, or new Talons are being prepared to fight. Neither one of those options sounds good to me!
Finally, we have Batman 6, where our hero fights back against the maddening effects of the labyrinth. Here’s where we really get the goods. First Batman and Talon fight, and it turns out Talon’s quite the talkative little guy.
Now that’s a lot of information! Who else has been forever entombed in the labyrinth? Will we ever find out? I love Batman’s answer when he’s offered last words. They fight, and when Talon thinks he has the upper hand, he asks the Court what he should do with Batman. We finally get a good look at the Court of Owls in action, and it is chilling.
They’re like ghouls! Or owls, I guess; I may never trust owls again (put them on the list with cats!). I love how the top and bottom panels spill out over the edges of the frames, it really emphasizes that the Court is outside of the labyrinth they’ve put Batman into and brings out that overpowered feeling. This is probably my favourite page in the book – what is up with that child? She is extremely creepy, I like it.
Batman, of course, is not defeated, although he ends up in quite a tight spot and I’m a bit worried about him. The last page I wanted to share is the second-last page of the issue, and although we don’t get any specific information about the Court, I think it shows something very important.
The person (I hesitate to call her a “lady”) in the wheelchair seems to be in charge. Someone else, possibly the younger woman, is sentimental and wants to give Talon a chance to heal, but he’s “disposed of” in the river that Batman just escaped to, and that’s that. Besides, there are other Talons ready and waiting…
I hope that this look at the Court of Owls and what we’ve learned about them in Batman so far has been helpful, I know it was for me! Now I feel ready to take on the whole Court myself, as long as I’ve got Batman and his family on my side. In the next couple weeks we have wrap-up issues of Detective Comics, Batman and Robin, and other titles, as those story arcs conclude, and then on March 21st Batman 7 comes out. That issue will bring the Court’s first full assault on Gotham city, and apparently many secrets will be revealed – I can’t wait!