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Batman (2011)

Batman, Volume 1: The Court of Owls

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After a series of brutal murders rocks Gotham City, Batman begins to realize that perhaps these crimes go far deeper than appearances suggest. As the Caped Crusader begins to unravel this deadly mystery, he discovers a conspiracy going back to his youth and beyond to the origins of the city he’s sworn to protect.

Batman has heard tales of Gotham City’s Court of Owls: that the members of this powerful cabal are the true rulers of Gotham. The Dark Knight dismissed the stories as rumors and old wives’ tales. Gotham was his city. Until now.

A brutal assassin is sinking his razor-sharp talons into the city’s best and brightest, as well as its most dangerous and deadly. If the dark legends are true, his masters are more powerful predators than the Batman could ever imagine.

Collects: Batman #1-7.

176 pages, Hardcover

First published May 15, 2012

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About the author

Scott Snyder

1,294 books4,529 followers
Scott Snyder is the Eisner and Harvey Award winning writer on DC Comics Batman, Swamp Thing, and his original series for Vertigo, American Vampire. He is also the author of the short story collection, Voodoo Heart, published by the Dial Press in 2006. The paperback version was published in the summer of 2007.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,380 reviews
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
763 reviews3,493 followers
December 4, 2022
The perfect conspiracy theory fodder

The bat is just a small pet in the cage they own called Gotham City
Because century long ruling very old money dynasties that form cartels and conglomerates controlling any aspect of political and economic life just freaking rock. In reality, it may be a problem, because it would mean that a small, hidden elite controls the course of human history.

The problem with fighting fake news is that some of these crazy ideas turned out to be freaking real
Just think about all the facts that came to light after decades with military classifications falling, freedom of information acts, etc. Nobody would have believed someone between the 60s and 90s talking about crazy experiments the government is secretly conducting and much turned out to be true. So one could assume that one or other superpower maybe has a secret pipeline of ideas that can´t be whitewashed by any PR agency and have to stay hidden. And that´s the really big deal that could once be made public, but

What the private sector is doing could stay secret forever
Because there are absolutely no regulations for an international megacorporation they can do whatever they want. They just have to fear the immense dangers of anti trust laws and all the ethical drivel about human rights that could crush their image if it came to light, so that they can´t act like a government and have to keep it under the radar. It´s highly dependent on one's worldview and ideology how she/he thinks about this subject, but let´s just add the public private sector, military industrial complex, the Chinese all in one package, etc. and it gets even more disturbing. But at least it opens up the added cool bonus of

Real life Talons
Each possible pimped version of a master assassin, James Bond, or whatever tech or bioenhanced übersoldier could be used, and just as with the grain of realism in conspiracy, this isn´t pure fiction. I guess that already nowadays stereotypical hitmen are hardcore, but adding future sci fi and tech elements to their equipment, genes, and weapons could add some cool end fights with the superheroes finally confronting them. Although I deem it more possible that the private military and security elite will be the superheroes of the future.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Anne.
3,864 reviews69.2k followers
October 23, 2022
Batman, Volume 1: The Court of Owls (2011)

It wasn't so awful that it deserved less than 3 stars, but to say I'm disappointed is an understatement.

Capullo is a talented artist, but I'm not a fan of the chubby Batman. Ok, maybe chubby isn't the right word. Bobble-headish. You know, when they have the impossibly large head and chin? Anyway, not my cuppa. I'm sure others will love it.

Was the story any good? Ehhhhhhh. It wasn't bad, but I had some problems with the way Batman was portrayed.
He doesn't believe the legend about the Court of Owls is real, because he already investigated it...when he was a kid?
Yeah, he says he's looked into them since then, but the bulk of his argument rests on what he did as a child. No. Batman is not that stupid. Also, those Owls really took him for a ride. Not because they managed to get the jump on him, but because he simply refused to believe in the possibility that they existed. Maybe that was the point. Batman is fallible, and doesn't know everything. Except... Well, if there is one superhero who questions everything, plans for everything, and doesn't trust anything...it's Batman. It seemed odd that he wouldn't have opened his mind to the possibility.
Then there was the scene at the end where he is practically clinging to Dick, blubbering about how Gotham isn't what he thought it was. I literally cringed. Snyder broke Batman. And, again, maybe that was the point. Doesn't mean I have to like it.

I'm not trying to bash the entire volume, though. It held my interest, and I'm definitely going to keep reading to see where Snyder takes this New Batman.
There is also another solid reason to pick up The Court of Owls. It was possibly the coolest thing I have ever experienced while reading a graphic novel.

