My Game of Thrones journals were so well liked I thought I'd do it all over again with A Clash of Kings, and I am finally finished. So this is my fina...moreMy Game of Thrones journals were so well liked I thought I'd do it all over again with A Clash of Kings, and I am finally finished. So this is my final installment. This is my final star rating.
Sansa -- Two of my favourite speeches so far. First, the Hound delivers a speech to Sansa about the truth of knights and their role as killers. Second, Cersei delivers up her “love is poison” speech. Sansa could learn so much from those two, but I doubt she will. Excellent stuff regardless. Plus, Sansa has her first period. Menstruation is good, but not good for Sansa. And, yes, I continue to love Sansa, much more than Arya, and I think it is important to note Cersei’s words about Arya’s successful humiliation of Joffrey: “ You could thank your sister for that, if she weren’t dead. He’s never been able to forget that day on the Trident when you saw her shame him, so he shames you in turn.” In terms of right and wrong, Arya was probably right to do what she did in the moment, but being right about something doesn’t make it the “right” thing to do, and Sansa will continue to pay the price of the Stark tendency to march around in their self-righteousness doing stuff they shouldn’t.
Jon -- Finally, a great chapter from Jon. Two of his best moments in the tale come right here: admitting to Qhorin that he let the wildling girl go, and his wolfdream of Mance Rayder’s forces. Ghost gets hit by a bad assed eagle. Qhorin proves himself to be a phenomenal leader. Jon learns some sacrifice when Squire Dalbridge stays behind to slow up Rayder’s men. And the action is finally flowing in a way that I’ve been hungering for. GRRM is going to suck me back in right when I was about to take a long, long pause. Jerk.
Tyrion -- Cersei, Cersei, Cersei. Your decisiveness and cold, angry detachment can serve you well, but it blinds you just as often to those who would be most valuable to you, and it leads to all sorts of new and deadly enemies. Tyrion will fuck you up (and Tommen, literally and figuratively if you cross the Imp again), and you will have only yourself to blame. Excellent chapter, by the way.
Catelyn -- So she has her chat with Jamie after she gets word that her two boys are dead (which I don’t buy for a second) and the chapter ends with the “cliff hanger” of Catelyn calling to Breanne for a sword. And we’re supposed to believe that Jamie’s going to die?! It is one of GRRM’s more ham-fisted moments, and it’s so obvious that Catelyn’s going to let him go that I feel silly even talking about it, but what else is there to talk to about in this chapter? I suppose I could just say that Jamie was very cool in the scene. So yeah, Jamie was cool. There you go.
Theon -- I knew the boys were spared and some random kids were killed in their stead,so I wasn’t surprised at all, and it is a crime that will lower Rickard and Bran (especially Bran) in my estimation if it is revealed that they were in on being “let go” (they would have to have known, or Osha would have to have known, that Theon couldn’t return empty handed) I feel for Theon’s isolation in the world, and the fact that his miscalculation when it comes to Winterfell and his father and sister will probably be fatal. I am fascinated by Reek, the nasty man who can get things done in the North (a plant by Mance Rayder? some other piece of nastiness I'm missing? I wonder), but the raping of Kyra to soothe his personal demons -- an act that will in no way add to his demons -- put up a serious blockade between me and Theon. I don’t see how he can overcome that act.
Sansa -– The war has begun, and we’re stuck with Sansa wandering around praying. “At least we get to see Tyrion and Joffrey and Shae and Cersei, Brad.” Fuck all that. I don’t want to see them if it serves no good purpose, if we only see them to keep their threads fresh in our minds and their names in our face. GRRM is like one of those variety acts from the Ed Sullivan show, but an act who bombs because he spends all his time juggling and is never actually able to get to his big finale, the plate spinning, because he is so enamoured of his balls. This chapter also highlights my one big, big problem with GRRM’s story. The lack of POV from someone unimportant. One person, one working class person that isn’t tied to a big family, isn’t woven into the greater intrigues or struggles for power. One person who would feel the wars as a peasant or a worker of some kind. That person can bump up against the great ones of Westeros, but they should only bump. We need to see things from one of their perspectives. Without it a huge chance for understanding the world, and feeling like it is a real place are lost, and Sansa’s walk around King’s Landing while the war begins makes that lack intolerable for me.
Davos -- Always on the periphery. GRRM could take some Naval battle lessons from Patrick O’Brian, cause this on the edge of the fight stuff just so we can get the big picture is pissing me off. Davos will probably make it out of the conflagration and live to POV another day, but I hope he fucking dies. Along with Stannis.
