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Batman #11

Written by Scott Snyder

Art by Greg Capullo

Back Up by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV

Back up art by Rafael Albuquerque

Beginnings are easy, they are free of expectations and are full of promise, it’s endings that are hard. Endings are full of hanging plot threads, unfinished character arcs, and questions that need answering.  The truth is, a story conclusion can often mar a reader’s memory of an otherwise stellar narrative experience. Batman has been my book of the New 52, and over the ten months since its inception, writer Scott Snyder has been steadily crafting a Dark Knight opus for the ages. So, it was with both anticipation and fear that I opened the pages of Batman #11. Would Scott Snyder wrap up his Court of the Owls storyline as well as he began it? Does he pay off the giant reveal he set up in issue #10? The answer to both these questions is an equivocal  yes, because even though the issue does not have the same uniqueness as its predecessors, it’s still a tightly written and entertaining finale to the this stellar story arc.

You may be asking yourself, if the story is engaging and well crafted, why my positive criticism comes with caveats? The answer to that dear reader is this, heavy is the head that wears the crown. If this had been the conclusion to a good story, or even a really good one, I have the feeling I would be completely satisfied right now. However, Snyder has been working at such a high level that anything less than spectacular feels out of place. Make no mistake, I would still recommend people buy all these issues, but in the minutia of what separates the levels of greatness it comes in slightly below numbers 1-10.

Even as type I these words I can feel my inner voice saying, “you are being unfair.”  This is a kick ass Batman story, that features a hell of a fight, packs an emotional punch, and features a back up that is quite stellar. Snyder doesn’t skimp on the reveal he set up in issue #10, delving deep into the reasoning and validity behind it, but leaving it up to the reader to decide what they really believe.  Whether or not this pay off is satisfying depends upon your expectations, but I found it to be open ended in a way that left me quite intrigued. Would I have liked to see Snyder take the plunge and irrevocably change the Batman universe?  Yes. But I have a feeling we haven’t closed the book on the Court of Owls, so I’m not passing judgement just yet.

Greg Capullo’s pencils in Batman #11 continue to be a standout.  Here he is asked to craft a fight scene that goes from warehouse, to skyline in quick order and the sense of movement and physicality is amazing. The backup is again tackled by Rafael Albuquerque and it is once again stunning and scary in equal measure. As is the writing by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV who have made “Fall of the House of Wayne” a piece of essential Batman storytelling.

VERDICT

Buy it – It’s not the best issue of Scott Snyder’s Dark Knight run, but Batman #11 is still better than almost all other superhero comics today. The art by Greg Capullo continues to be outstanding, and the back up is powerful gothic story telling. This may not go down as one of the best endings, but the journey it took to get here was downright genius. Think about it, in under a year Snyder has introduced an iconic new villain and redefined what Gotham represents. So, I say cheers, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

 

 

 

 

 

6 Responses

  1. speederice

    I felt the same way about the wrap-up. I was hoping for a little bit more from our villain, after getting so much info dumped on us in the beginning of the issue. But it’s like they say, always leave ’em wanting more. My fav part had to be Bruce and Dick’s interaction. Just a great moment between the pair. Great review, and very fair!

  2. RepStones

    Good review. Kinda sums up how i feel. For me, Snyder sits on the fence too much. It’s too open ended for my taste. Im not asking for a Morrison-esque universe changing twist, but even if Snyder had determined that March wasn’t Bruce’s brother, we still have the mystery of the true origins of the court of owls and if they are finished for good.
    That said, the dichotomy between March and the Court of Owls was great, with each thinking they are ultimately pulling the strings of the other. The fact also that Bruce has the captured Talons in a cryo-prison is obviously a little nod to possible future ‘Owl arcs’
    . its just humming and hahing over whether or not march is really Bruce’s brother is where i feel this finale is weakest.
    The final scene between Bruce and Dick is immense and in a way we see that batshit crazy as Lincoln march might be, he has actually taught Bruce a valuable lesson. Lincoln explains to Bruce how he spent years waiting on his brother to come get him, how that ultimately selfish brother never arrived. Bruce states he was only planning the initiative to have more look-outs and bases for Batman to operate from so it was being done in a kinda selfish way, but he now realises that Gotham isn’t Batman or the Court of Owls, but it’s “all of us”. He’s going to rebuild Gotham for Gotham’s sake.
    With regard to the art, Capullo nails it again from the small enclosed fist fight scenes to the citywide expansive air sequence. My only criticism here would be Batman being able to pull himself out of a massive speeding jet engine and that iron-man type jet suit that the Ultimate Owl/march is wearing…really? I know, i know, we have 200 yr old assassins coming back from the dead with a serum in this arc, but just those bits were kinda meh for me.
    However the final citywide fight scene was an important analogy for what and where the two men stood, each thinking he ‘owned’ Gotham in a way, so to have the 2 of them duke it out through and actually literally over Gotham was pretty cool. So in that respect perhaps the owl’s jet suit was a requirement.

  3. RepStones

    Just to add, that with the joker popping up in this next arc – part of me would love another 11 issue epic, but i have to admit, there is a part of me that would also love a nice short classic Joker arc – cops and robbers style almost. Old school if you know what i mean. But Snyder is such a good writer on such a rich vein of form at present, that i doubt it’ll be anything like that.

    • Bobby Shortle

      He’s all ready said that “Death of the Family” is going to be his big, epic exploration of the Joker, his Killing Joke, or Arkham Asylum, so I wouldn’t hold your breath for something small.

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