Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Review: Batman #9
Batman #9 By Snyder / Capullo
After a slow burning opening arc, Night of the Owls ramped into high gear last month and is showing no sign of letting up. Batman's opening arc ranked among one of the most critically acclaimed of D.C's new 52, and it is easy to see why here. In stark contrast to many other crossovers of a similar ilk, this issue was fast paced and packed with plot, with an impressive back up story that promises to provide a richer idea of the history behind both the Court of Owls and the Wayne family's involvement with them.
It is indeed, probably the richness of this story that stands as its strongest suite. Scott Snyder is delivering a story that works on a number of levels, providing glimpses at both Gotham's past and its present. The Wayne family's background has been mined in the past, but as someone not overly familiar with the history behind them this arc has provided a welcome look at Batman's family and how they have shaped his life. The Talon's are an endearingly creepy adversary for Batman, and make for some terrific fight scenes in this issue, but the sheer numbers of them has slightly diluted their effectiveness as individual enemies. Another aspect of the story that shines is Snyder's characterisation of Bruce Wayne, who is at his relentless best here. His script too is unshowy, but impossible to fault.
Greg Capullo's artwork is fantastic, and a perfect fit for the murky world of Gotham City. His layouts are not quite as clear as they could be yet, but his figures are superb and his general style is a pleasingly unique mix of cartoony and moody, packed with bags of detail.
As an overall package it is difficult to fault this issue. The Night of the Owls plot is moved forward at a brisk pace, without sacrificing the backstory that has made the arc such a delight to read. Even without the benefit of the other Bat titles, this works as a well rounded story in its own right, aided by an intriguing back up. This issue is that rarest of creatures - a $3.99 title that feels genuinely worth it.