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Batman: “The Court of Owls” and “The City of Owls” (DC Comics, 2011; #1-12)

Greetings, Bat-fans. Over the weekend, DC announced Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Dark Nights event. We don’t know a whole lot about it yet, but Snyder has said that he and Capullo have been seeding elements of the event since their "City of Owls" arc in Batman.

Since it’s in the news (and that seems like a good excuse), let’s talk about their "Court of Owls" and "City of Owls" stories.

These two arcs essentially form one year-long story. In its first half, Batman finds himself up against an organization whose very existence he dismissed as fairy tale. Snyder takes the idea of an infallible Caped Crusader who has a plan for everything and breaks him down in "The Court of Owls". He doesn’t know everything about his city. He can lose a fight, a battle—maybe even the whole war. And by the time it’s all said and done, full-scale war breaks out—that’s "The City of Owls".

Much of Snyder’s tenure as Batman writer revolves around Bruce’s failures. It’s a human, psychological take on the character. In interviews, he has been candid about the Dark Knight’s weaknesses coming out of his own fears and anxiety. His Batman is flawed and much more interesting than the, “I’m Batman, so I have a plan and will always win,” approach.

Greg Capullo is a beast of an artist. We’ve talked at length about his work on Reborn on the podcast, but he’s no slouch on Batman either. And Glapion’s inks and FCO’s colors are a good match for him; they make it easy to focus on what matters without sacrificing detail. Other artists cycle through for backups and the Annual  (or in Becky Cloonan’s case, for issue #12). It’s a murderer’s row of talent. Because they kill it. It’s a great-looking book.

If you’ve missed this run of Batman, you should check it out. Not only because of Dark Days, either. It’s a humanizing take on the character, and it’s going to live on every “Best Batman Runs” list written from here on out.

Collected in

  • Batman, Vol 1: The Court of Owls (#1-7)
  • Batman, Vol. 2: The City of Owls (#8-12, Annual #1)


Writer: Scott Snyder | Co-Writer: James Tynion IV |  Artists: Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, Rafael Albuquerque, Jason Fabok, Becky Cloonan, Andy Clarke, Sandu Florea | Colorist: FCO Plascencia, Dave McCaig, Peter Steigerwald, Nathan Fairbairn | Letterers: Richard Starkings, Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt, Sal Cipriano, Dezi Sienty, Patrick Brosseau

The Infinite Loop (IDW, 2015; #1-6)

Godkiller: “Walk Among Us, Vol. 1” (Black Mask Studios, 2015; #1-3)