I didn't love everything about it.
But read it anyway.
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,115 reviews3,550 followers
December 9, 2014
A solid beginning of New52's era of Batman

This edition collects issues from #1 to #7 of "Batman"

Writer: Scott Snyder

Illustrator: Greg Capullo


Beware the Court of Owls, that watches all the time, ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime. They watch you at your heart, they watch you in your bed, speak not a whispered word of them, or they'll send The Talon for your head.

You thought that you knew Batman and his world. You thought that you couldn't be surprised anymore, specially with some new villain without the historic "pedigree" of the renown classic villains.

But you were wrong.

Snyder and Capullo were able to plot an exceptional new tale with smart writing and awesome artwork. Proving that there is still room for new chapters with refreshing new input to the legacy of The Batman.

The Court of Owls was a nursery rhyme, a myth, a legend, something to scare off the kids to be good. After all, something so old, if it was true, The Batman would know, right?

And there, it's the beauty of the concept of this mysterious new threat. The Batman can't accept that something so large, so organized, so lethal, can be existing for so many time, even before his own birth, and still remain out of his all-knowing sight of his city.

And there, it's the beauty of the fall of The Batman. Not matter how prepared he is. Not matter that he knows all the tricks. Not matter that he invented all the tricks. Any hero who "falls" into a "comfort zone", he or she will "fall" into a "hell".

Also, overconfidency and/or underestimating the enemy, always has been the "sin" of The Batman. Not matter how he thinks of himself, he is still a human being, and therefore he can be lured into a trap, he can be the prey, specially when he thinks that he is the hunter.

And maybe it will be too late when finally The Batman will realize that he really doesn't know at all "his" city and its secrets.


...Tell me what you know about owls.

...They're carnivorous. Masters of camouflage...They're natural predators of bats...

Snyder and Capullo were able to deliver a true detective story making to remember that The Batman isn't only a "superhero" who punches villains but also a remarkable detective. But even more impressive, they are really using to Bruce Wayne, since you can really sense the man under the cowl. Bruce Wayne isn't just a face to draw when he is on the Batcave without his cowl on. Bruce Wayne is really inside of the batsuit, and also, Bruce Wayne is a relevant character on his own, beyond of The Batman. Bruce Wayne is as important to Gotham City as The Batman, only for different reasons and purposes.

Moreover, you get to know about the history of the Wayne family, quite beyond of Thomas Wayne, and how the Waynes had been always relevant architects in some way or another about the way of how Gotham City is.

I was aware that this first volume won't be the only one about The Court of Owls (in fact, I bought the three TPBs at the same time) but I kinda expected some kind of closure in this first volume, however you are left with none mystery really solved and with a cliffhanger. I did enjoy a lot the reading of the TPB, I did. However, the whole volume was like a long introduction to the storyarc to come (in the next two volumes). Thankfully, I have them too. So, I won't be clueless much time.

But, definitely, only for this great beginning, I can recommend The Court of Owls to any Bat-fan or reader of the comic books' genre.

Profile Image for Chad.
7,471 reviews857 followers
May 16, 2022
It's not often that a creative team adds something to the Batman mythos that sticks. The Court of Owls shaped the Bat-Family for several years. The idea of Batman discovering a secret society that has been pulling Gotham's strings for hundreds of years is very cool. I loved the thing with the 13th stories. The best part of the book is still Batman wondering through the labyrinth. The art getting trippier with each page as Batman hallucinates while having to turn the book as if the reader is walking through the maze as well. Capullo's art overall is pretty fantastic even if he sometimes draws Batman a little too barrel-chested, sometime to the point of looking like he's ate too much to fit into the suit.
Profile Image for Andrei Bădică.
365 reviews152 followers
February 10, 2018
"Uneori suntem atât de prinși cu problemele mărunte, încât o ignorăm pe cea mai importantă, aflată chiar sub ochii noștri."
"Dar să fie clar: Nu-mi pasă cine mi-a fost strămoș. Sau ce-au vrut bufnițele să fiu. Chiar deloc. Nu ne impune trecutul vreun rol, Bruce, ci noi alegem ce să fim."
March 11, 2013
In this thrilling adventure, Scott Snyder breathes new life into the Batman franchise by introducing a terrifying new enemy...The Court of Owls!

While waging his war against crime, Batman has seen many horrible things...

