Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Batman #11: Court of the Owls finale.

Batman #11
Written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV
Art by Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, Rafael Albuquerque, Dave McCaig and FCO Plascencia
Lettering by Richard Starkings, Jimmy Betancourt, and Dezi Sienty
Published by DC Comics
Review by Lan Pitts
'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10
This is it. This is Rocky and Ivan Drago. He-Man and Skeletor. Cain and Abel. Batman #11 gives us the showdown that has been escalating for some time now. Does Batman prevail? Will Lincoln March live on to fight another day to haunt Bruce? Scott Snyder and the rest of Team Batman give us quite the battle, but nothing is ever black and white in Gotham City.
Jumping in right immediately from the last panel of the previous issue, Batman and his so-called brother duke it out all across Gotham with Lincoln getting the upper hand for the majority of the fight. When Bruce finally gets some hits in, he makes sure they count and the two cause some serious collateral damage to the city.
I think given the ending that Snyder has presented is the best route to have gone. Nothing is definite and gives Bruce a mystery he can't solve. The fact that Snyder also makes clear is how nobody owns Gotham is a poignant lesson. Lincoln has some great dialogue here as he's the main voice of the issue. His taunts to Bruce really show his mental instability and given time, will be a fine addition to the already legendary Batman rogues gallery. I do think that Bruce's ending monologue is a tad cliche at the end, and could have been punched up a bit. However, it is definitely an exclamation point for the end of this arc.
The back-up feature continuing Jarvis Pennyworth's story has more emotional weight, especially with Alfred and Bruce at the end. Alfred is more than the butler, or the confidant; he's the voice of reason. Both Bruce and Alfred lost somebody dear to them because of the Court, but where Bruce is determined to want to solve the mystery of Lincoln's heritage and put an end to the ambiguity, Alfred insists that they leave things at rest. This makes sense, and it adds to the whole overall lesson that Gotham is not just a city, but a force of its own.
You have great art teams on this. What can be said about Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, and FCO that hasn't been said over and over. They are just dynamite, and Capullo really has established himself as one of DC's top artists and shown a whole new generation why he's a superstar. He's definitely won me over and I'll be on the lookout for whatever he puts out in the future. The best thing about this art team, that even with the more weaker dialogue, the scenes are still elevated to greater levels because the visuals are just that strong.
Over at the back-up, the mainstay art team of Albuquerque and McCaig literally burn the roof off the place and handle both the intense moments and more subtle ones with ease and panache, you'd easily would want a Bat-book with just them.
Batman #11 gives its readers the finale to something nobody was really expecting: a year long arc that establishes not only a new villain, but a new premise about Gotham City. Bruce has been pushed to the edge and he still fights another day. It's a strong book and one certainly labeled a can't miss one to read. This might be the finale to "The Court of Owls," but it's not an end. Kudos, Team Batman. Kudos.