Saturday 14 September 2013

Batman and Robin #23.2 Court of Owls Review

Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Jorge Lucas

This was an issue that I wasn't sure whether I was going to get or not, as I've never really been a fan of the Court of Owls. I have however been interested in the Talon series and plan on getting the first volume so thought I'd get into the mood with this.


As Gotham City falls apart without the presence of Batman the Court of Owls make their preparations  for surviving this predicament, and how to rebuild if necessary, as they have always done in the past.


This was overall a decent issue, but it didn't appeal to me too much. James Tynion IV did however do a good job with the writing as the story itself was very well structured. It did however feel to me slightly unnecessary, as although Talon readers may feel differently, seeing a reason why it is necessary, for a relatively new reader, who only knows of the Court of Owls through the Batman series it felt unnecessary, at times even being slightly confusing. It was however overall very gritty and suspenseful which I liked as the one thing that I liked about the Court of Owls when they were first introduced at the start of the New 52 was their tone, and the atmosphere they added.

The art in this issue was very good, and although it wasn't anything too spectacular I rather enjoyed it. Jorge Lucas is an artist that I've not seen in a while as having enjoyed some of his work on previous Marvel series I was rather happy to see his name attached to this issue, and overall I wasn't disappointed. The detail in his artwork was very high, as although it was slightly rough at times, I felt that it worked perfectly with the tone of the issue, making it even more gritty. I also loved the layouts as they were very dynamic and impactful, especially on the fourth page when a Talon appears. Lucas also did a great job of showing character emotion through this issue, and his artwork as a whole was fantastic.

This issue would start with a man trying to round up his family and leave fearing an attack from a Talon. This was the perfect introduction you could have had for this issue, and given the tone, and the drama that the Talon added made me fairly confident that this would be a good issue. That however wouldn't be the case, as the rest of the issue felt rather confusing, and a bit random. I did however enjoy this sequence, and especially considering it managed to balance two different tones at once, having the panic from the father, and the innocents of his son.

The story would then move to the Court of Owls in the present, with Gotham in the midst of a huge riot. Although this would turn out to be a good set-up for the flashbacks in this issue, overall it felt rather unnecessary as although we got to see this Court father and daughter making their way to safety it didn't seem to add much in the ways of future development. This may however be seen very differently from someone who follows Talon, and the end does tease the future of the Talon series, but bar that it felt like it's only purpose was to set-up the flashbacks.

Speaking of the flashbacks, besides the slightly random nature of them they were one of the best parts about this story. I especially enjoyed how they managed to connect to the present events, showing how the Court has managed to get themselves out of trouble, and in general survive. Bar this connection I still feel that the flashbacks were slightly random, as the events were completely different, feeling more like the Courts history summarised, whereas I would have much rather have the focus on on one or two of these situations in more detail.

Final Verdict

This wasn't one of the best Villains Month issue so far, and in my opinion felt a bit unnecessary. I have however not been a follower of the Court of Owls, so Talon readers may find it to be very enjoyable. The issue itself was also very gritty and suspenseful, being brilliantly structured, having amazing artwork that suited the tone of the story. Due to all this I'd recommend the issue to anyone who'd either been following the Court of Owls in Talon, or a fan of the group in general, but for new readers I'd probably recommend caution as it may not be the best issue to introduce them to you.

Rating: 7/10

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