But all this time, an unseen horror has lurked in the shadows of Gotham City. For over a hundred years, rumors have been whispered about a secret society that rules the streets of Gotham, an omnipresent group known as the Court of Owls. Most people assume the tales to be mere campfire stories told for the sole purpose of scaring the citizens of Gotham. After all, in over 100 years, no one has ever found any evidence of the Court's existence...at least no one who has lived to tell about it. But Batman must uncover the truth behind the urban legend, especially now that the Court has sent an unstoppable assassin after...Bruce Wayne!

Despite the fact that I've loved Scott Snyder's writing in the past, I still went into "The Court of Owls" with a bit of trepidation. After all, I first started reading Batman comics in the early 80s, and the idea of DC's "New 52" banner wiping out so much of that history and trying to reboot the Batman franchise sounded like it was doomed to fail. But I still had a lot of fun reading the first story arc of the new "Batman" series. For one thing, this Batman actually makes a joke now and then! Yes, grim and gritty elements can add more gravitas to the story, but so many of the 90s Batman books overdid it to the point that the always-brooding Batman was almost devoid of any personality. In fact, having read so many of those "grim avenger of the night" stories, I especially loved when Snyder had Dick Grayson hit Batman with this zinger, "So it's true...you actually do practice brooding!" Under Snyder's watch, Batman is still haunted, but the fact that he actually cracks a smile once in a while makes him even more likable and sympathetic than ever before. In addition, Snyder’s first-person narration from Batman’s point-of-view provides genuine character introspection, as verses the lame ”I am the night” rhetoric that so many other writers fall back on.

But what really wowed me the most about this story was the inclusion of a new enemy to the Batman rogues gallery. Let's be honest, in the last couple of decades, attempts to introduce the next big Batman villain haven't always been successful. Sure, Bane was cool in "Knightfall" and in the "Dark Knight Rises" movie, but he didn't really serve a whole lot of purpose in the 20 years inbetween. And try explaining The Black Glove and Dr. Simon Hurt to anyone who doesn't have a working knowledge of at least 30 years worth of Batman canon! (Grant Morrison can never make things simple, can he?!?) But I found the concept of The Court of Owls to be executed flawlessly. The idea of Batman fighting an urban legend was such a delicious parallel, considering many Gothamites consider Batman himself to be an urban legend! And Snyder never falls back on hackneyed straw man tactics to make the Court more interesting, his brilliant writing is all it takes for us to feel the same terror Batman does when he realizes just how far the Court's reach truly extends.

An exciting adventure sprinkled with humor and horror, "The Court of Owls" is a fun ride for new and old Batman fans alike. In closing, I'll leave you with this rhyme from the book which citizens of Gotham tell each other to send shivers down their spines...
Beware the Court of Owls, that watches all the time.
Ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime.
They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed.
Speak not a whispered word of them, or they'll send The Talon for your head!!!"

758 reviews2,351 followers
June 29, 2018
holy shit this was SO GOOD and bloody. also those fucking plot twists gave me 20 heart attacks, I didn’t sign up for this pain 😤😤😤😤 but i love batman so i guess i’ll just die 🤷‍♀️
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,893 reviews10.5k followers
July 24, 2012
The Court of Owls, a long rumored secret society from Gotham's past, makes its presence known in the form of a knife wielding assassin called The Talon. Can Batman hope to defeat an enemy even more familiar with Gotham than him?

For my money, Scott Snyder can do no wrong. Batman: The Court of Owls is no exception. At first glance, the tale looks like a combination of Batman: The Black Glove and Batman: Gates of Gotham but it's a better story than either so far.

I really want to gush about this but I don't want to ruin any surprises. It's not every day a body is found with Dick Grayson's DNA under it's fingernails. It's not every day you see a killing machine taking the fight to Batman or Batman being trapped by villains for days.

One thing I really liked is that Scott Snyder isn't afraid to show us Batman isn't invincible. I hate how in recent years, Batman is portrayed as a combination of Captain America and Reed Richards instead of the World's Greatest Detective, as he should be. Snyder does a pretty good job of stripping away some of that. I can't see his Batman building a Brother-Eye satellite, for instance.

Snyder's writing is superb, as always. I can tell he draws from a deeper well than many comic authors, one filled with historical fiction and conspiracy thrillers. Greg Capullo's art is good too, I guess.

The Court of Owls is an easy 4. I may even bump it up to a 5 once the rest of the story is told.

Profile Image for Donovan.
692 reviews63 followers
January 22, 2019

Snyder and Capullo create a modern Batman in a world of dark horror, mystery, and emotion. Much in the way Morrison retconned Batman’s continuity, Snyder expands his mythology, including his trauma, family, training, and Gotham’s underworld. "Never let your emotions guide you on a case," Bruce says, but that's precisely what he does.