Tyrion -- The Imp scores a palpable hit or two. His victory of the green flame is pretty impressive, and rallying the troops with potential shame is equally so. I hope he wins a victory so he can lord it over the King and his sis during the next book. I was hoping to finish it all tonight, but I seem to have left it in the car, which is now with my wife at work. Shit!
later -- I found my book and forgotten I’d already written something about this chapter, so my second journal entry is this: “Tyrion’s brain concocts the masterful double stroke of chain and wildfire, and his balls concoct the return to battle of the Hound’s men. I wonder if his balls smell as bad as Sir Patrick Stewart’s in that baldric?” I think I like this second one better.
Sansa -- Cersei is a negative-Nancy, isn’t she? What a shame she’s without joy. I wonder if even Jamie can make her happy?
Tyrion -- Shit. I thought Tyrion had finally earned some bellicose respect from those “tough guys” around him. I thought he was going to have Balon Swann’s and Mandon Moore’s loyalty forever, but it looks like someone else had already bought the latter to assassinate him (Cersei? Most likely. But it could just as easily have been Joffrey trying to get a little vengeance hidden by the war, vengeance that wouldn’t leave him having to answer uncomfortable questions from his real dad and his granddad). Breathless chapter.
Sansa -- Renly’s alive? That’s the biggest “what the fuck?” moment in the books so far, but I don’t buy it; just like the supposed deaths of Bran and Rickard, this is more bullshit. It’s probably one of Robert’s bastards dressed up to look like Renly or something even more mundane. Fucking hilarious that Stannis has had his ass handed to him. I hate that jackass.
And what about the Hound? Unmanned by the fire, clearly in love with his “Little Bird and too damaged to do anything about his love (and too honourable, it should be said).
Two more things: one, Sansa’s POVs are vastly more interesting to me than Arya’s; two, Sansa is a much better person than her sister. Arya is an angry, mean, nasty little girl, who delights in the deaths (or humiliations) of her enemies (whether they are deserving of their deaths or not), and she seems to be getting worse; Sansa, however, is kind, caring for her enemies, bringing solace when she can; she is much braver than Arya too, and has had a much harder time since the death of her father. Of the two sisters, my allegiance goes to Sansa.
Daenarys -- Dany finds her ship, she finds the captain of her father’s King’s Guard (that old guy with the beard has to be the old knight that Joffrey cast aside, doesn’t he? It feels right), and right there in front of her are the other betrayals: Rakharo is going to sell her dragons for gold, and Mormont will betray her because of love. I am playing a big guessing game here, and I tend to be wrong more often that right, but I have a good feeling about these predictions. I am still loving the Daenerys sections; there aren’t enough, though.
Arya -- I am about to start an Arya chapter again. Ugh. Finished it just now, and I don’t like Arya any better. She is much more likely to become like Roose Bolton than Jon Snow. But I don’t have to like her to respect her, and I do respect her. She’s decisive and growing moreso, and the things she’s seen at a young age have jaded her more than enough to keep her alive. I don’t like her, but I think she’s the most dangerous Stark, and that makes her an interesting character. And I am interested in her POVs again because she’s on the move. Her stuck at Harrenhal was making her POVs insufferable. Just wondering (and I am too lazy to look back and figure it out) but was that jackass Frey she was pissed off at supposed to be marrying her?
Sansa -– Accolades for everyone. Everyone and their dog. But nothing for Tyrion. Is Tywin the nastiest father ever? I think he probably is. As for Sansa ... naive much?
Theon –- I knew Theon was fucked but I didn’t expect it to happen quite that way, and for a second I was pretty stoked about the possibility that he’d take the Black. I’ve thought of Theon as a survivor all along, and the Black is often the option of a survivor. Can Theon survive this mess, though?
Tyrion -- What’s this going to look like?
halfway through –- Is it just me or did Tysha actually love, Tyrion, and when Tywin found out that Tyrion loved her, he forced Jamie to lie about hiring of her? I bet she wasn’t a whore at all, but a simple woman who actually loved Tyrion.
finished –- Tyrion is fucked. Fucked up and fucked. No recognition, no love, no power and no nose. Will he find a way in the world or will some other brilliant mind appear to take his place in my heart? I hope it is the former.
Jon –- I thought Theon was the most isolated character when this book began, and perhaps he still is (if he’s alive), but he has some serious competition in Sansa, Tyrion and Jon Snow. Jon’s probably the winner in the “so lonely” sweepstakes at the moment. Poor bastard.
