We start with a flashback sequence showing Bruce’s great great grandfather, Alan Wayne, at the end of his life and suffering from what appears to be senility and dementia. Of course there could be more to this story, as he is constantly screaming about owls chasing him, and being everywhere at once. We cut back to the present and find our hero deep in the sewers, working his interrogating skills against the gangs that control the railways underground. Having already spoken to 4 of the 5 gangs, he now turns his attention to the Whisper Gang. Funny name indeed, until you find out that they call themselves that because of the metal plate soldered to their face. One they wear for a year to keep their silence. Of course they prove no match for Batman. After some persuasion Batman is unable to gather his much sought-after intel and leaves the rails.
Back at his cave he uses his advanced speech analysis detector to no avail. After a lengthy discussion with Alfred about owls and his family history, he learns of the fate of Alan Wayne. After developing an obsession with owls he fell down a manhole and met with an accidental death, or so the official report would suggest. Bruce Wayne then visits the mayoral candidate, Lincoln March. They discuss the attack that happened a few days ago and Lincoln confides that he has been receiving threats to drop his bid for mayor. He thinks that the new plans that Bruce has for Gotham has brought out this secret society and now they want to put an end to it. Lincoln warns Bruce to be careful, that they are always watching.
Bruce contemplates the Court of Owls, and through deduction he decides to see if they truly live up to their namesake. For owls are a rare breed of bird that don’t build their own nests, but instead take over abandoned nests. He follows this hunch to a pay-off and discovers that many of Wayne’s buildings have a vacant 13th floor, due to Alan’s paranoia. These abandoned floors serve as the hideout for the Court of Owls. Now Batman must race across town and find where they are hold up at, before the clock reaches the 13th hour!
Another solid issue for a fascinating series. I’ll admit I wasn’t bowled over with the first issue, but after the second and this latest installment, I am really looking forward to where this story goes. It’s nice to see that the majority of the Batman titles are tying together as well. Snyder is really building up a new mythology and new world for Batman, while keeping it apart of the old world as well. His Batman here is confident in his ways and never second guesses, which is good. Alfred, as his trusted butler, really shines through as well; as sarcastic as ever. Lincoln March is a good addition to the story as well, giving good weight to a political climate that has always been shaky in Gotham. The back story to Gotham’s early years is a nice touch too, showing parts of the history that haven’t been touched on much in the past. A definite buy for Batman fans, and still pretty accessible to new readers, although I would say pick up issue 2 as well.
The artwork is steadily increasing in quality. From the first issue to now, each issue has gotten better. Capullo is a great artist and renders some impressive artwork this issue. There are some great shots of Batman this issue, with many panels at the beginning being some of my favorite. The coloring is again superb and the shadow work is used effectively.
All in all this series has won me over and I eagerly await the next issue.