This is an ambitious first volume, attempting to recreate the character while doing so in innovative storytelling, like the labyrinth scenes. These scenes, like the splash page which forces the reader to physically reorient the book in a true postmodern fourth wall moment, are new and brilliant. While dark, like any Batman story, this Bruce has levity and a boyish charm, bringing balance and inspiring sympathy and connection in the reader. It’s everything you want in Batman: tragic and vengeful, but still relatably human.
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,741 followers
July 17, 2012
As part of the DC’s reboot of the month, the New 52, Bruce Wayne is back as Batman. I won’t be reading any other New 52 stuff because DC is addicted to retconning, and I don’t want to be an enabler. However, this one seems to have kept a big chunk of recent Bat-happenings. I am kind of oddly bummed that Dick Grayson isn’t Batman anymore, but that’s probably partially due to how much I loved Scott Snyder’s Black Mirror story.

Anyhow, Batman goes up against a secret society called the Court of Owls that also has a tough assassin on their side. The Owls have been in Gotham a very long time, and they’ve apparently got a bone to pick with Bruce Wayne’s recent efforts at urban renewal.

Snyder continues to be one of the best Batman writers to come along in some time. I liked the idea that there was a secret society embedded into the very fabric of Gotham. I also loved how the Dick Grayson, Tim Drake and Damain Wayne have become Bruce’s family as well as his crime fighting partners.

However, there were a couple of elements that didn’t do much for me. The story with the Court of Owls trapping Batman and trying to brainwash him seemed a lot like the old Cult storyline from days of yore. And while I liked the concept of the Owls, what I really want is for Snyder to put Batman up against one of his arch-villains like Joker or Two-Face in an extended storyline.
Profile Image for Calista.
3,803 reviews31.2k followers
January 22, 2019
I have read a few Batman graphic novels and they have not impressed me. I was wonderfully surprised by this. It's been awhile since they've introduced a new villain in the Batman hall that was really good and decent. I think Harley Quinn was the last one back in the 90s cartoon.

The Court of the Owls is a great new villain, at least starting out. We see the Talon, their assassin give Batman a run for his money. The story starts out fairly normal and quickly someone threatens to kill Bruce Wayne. Then Batman is kidnapped and put through this psychological labyrinth and we see the Court of the Owls, who are very disturbing on their own.

We see how much power these Owls actually have over Gotham. I'm very impressed and I felt like it was a great new story for Batman, finally. Batman doesn't completely feel like himself, but it still makes for good storytelling. It's not so off that I feel it's wrong like the new Superman and Wonder Woman. That was too much and I haven't enjoyed reading those. This was good. There is lots to wonder about and see what happens. We see all the other Bat family just a little in the end. I look forward to reading more.
Profile Image for Shannon.
885 reviews221 followers
September 8, 2014

The New 52 reboots Batman as the capable Caped Crusader but this time around he has some blind spots in thinking he knows everything there is to know about Gotham City.

Enter the urban legend of the Court of Owls. Batman doesn't believe they exist (because he couldn't find any indication of them when he was an investigator boy so talk about a blind spot) and ignores the talk until the urban legend begins to reveal itself as it targets Batman.

“Beware the Court of Owls, that watches all the time, ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime. They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed, speak not a whispered word about them, or they'll send The Talon for your head.”

Batman's hubris puts him into a bad spot which leads to a torturous and extended arena scenario in which he discovers he has underestimated the urban legend. Purists of the old Batman may take issue with this outcome.

Artwork was excellent not just because of how it was drawn but the choice of presentation, especially when a whole page would divide up man panels and then one page would have only one incredibly large panel with great impact. I especially liked when a few pages at the end were upside down on purpose.

A script of the pages 21-24 is in the back.

Spoiler info below.


