The story starts off brilliantly as Batman takes the fight to the Court of Owls on their own territory. Per his usual writing excellence, Snyder creates a compelling and engaging set-up that leaves the reader eagerly anticipating the unmasking of the Court because they have come to be one of the most interesting and formidable foes Batman has faced in years.
Frankly, it was disappointing to see that the Court of Owls was found dead in what appeared to be a Jonestown style mass suicide. Snyder used a bait and switch on his readers by creating a rather anti-climactic moment. This just creates an uneven feel as the reader now waits for the other shoe to drop.
That other shoe comes in the form of one Lincoln March, Bruce Wayne’s one-time supporter who appeared to die last issue in an oh-so convincing fashion. It turns out Lincoln’s on the owl juice (the special compound that re-animates the Talons) and happens to be a major player in the Court of Owls conspiracy.
Color me even more disappointed as this issue continues its downward spiral into plotting hell. Yes, characters come back from the dead in comics all the time, but Snyder’s too good for this. Everything about this story arc had that new car smell to it. Sadly, it’s been masking the scent of a dead body in the trunk.
If reader’s were stunned to see Lincoln March at the heart of the conspiracy, then they must have felt ashamed they invested their time reading the arc only to find out that Lincoln is really Thomas Wayne Jr. Yes, you did read that right – Thomas Wayne Jr.!
Not only is Tommy Jr. a bit miffed about being left behind by the Wayne family after a failed murder attempt on a pregnant Martha Wayne left him laid up in a hospital where he was forgotten after their untimely deaths, but the whole experience has left him a few owls short of a flock.
Rather than be riveted by this twist within a twist of a twist, I’m bitterly disappointed. At this point, deal me out, and I’ll catch up with the series next story arc. I don’t want to see what comes next because it’s built on a clichéd house of cards.
Greg Capullo deserves credit for illustrating some fantastic work. My only qualm with his rendering of Bruce Wayne is the numb, self-absorbed look Bruce has that is most apparent with the lack of focus in his eyes. He has been shaken to his core, so that may be warranted, but he’s still the greatest detective in the DC universe. Make him look the part.
James Tynion IV shares credit with Snyder on a back-up story with Rafael Albuquerque that helps support and supplement the main story. Unfortunately, it feels tainted by the fan fictionesque twist ending.
Overall, I grade the writing and dialogue a solid A, but the plotting gets a D- because of the lack of originality. Capullo’s art gets a solid B. At the end of the day, I’m a big supporter of Snyder’s writing and craft, but would love to see him do the great things he’s capable of doing rather than use the a soap opera ending.