REVIEW: Batman #3

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Now that we’re a few issues into each of DC Comics’ New 52 titles, KevinMLD and I thought it was a good time to focus on some of the books we’re both following beyond Jim Lee and Geoff Johns’ Justice League. I read the first issues of a number of books in the spirit of trying something new (as I’m not an avid DC reader) and Kevin went out and read most of them (he’s a DC die-hard). In the end there are only a few titles that we both decided to continue to follow. Today we’re talking about Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman. It’s hard not to like Batman, but with four ongoing titles featuring Bruce Wayne each month there’s certainly a range of quality. This book is tops among them for both of us and brings some great new threats to the table.

In what we’re calling “No 52” Week, as DC is taking a break from their relaunched ongoing titles for November’s fifth Wednesday, spoilers for Batman will follow.

PTB: I’ve heard nothing but good things about Scott Snyder’s run on Detective Comics and had high expectations of him on this title. While the “Dick Grayson: Murderer” mystery in issue #1 did nothing for me, I’m really glad I came back for more.

KevinMLD: When we discussed that first issue, I tried to stress that the “Dick Grayson: Murderer” mystery was not going to be the focus of the series. I continue to enjoy Scott Snyder’s work with Batman. He’s a star. It’s been a long time since DC had a legit new writer on one of their top books with star potential.

PTB: Moving away from the alleged Grayson murder, the book is now focused on a shadowy enclave that’s existed in Gotham for centuries called the “Court of Owls.” We learn a lot more about them here and I loved the way Bruce’s detective work was presented both visually and through his conversation with Alfred as he investigated the “missing” 13th floors of Gotham’s skyline.

KevinMLD: I think Snyder particularly nails Alfred’s voice in this issue.

PTB: Myths and superstitions have also become a focus in the title, particularly in this issue. Incorporating something new into the legacy of a character with the publishing history of Batman is a daunting prospect but Snyder has done a good job with it so far.

KevinMLD: One of the interesting elements of this entire series is its focus on architecture. Just prior to the launch of the New 52, Snyder co-wrote a mini-series called Gates of Gotham that focused on the Wayne family’s role in Gotham’s evolution into a modern city and also featured a killer with ties to the 1800s. I have to think its not a coincidence that these two tales are being told in a row.

PTB: It’s impossible not to think of Nite Owl from DC’s Watchmen when considering the Court of Owls and their avatar, Talon. I realize Nite Owl is not part of the DC Universe proper, but thankfully, the design and concept of this new character are very distinct and stand on their own from DC’s best known owl-themed vigilante.

KevinMLD: With all the recent talk about Watchmen 2, can we really be so sure Watchmen didn’t take place in the New 52 DC Universe? I don’t really think Talon looks much like Nite Owl anyway, and it’s not like Nite Owl is the only DC owl-based character. The Crime Syndicate of America traditionally features a Batman analogue called Owlman. In fact, a version of Owlman even replaced Batman as a member of the Outsiders recently while Bruce was believed to be dead post-RIP.

PTB: Greg Capullo is a big part of what has kept me reading this over the other Bat-titles and his art for this series has been fantastic. I’m a huge fan of David Finch, but his previous Batman: The Dark Knight series drove me away from his Batman and issue #1 of his New 52 series didn’t lead me to seek out issue #2.

KevinMLD: You’re missing nothing over in Batman: The Dark Knight. I’m ready to drop it and I never drop Batman books. It’s such a silly book.

I really like Capullo’s work here. It reminds me a bit of Ed McGuinness.

PTB: That’s a fair comparison. The cover to this issue finally hits the notes I’ve been looking for from Capullo’s Batman. The first two covers were decent, but didn’t really capture my attention with a memorable image. Even though this one depicts a scene not found in the book, it’s awesome.

KevinMLD: The cover is killer. I also love the masks worn by the Court of Owls. Very creepy.

PTB: The portraits Batman was finding on the hidden 13th floors of Gotham’s skyscrapers were absolutely creepy. I hope that aspect of the story persists going forward.

Read more about Batman and DC Comics’ “New 52″ on MyLatestDistraction.

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