Profile Image for Scott.
1,707 reviews117 followers
March 6, 2020
"I have an apparently unstoppable killer running around Gotham with my name on his list." -- Batman

After reading average (Batman vs. Predator) or just plain blah (Batman: Damned) titles earlier this year it was refreshing to jump back into solid Dark Knight storytelling involving big action and suspense clothed in darkness. Yes - the 'World's Greatest Detective' gets to put his vaunted investigatory skills to work alongside the expected fisticuffs. In a nice change-of-pace, the adversaries involved are not drawn from the well-known colorful and outlandish 'usual suspects' line-up, but are instead a new and shadowy group. In a conspiracy-fueled plot, it is revealed that a clandestine and decidedly lethal cabal of owl-masked power brokers have been pulling the strings in Gotham City for the last several decades. One notable extended sequence involved Batman - too close to losing his sanity in said lengthy ordeal - trapped in a deadly maze with a would-be and seemingly unstoppable assassin.
Profile Image for Gianfranco Mancini.
2,191 reviews741 followers
January 8, 2022
Stupendo! La soluzione grafica adottata per accompagnare il lettore nella discesa nella follia del protagonista, all'interno del Labirinto, é geniale [niente spoiler :)].
L'"American Vampire" di Scott Snyder, personaggio alla cui creazione ha partecipato anche "un certo" Stephen King, é un gran bel fumetto che ha posto l'autore sotto i riflettori, il suo Batman é un capolavoro.

Profile Image for Dirk Grobbelaar.
550 reviews1,051 followers
February 4, 2014
I haven’t read all the New 52 titles (who has the time these days to read everything they’d really like to?), but so far I’ve been fairly impressed. There have been numerous reboots and retcons in the DC Universe, but the New 52 actually does feel like a fresh start and not just another attempt to cash in on the resurging popularity of comic culture.

There are quite a few New 52 Batman titles, and Batman #1 kicks off the Court of Owls arc. It’s a sinister and atmospheric tale about secrets, conspiracies and madness… and this is only the beginning. The art is very good, although I did feel that Bruce Wayne looks pretty young, considering that at this stage Damian Wayne is already Robin. The Talon is a good foil for Batman, and the tidbits of information regarding the interplay of owls and bats in the natural world are fascinating. Clearly the author gave this some thought, and it adds a lot of depth to an already good plot.

I knocked off one star from my original five star rating for the Maze sequence, which gets a bit weird for my taste. It’s worth mentioning, though, that in this story Batman comes dangerously close to meeting his match. It seems the writing team wants to emphasize the fact that, despite everything, he is only human / fallible. Great stuff all round.
Profile Image for Jeff .
912 reviews682 followers
December 11, 2013
The New 52 Batman under the authorship of Scott Snyder comes into being fully formed. It opens with a punch out at Arkham Asylum featuring Batman against almost his entire rogue’s gallery. The Joker backs him up!?! Fashion note: Nice touch Riddler sporting a question mark shaped hairdo, but you’re still dull as dishwater.

In this volume, the male sidekicks are all here: Nightwing, Red Robin and Damian, with NIghtwing playing the role of resident Batcave wit. Batman also is able to access his computer from anywhere. No idea what that means for Batgirl/Oracle, who doesn’t make an appearance in this volume.

In this storyline, an entrenched Gotham City secret society, who use the owl as their mascot (What? No love for duck-billed platypus), want to take over Gotham at Bats’ expense. Plenty of Bat sleuthing and fisticuffs. This is a fine story, but this first volume ends sadly on a “to be continued”. So get ready to shell out bucks for the continuation of this saga or hope the library has it in on its shelves.
Profile Image for Ray.
Author 16 books282 followers
March 27, 2021
While DC's flagship character Batman may still be overexposed, drawing attention away from the rest of that colorful science fiction universe, it can't be denied that he still makes for damn good stories.

After the New 52, DC went all in on producing an approachable Batman reboot in as high quality as possible, with author Scott Snyder (who has recently gone on to steer the whole universe with Justice League and Death Metal) and outstanding artist Greg Capullo. This whole series is worth it for Capullo's art if nothing else.

Even if this new book did disrupt my beloved Grant Morrison's Batman Incorporated, I'll forgive... weird how Batman was dealing with two different conspiracies ala Leviathan and the Court of Owls at the same time but whatever.

Anyway, Batman already has the best villains in comics. So it is a risk to create new ones to focus on, an ambition many writers try, which still makes me feel poor Bats is too stretched thin but if it's a good story I must admit it. The Court of Owls, and their assassin Talon, certainly make for compelling antagonists who fit well in this world. It's a bit of an age-old story, with even superpro Batman getting outsmarted and driven mad by evil organization that nearly destroys all of Gotham--again, Batman Inc was doing that at the *exact* same time.