Bran –- I was sure Theon was responsible for hiding Bran and Rickard after the mill, but nope. Bran outsmarted Theon from the start (or Osha did), and Theon murdered a pair of kids with no “honourable” mitigation for the shortest of victories. I figure he's alive, though, because someone has to provide some POV of Reek Bolton.
So that’s it; I’ll read the next one come Spring.(less)
My Game of Thrones journals were so well liked I thought I'd do it all over again with A Clash of Kings, and I am now three quarters of the way throug...moreMy Game of Thrones journals were so well liked I thought I'd do it all over again with A Clash of Kings, and I am now three quarters of the way through the book. This is the third instalment. My star rating reflects my feelings now. This may change by the time I am finished. Enjoy ,,, or not.
Jon -- A creepy little chapter, this one. Love Ghost’s discovery of the Night’s Watch cloak and the cache of obsidian weapons. The plot thickens.
Bran –- The dreams of Jojen are much nastier than he first admitted and Bran’s inability to interpret them, coupled with the willing ignorance and literal interpretations of his elders should prove disastrous. I was surprised by Jojen’s dream of Bran and Rickard with their faces carved off. Can Jojen be wrong? Something tells me the answer is no. Speaking of Jojen, I dig him and Meera very much, but I hear they’re not in the TV version. Bummer. “Green dreams do not lie.”
Tyrion –- Are things slipping out of Tyrion’s control? Littlefinger makes his move and Cersei plays nice this time around. Tyrion’s unfooled by them, but will that be enough to avoid disaster? I figure Tyrion’s going to be around to the bitter end, so probably, but is GRRM playing me for a fool again? I can’t trust anything in these books. Is Tyrion not the protagonist I think he is? I can live with that so long as he dies well. I think.
Theon –- If one of the acceptably heroic characters – Ned, Robb, even Tyrion – did what Theon does in this chapter, I think everyone would love them for it, as I do, but I know most people don’t. Todiric takes a Theon arrow in the belly for breaking the order to remain sober. Too bad for him. Theon proves he’ll brook no bullshit, and he proves to himself that he’s got what it takes to be a leader and deal with Dagmar and take the grey waters all the way to Winterfell. I hope he beats his sister to the right hand of his father. I’ll cheer him on all the way. By the way ... can I declare myself the King? Everyone else is doing it?
Arya –- Arya, Arya, Arya ... you sure fucked up your assassination allowance. Sure you realized it with one murder left, but you could have won the war for your brother (assuming Jaqen H’ghar is as bad ass as he seems to be) with the deaths of Tywin and the Mountain, but you come by your poor decision making honestly, so I suppose I should cut you some slack. Can’t wait to see whose name you add to your toll. I’m putting my money on Theon, which will also be stupid but stupid is your expected choice.
Catelyn –- She receives Brienne into service. Cool. She finds out her brother is going to fuck everything up, but there’s not much she can do. Bummer. She gets some bones that are supposed to be Ned’s but probably aren’t. Excellent. I want more, though. I’ve been teased with potent Catelyn scenes and now I want to just stick with her and keep going. Oh well. Pressing on now.
Daenerys –- It feels to me like too much happened between the last Dany chapter and this Dany chapter. With only Dany’s POV out east (she is east of Westeros, isn’t she?), we’re just not learning enough about what’s going on. We have big gaps between other characters’ chapters too, but they are so intertwined with everyone else that it feels like the gaps are smaller. Dany’s thread is too distant to benefit from that, though. I think her chapters could be better if they were longer, but there just isn’t enough. It is too much explication to fill the gap and not enough action. Kind of bummed about this one. I love Dany, but it will be increasingly hard to love her when so little is done with her. Is this intentional on the part of GRRM? Is this an attempt to mimic how the citizens of Westeros would have her in their mind, but too distantly to actually stand up and fight for her? I wouldn’t put it past him.
Tyrion -– Things had to blow up at King’s Landing eventually, and blow up they did in Joffrey’s Bread & Shit riot. Raping, killing, mutilation, all with cries of “Bastard!” and “Bread! Bread! Bread!” Hunger creeps in, the rich are unaffected and flaunt their comfort, the poor rise up, the poor are put back down. It’s the way of things. And here’s Tyrion, the closest thing the masses have to a protector, and he’s the most hated man in King’s Landing. I like Bronn’s idea to kill Joffrey and install Tommen as a more malleable King. Joffrey, it is important to mention, catches his second slap from Tyrion, along with a couple of kicks. But this time it was in front of Cersei. I wonder if she could be convinced to let Joffrey die for the good of the other Lannisters? Huh. I actually fell asleep with my pen in hand as I wrote that last sentence (yep ... I still write with a pen in a journal). Time for bed, I suppose.