But Snyder and Capullo's take, wow, what a ride.
Profile Image for Sam Quixote.
4,450 reviews12.8k followers
September 28, 2017
The book starts with the inmates of Arkham Asylum being set loose and I groaned, thinking Scott Snyder had fallen into using the template Batman story of the Dark Knight playing roundup with the villains but thankfully Snyder disposes of this tired trope quickly, almost as if he were winking “just kidding” before starting on something better. Bruce Wayne is threatened by an assassin called the Talon, a seemingly indestructible villain, used as hired muscle by a shadowy organisation called the Court of Owls, kind of like Ra’s Al-Ghul’s League of Shadows but creepier as they all wear blank owl-shaped masks.

The book is similar to “The Gates of Gotham” where the history and architecture of Gotham plays a big part of the story, with more background info on the Wayne family history and the history of Gotham. I like that Snyder is building up Gotham as a substantial character in itself as it is a fascinating place that’s always shrugged off by most writers as just a background element. Snyder plays on the gothic features of the city and the centuries it’s been around, crafting a story deep in mystery.

I’m not entirely sure how this book is placed within the current Batman story arc with Grant Morrison; it seems that Batman Inc. is up and running but I thought Dick Grayson had left the Nightwing persona behind and was now Batman full time, alongside Bruce et al. so it was surprising to see Nightwing back in this book. Maybe he moonlights as both?

There’s an excellent Morrison-esque trippy sequence where Batman is trapped in a labyrinth beneath Gotham where nightmares become reality and the shadows offer no respite. I thought Greg Capullo’s layouts in this section were especially inventive and well put-together to give the feeling of unease and dread that Batman was going through. I especially liked the single crazed eye of Bruce Wayne as he went through this sequence, very “Telltale-Heart”. Capullo’s artwork throughout is great, though I thought his design of the Talon was a bit similar to the main character of the “Assassin’s Creed” video games.

Scott Snyder continues to write interesting, thoughtful, and gripping Batman books and the only reason I don’t give this 5 stars is that there is much left unrevealed at the end (though it is a tantalising finale), but this is “Volume 1” so there is more to come. Snyder has begun an excellent series and any Bat-fans will find plenty to enjoy with this book. Can’t wait for volume two-oo (couldn’t resist, sorry)!

Extended review here!
Profile Image for Eric.
865 reviews74 followers
June 28, 2012
I was blown away by this graphic novel, which collects the first seven issues of "The New 52" reinterpretation of Batman. The hardcover book and dust jacket are beautiful, the artwork is gorgeous, and the storyline, which introduces The Court of Owls -- a new, worthy nemesis for Batman -- is enthralling. It is easily on par with the beginnings of Batman: The Long Halloween and Batman: Hush, which are my two favorite Batman arcs. I cannot wait for Volume 2 to see where this is going.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
December 6, 2015
I wrote this is October 2013 when I first read it:

Snyder seems to be particularly good with Batman stories. This is better than most. The art work, story, dialogue, all work.

I re-read it so I can move through the series and liked it even more. Snyder adds gravitas and style to the Batman story and Capullo's art is great. They know this stuff and create a nee (New 52) challenge for the Batman, that a Court of Owls has always been underneath all the Bad stuff in Gotham. The is basically a set up volume for the Epic Showdown, but it is very good, all around. One of the best Batman series ever.
Profile Image for Richard.
981 reviews353 followers
June 26, 2017
With his first volume in the New 52 Batman rebranding, Scott Snyder brings the Caped Crusader back to the basics! I'm normally not a fan of the Batman stories that feature him going up against monsters, aliens, or other super fantasy bad guys. I gravitate towards the stories that are more grounded. So I really enjoyed Snyder's take here. In this story, Batman goes up against a secret society that has ruled Gotham from the shadows all the way throughout history. It's an organization that exists in the minds of Gotham's citizens as a myth, especially with Bruce Wayne, who seems to refuse to believe that there is a villain that has eluded him all these years, and still manages to rule his city.

I love that the story really focuses on Batman being what he started out as, a detective, going into deep investigation mode to track down the people responsible for a series of mysterious deaths in the city. I really enjoyed the focus on Gotham's history, the legacy of the Waynes, and their relationship with the Court, building more levels on the Gotham City mythology. The fact that the shadowy Court is, for the most part, grounded in reality but still feels like they could be a major threat to Batman, really sets a level of tension that really works. There are some cool ideas here and let's see what happens in the sequel!
Profile Image for Molly™☺.
427 reviews13 followers
January 27, 2022
85% | A- | Amazing

"Bruce Wayne. The Court of Owls has sentenced you to die"

Bruce Wayne has received a death threat from a mysterious organisation known as The Court of Owls, and it's up to Batman to unravel the mystery, a mystery which is linked to the history of Gotham City and Bruce's past