Davos –- I hear the shadow from Melisandre’s vagina is kind of cheesy in the show. Well, I found it creepy cool under Storm’s End. But Melisandre is just creepy. Her brand of fervency, her fundamentalist passion, her willing stupidity based on her faith, scares the bejesus out of me, and the fact that Stannis is making decisions based on her “seeing” is bad for everyone. His arrogance is growing, and soon it will know no bounds. I hope that Davos sticks around as a POV. I’m digging his insights into the changes in Stannis. It’s good to know that Stannis wasn’t always this way.
Jon -- Finally! Some movement beyond the wall. Fresh from the mysterious obsidian arrow and spearheads (unsolved), Jon is about to embark on a real journey, ranging into the midst of Mance Rayder with the living legend, Qhorin Halfhand. Things with Jon are finally going to get interesting.
Tyrion -- So pleased to know Varys’ emasculation story. I don’t know if it is true (though I suspect it is), but the purpose it serves as an explanation of his disdain for magic is convincing. Melisandre unwittingly made a dangerous enemy (or Stannis did. Or both). And then there’s Tyrion and Shae. Is she just a whore in the long run? Has she more feelings for Tyrion than simply as her keeper? Probably so and probably not. It is wise that Tyrion continues to remind himself of that when he feels too close to her. He is aware of everything, even the things that wound him personally. It’s why he’s a survivor. I wonder how people feel about the Tyrion slap? I wonder how people feel about the Shae insult? Hmm.
Catelyn -– It appears at this point that Catelyn’s brother, Edmure, didn’t blow it at all and won a great victory against the forces of Tywin, making the Lannisters march to the southeast by holding the river. What it all amounts to is that Catelyn recognizes all their victories, but she’s still worried. Deeply. I would be too if I were her. She’s personally seen some element from every pocket of resistance, and she is an a unique position to be afraid of all the personalities massing against them, and their arms.
Bran -– Longest wolfie dream yet, and Bran finds himself falling once again, but this time when he wakes up the green dream has come true and the grey water, in the form of Theon, has taken Winterfell. It was child’s play for Theon to take the keep. So what happens now? Robb is about to end the war with the Lannisters, about to crush Tywin, and he’s going to be forced to relinquish the fight and return north to fight the Iron Isles, which will leave the Lannisters to fight Stannis. Two wars raging simultaneously, and then Mance Rayder getting his shit together to march on all of Westeros from beyond the wall. Hmm. if that all comes true, Theon will have managed to change everything in one blow. Will it be enough, though, to make him beloved of his father?
Arya -– Another Arya chapter that wins its appeal for someone or something other than Arya. In this case it is Jaqen H’ghar’s liberation of the Northmen from the dungeon of Harrenhal. No, scratch that. It is Jaqen H’ghar’s crazy transformation into the curly haired, hooked nosed, golden tooth guy from Braavos, and the coin he gives to Arya, and the true magic (is it, though?) that is entering this world at a rapid pace. Dragons, wights, slaughtering shadows, and now shape changing bad assed swordsmen. As usual, when GRRM pulls off one of these big moments of coolness, he fucks off to something else important and we don’t get to follow the coolness. He withholds and withholds and withholds. But it does leave me wanting more -- so that’s good. But is this just going to be a thread that appears once, teases us and disappears damn near forever? I hope not.
Daenerys -– After a seriously long break, wherein book after book kept me away from Clash of Kings, I returned to discover Dany going on the baddest of bad trips . It was the first moment in either book that I do not want to see on the HBO series. There is no way it could possibly live up to the pictures I have created in my imagination. It’s a creepy cool chapter.
Tyrion -– And now I am bored again. Sure I dig the machinations, but there is too much filler, too much crap filling in the gaps of the last time we were with characters, and it is taking its toll on my interest. Some action would have been nice. Something to build on the coolness of the preceding chapter. For once, however, I was just bored by a Tyrion section.
Theon -– I am on my third day reading about Theon in Winterfell. Rickard and Bran have escaped with Osha and Hodor, and the direwolves. Who cares? It is becoming increasingly likely that I will not make it to the next book.
later ... okay, I decided to read this in the shower again, to force me to finish this chapter. Ride, ride, complain, look at mud, ride, listen to superstition, ride, ride, bitch about direwolves, ride, ride, figure out where they went and head off to the real action so that we won’t get to see what happens when Theon finds (or doesn’t find) the escapees, we’ll only get to hear about it later. I am getting really tired of the pattern.