Now, THIS is how I like my Batman. Snyder writes a dark and gritty Batman, and isn't afraid to delve into psychological horror and the consequences it has on a person. Bruce is physically and mentally worn down by The Court of Owls who know exactly how to get under his skin. However, he doesn't give up, displaying the resilience and fight which makes Batman such a formidable force to be reckoned with. Despite his unquestionable strength, the whole encounter takes its toll on Bruce because, below the hard exterior, lies a human man who does have emotions ( even if he tries to hide them ). It has the perfect blend of character development, action and emotional weight, all of which is wonderfully orchestrated through the writing and the visuals.
Profile Image for Kosta Voukelatos .
24 reviews18 followers
May 2, 2020
This is my first modern Batman graphic novel that i have read and i can say that it definitely gave me high expectations for the rest of this run. Firstly, the artwork by Greg Capullo was impressive and contributed greatly to the overall tone that the novel was going for. The writing by Scott Snyder was really well done and made for a mysterious and page turning story. I highly recommend any graphic novel/Batman fan pick this one up!
Profile Image for Lost Planet Airman.
1,234 reviews69 followers
January 22, 2019
Somehow, this book floated around my Goodreads account, review-less, for about 5 years. Thinking I had skipped it, I started it again, then filed it on my Fallen-Off-[the]-Shelves shelf.

So I just decided to clear up my confusion with a reread.

This is a pretty complex story. It has gritty, everyday-unsolvable-killer-on-the-loose Batman, until it twists and it has gritty, conspiracy-on-the-loose Batman. Another twist, and we play find-the-supervillain. Then gritty, crazed, against-all-odds Batman. Twist. Twist. Twist.

There were two, or maybe two-and-one-half plot threads that didn't work for me. I feel these threads needed heavy doses of suspension-of-disbelief. First, (half a disbelief) Batman relates that he is discounting the existence of The Court of Owls because, as a boy, he searched for a conspiracy behind his parents' deaths and there was nothing at the end of the trail. Remember, people, this is THE Batman, the most rational detective short of Holmes, and he lets himself be overruled by a boy's opinion. I can live with this one, but it really feels like filler or a rushed inclusion of a convenient plot device.

Second, (spoiler ahead) near the middle of this collection, Batman (deprived of his utility belt, I believe) is trapped, starved, dehydrated, tormented, sleep-deprived and beaten to near unconsciousness This, to me, is wa-a-a-a-a-ay beyond the limits of human physical endurance, even with the peak condition of the Batman.

Finally, yes, I know The Batman broods. A lot. But his escalating poor treatment of a teammate is just unconscionable. Ah well, I hope this makes sense to those readers with better empathy than me.

I think strong adults and late teen males will like these versions of Batman. Other groups may, or may not, enjoy this. Use at your own risk, and avoid operating heavy machinery while reading.
Profile Image for Sesana.
5,098 reviews348 followers
September 18, 2012
What did New 52 mean for Batman? Apparently... nothing. It seems like the Bat family books have picked up exactly where they left off. Where this will put them in the grand scheme of things come crossover time, I don't know. But let's forget that for the time being.

The Court of Owls is Gotham's mythical bogeyman association. As far as I know, it's a completely new innovation by Snyder, and it could open up a whole new line of storytelling for Batman. Bring on the paranoid conspiracies! Except that Batman, oddly, refuses to accept that the Owls are real, because he investigated them once, as a child. This was kind of a sticking point for me. I don't remember Batman being quite so arrogant about his own abilities before. But hey, I can buy it, especially if the rest of the story is good.

It is. I did start to lose patience with the attempted brainwashing Batman gets subjected to, especially since the action cuts directly to the almost-broken stage. There are, however, some very cool things about that sequence. Manipulating the orientation of the book to throw the readers off balance was brilliant. But the whole sequence lacked coherence. Intentional? I'll buy it, because it was certainly immersive. I didn't have to like it, though.

The art I can't really complain about, except that the chins were completely out of control. Some very nice touches in the art, including my favorite panel: Damian threatening a thug while Dick watches proudly. Nice call back to their time together as Batman and Robin.

There are flaws here, and the last page did make me break out my best Wicked Witch of the West impression, but the story overall is absorbing and paranoia-inducing creepy.
Profile Image for Sud666.
1,920 reviews156 followers
June 2, 2021
I've enjoyed Snyder's work on "American Vampire" and "Batman Black Mirror" and so when I saw that he'd penned a Batman run during the old New 52 stage I grabbed it. While nothing amazing, it was pretty good. The artwork, also, while not stellar, seems to work in concert with this historical mystery with a Gothic Gotham feel.