Jon –- You should have killed her, Jon. But I am guessing it will work out just fine for you. You and that golden horseshoe you have jammed up your backside. (less)
I was going to give this five stars, then I thought, "It's too much fun for five stars," so I clicked on four stars, then I thought, "Fuck that! Five...moreI was going to give this five stars, then I thought, "It's too much fun for five stars," so I clicked on four stars, then I thought, "Fuck that! Five it is." And so it came to be.
New Novella --
I have been tossing around an idea I have about the shift in novella writing from a thing unto itself into a portion of "larger" works (I first started talking about it here), and it seems to me that John Scalzi's quite marvelous Redshirts is just such a work.
I would split it into two novellas: Redshirts itself, and the three Codas. Redshirts is, after all, a mere 200-ish pages that read very quickly. Its length is similar to many of the classic novellas (many of which, like Heart of Darkness are densely packed into their slim editions); it gets going, gets its story told and gets out.
The Codas, then, make up the second novella. Though they work as narrative additions to Redshirts proper, they also work on their own, stringing together three short stories (a novella in short stories?) that make one cohesive unit, and I think they could be read as one piece minus Redshirts and be quite excellent in their own right. Moreover, they offer up first, second and third person perspectives, respectively, binding themselves together as one unit with a mechanical throughline that weaves together the narrative threads into a piece.
You may not consider it two novellas, but the idea works for me in my brain, and next time I read this book I am going to read the Codas all by themselves to see how they work.
Fun & Funny--
Novella talk aside, this is one enteraining piece of fiction. It hits that special place in my liver where my Trekkie love rests, it hits that special place in my hypothalimus where my Firefly love rests, it hits that very special place in my testicles where BSG rests, it hits that special place in my joints where Deep Space Nine rests, etc., etc.. Scalzi knows all the pressure points (and of course he would being the nerd that he is and having worked on Stargate too), and he pokes at those points with joyful abandon. I haven't had so much fun reading in a year.
Fuck yeah! Anyone who is interested in Baudrillard or Eco or spends their time seeing the removes in everything they perceive with enjoy their time down the wormhole or ten.
A Yeti in the Jeffries' Tubes. Seriously fun.
I know I am missing some things I wanted to say when I finished reading last night, but those can wait until the next time I read Redshirts. It is sure to come. (less)
I bought Ysabel, but it languishes on my bookshelf even now. I avoided Under Heaven until it became our fantasy book in the Sci-Fi & Fantasy Book club. Once it won the vote, I thought it might be time to return to Kay.
I was a third into the book when my daughter, Scoutie, booknapped it and hid it under the love seat in the Sun Room. It resurfaced while we were vaccuuming, but by then my book club had outstripped me, and their comments suggested that the rest of the book was a let down. I let it sit for a few more days for fear I would be let down too, and I may have been if not for the pause.
Reading the comments in the book discussions and flirting with a couple of my friends' reviews (I've not read any in detail yet) prepared me for disappointment, and because of that preparation the disappointment never came.
I expected to be disappointed when it was revealed who sent assassins to kill Shen Tai and why, but I wasn't disappointed. I expected to be disappointed by the way each thread in the story touched others in the story, the way everything wove tightly together, but I wasn't. I expected to be disappointed by the resolutions of machinations and intrigues, but I wasn't. I found that by expecting to be disappointed I was released from disappointment, and I feel like that release gave me a way into the book that I wouldn't have had otherwise.
I would have expected the more traditional Kay narrative of big armies and big wars and heroic battles playing out in our faces or the little battles playing out on the periphery, but I was freed of that expectation and was able to luxuriate in the simplicity of this tale. I think that's what Kay was trying to achieve with Under Heaven -- simplicity. It was in his prose. His prose was as adjective free as it has ever been, moreso, and there was an immediacy born of that simplicity that worked for me. And the poetry of Kitai was just as simple. Another reflection of Kay's purpose, I imagine.
Moreover, that simplicity went further than just the words Kay chose. This simplicity defined the plot and action. We've come to expect complicated motivations from Kay, but here the motivations were the most mundane (disappointingly so for many); we've come to expect complicated emotions, emotional cross-purposes, but the emotions of Shen Tai and Wei Song and Le-Mei and Spring Rain and Sima Zian were only complex because of their simplicity. Many strands of this story appeared and hinted at great complexity then turned out to be tiny threads poking out of the tapestry merely needing to be trimmed. Simple in their messiness. But true.
I came to love this book by the end for its simplicity. I think it was what Kay was going for, but I can understand the disappointment of others. As I said, I think I'd have suffered from the disappointment too if circumstances had been different. But they weren't different. My circumstances were what they were, and they led me to love this book. I am glad for that, and sad for those who only met disappointment.
Finally, I thought the resolution, the ending at Kuala Nor was beautiful. Full circle. Honourable. And a sentiment I share with the men who put those ghosts to rest. (less)
What an opening sequence! Batman is in Arkham Asyloum putting down an escape of most of his Rogues Gallery, thinking about the answers to the question: "What is Gotham?" A sequence that highlights Snyder's greatest strength -- the embracing of symbolism in thought squares.
The battle rages until Batman's nemesis joins the fray, then the story is all about his allies. Three of the Robins, Commissioner Gordon, Barbara and others. The art is simply drawn (and faces seem too closely related from one character to another for me), but they are gorgeously coloured, so when the second act bores us with speechifying and the third act bores us with Se7en copy-catting we're still distracted enough by the visuals to go merrily along. Finally there is the inevitable cliffhanger, and all my mid-tale boredom evaporated.
First issues of "reboots" are notoriously difficult, but I think Scott Snyder did well to strike a balance between the old and the new. Bring on #2, says I.
Batman #2 --
Our introduction to the assassin who does the job for the Court of Owls -- Talon -- is a beautiful thing. It's hypnotic storytelling that heightens tension and threat, causing me serious edge of the easy chair suspense, but when Snyder adds the weaving of Nightwing (my favourite member of the Bat-Family) to the tapestry of his tale, I am all in.
Is it possible? Will the Court of Owls and Talon become my favourite Batman / Nightwing villains? If things continue the way they are headed then the answer must be yes.
Batman #3 --
We often talk about "world-building" when we talk about speculative fiction, generally praising a piece or an author that builds believable worlds. And when we praise these authors the praise is often high praise, but for me there is a higher form of "world building," which deserves even higher praise -- myth building.
George Lucas' stories aren't great -- at least for me -- because they build a believable Galaxy; his movies are great because they build an effective mythology within that Galaxy. So in this third issue of the Court of Owls, when I realized that Scott Snyder wasn't bothering to build the world (let's face it, the world of Gotham is built) but was, instead, building mythology, giving birth to the myths of Batman, I had a mindgasm.
The Court of Owls feels like it has always been. It doesn't feel like the creation of Snyder and Capullo (the artist). It feels like it has been around since the earliest days of Batman, as if the Court has always been in the shadows of Gotham, dictating the happenings of Bruce's world, a myth on the periphery of Batman's history. But it hasn't. It is new. It is the creation of these creators, and this Court is one spooky fucking bunch. They are as creepy as anything or anyone that Batman has ever faced. I want the Court to continue forever.
Batman #4 --
Explanation. Exposition. Nightwing. A nice lull before the big, big action with Dick around as Bruce's conscience, and a further deepening of the mythology of Gotham and the Wayne family make this a talky but compelling issue. I am unsure about the art of Capullo, however. When he's drawing Talon and the Court I am mesmerized, but everything else lacks for me, so much so that I find myself resisting immersion into Snyder's Gotham. Such a drag.
Batman #5 --
The Bat Signal burns for a week while Batman wanders the labyrinth of the Court of Owls. He wanders and drinks the water from their fountain and slowly battles madness, and we're brought along with him as the pages go from vertical to horizontal to upside down, and we're treated to symbolism and foreshadowing and call backs and genuine creepiness -- then blood and bursting light bulbs and sadness. And this time Capullo's art, especially in the Gallery of Mad Portraits, is conjuring some chilling magic.
Batman #6 --
Batman is beaten ...
... Then Capullo channels Dark Knight-era's Frank Miller and Snyder's Batman becomes savage, escaping the labyrinth ... How? You'll have to read it yourself to see.
Batman #7 --
The arc comes to an end that is the beginning of something much bigger, and Nightwing, our little Richard Grayson, is at the heart of it all. Just as Damian Wayne was born to be an assassin, we now discover that Dick was groomed from childhood to be the arm of the Court of Owls, and that ends up being full of spooky. It's a kick ass sequence, the moment we discover all this, and this seven issue arc stands as one of my all time favourite Batman tales. I don't want it to end, and gloriously, it isn't over yet.