A mysterious murder puts Commissioner Gordon and Batman on the trail of a mythical organization. Once, legends told, there was a group of powerful families who instituted a secret ruling cabal to influence Gotham. Those that interfered with their plans were dispatched by elite assassins known as Talons. This is the story behind the Court of Owls.

It will lead Batman, and Bruce Wayne, on a strange journey through Gotham. As he learns old secrets about its founding and his own family history, it will turn out that the Court of Owls is very much real and on the hunt for a certain Batman.

On the whole? It was an interesting take on the usual Batman "lore". The Talons seem to be an interesting villain. Also, the Batman fight against the Talon was not only cool but trippy as well.

A nice Batman volume. Good artwork and an interesting story. Look forward to seeing where this story goes. So far? I like Snyder's Batman. Just one thing. The Whisper Gang? The ones who have their recruits wear a metal mask over their mouths for a year, to show loyalty, before they are removed? Um yeah...so...uh how do they eat? Sometimes comic writers tend to display sophomoric levels of intellect.
Profile Image for Hannah ◇ReaderintheRough◇.
198 reviews71 followers
June 1, 2020
I love the pictures, I love the story. My kid even picked this up and said "Wow!" (see picture)

Is it obnoxious that Batman is disbelieving of The Court of Owls? Yes. But unfortunately adults can be blindsided by legitimate truths. I've known adults who thought Mexico was a state. I currently know adults who think Trump will be a great president *stabs self in the eyes*

So yes, Batman can be skeptical of a myth.

Another of my daughter, because yes:

Profile Image for Mark.
1,301 reviews54 followers
September 10, 2022
I found this one is a secondhand sale and it impressed me a lot. Bat versus Owles, a whole society who wants to rule And retake Gotham from the elite of which Bruce Wayne is a part. And of course Batman is in the way too.
Dark with a part personal stake involved for the Batman. Great art and intelligent story.
Must seek out the volume 2 now, I prefer complete editions.
Profile Image for Read with Sandee ・❥・.
638 reviews1,304 followers
May 15, 2016
Beware the Court of Owls, that watches all the time, ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime. They watch you at your heart, they watch you in your bed, speak not a whispered word of them, or they'll send The Talon for your head.


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Yep! I wanted more! Stupid, fucking cliffie.

Anyways... First of all, I would like to thank all the people who recommended this to me!

It was... a thrilling read. I'm happy to say that I genuinely enjoyed this!

After reading The Court of Owls, I can now confidently say that Batman is not an immortal.

He is not a god. He does get hurt. He does go crazy too. In short, he is not as perfect as I thought he was, which was absolutely fine by me.

This is the first time (I think... i'm not good at remembering names) I've read anything by Scott Snyder, and it definitely would not be the last.

The Court of Owls was supposed to be an old nursery rhyme, at least, that's what Batman thought. What he doesn't know was, these demented group of people have been watching him for a while. They would stop at nothing to put Bruce Wayne down. But Batman, would never go down without a fight, they should have expected that.

There were blood. Tons of it. And I loved every minute of it. It was necessary brutality. I don't think any Batman comic book would be complete without it. I'm sure that says plenty about me. Naah. Not really. I'm not a violent person, nor do I enjoy seeing violence done to real people. However, it gives me some sort of satisfaction when Batman kicks some bad guy's butt. But of course, he had his ass handed to him quite a number of times in this.

I'm familiar with Dick Grayson, and who he is, but I haven't read anything that has him yet, that is, before this book. I would have to say that I really enjoyed his character. He is the type of character I would have a blast reading about.

I really liked how they built up the Court of Owls. As I was reading this, reading about how sinister this group is, it made me fear about what they could do to Batman. Batman could be a bit of an arrogant prick some times. He thinks he knows everything, which obviously, he doesn't. And the events that happened here, proves that.

I find it a bit convenient though that owls naturally hunt bats. What if Batman chose a different animal? Like a dog? or a cat? or a panther? Right panther won't work since Marvel has the rights for that guy. Sorry. That was a lousy joke I'm terrible at making jokes, sorry.

Anyways, overall, I really enjoyed the story. I did have some minor issues with the story-telling. It wasn't anything I could not ignore though, so that's all good. The illustrations were magnificent. Batman looked so good, I can have him for dinner. Just kidding. Not a good joke. Again. Sorry.

Right. Enough jokes. This ended up with a huge cliffhanger so here I am picking up the next one.
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