Thursday, July 5, 2012

Batman #10

The first dozen times I looked at this cover, I thought Batman was holding an egg. I just realized it's a mask of one of the Owls.

Is this it? The final chapter in The Court of Owls saga? Or will it never truly be over? Will Batman defeat the Court of Owls and return to the Batcave to have a joke and a healing cup of tea with Alfred while the scene shifts to show a bunch of babies in Owl masks with a real owl vomiting into their mouths to nourish them for their revenge on Batman around issue #240? Probably!

Batman begins this issue pissed the fuck off. He's tired of these owls. He's exhausted. He just wants his fucking city back. It's time for the Bat to put some fear into a group of people who have never known it.

The Narration that precedes this scene actually sounds an awful lot like Liefeld's narration at the beginning of Deathstork Deathstroke #10. Except it's not silly and vapid like Liefeld's was. Maybe I'm just fucking biased!

Batman has just trashed Joesph (that's how it's spelled in the Narration Box but Maria later says Joseph. Do I believe the wife or the omniscient narrator?!) and Maria Powers house because he wants them to know how it feels to have somebody in your home without your knowledge. He wants them to feel how he felt when he discovered they were in his city. He wants the owls to now fear the bat. He has become the...

Hee hee hee. Thirty minutes of photoshopping for such a juvenile change!

Batman's terror tactics work and Maria Powers calls up her husband as soon as Batman leaves. Of course he and Alfred are working to trace that call. No doubt Batman will have a list of the entire Court by lunch. Unless it's currently evening and then I meant by fourthmeal.

Joseph Powers' phone cannot be precisely traced by Alfred because he notices it is in an area of Gotham with some sort of blackout that he can't break through. Batman realizes where it is. He remembers the place. It's Harbor House, the building he went to as a small child when he was obsessively searching for the Court of Owls after his parents had been killed. That time, he didn't find anything. But this time, he knows they're here.

Batman might be angry enough to kill tonight!

But he's not going to get the chance. He finds 22 Owls sitting at a long table, dead from poisoned wine. They've robbed him of his ass kicking. Now Batman's going to go home all pent up and take it out on Robin and Alfred and Titus and Bat-cow.

Over the next week or so, Batman can't get the Court of Owls out of his mind. None of it makes sense. He knows there has to be something he's missing because it all seemed to end too smoothly to get Batman off the scent. The names of the Owls he received from Lincoln March were all dead. But money was still being taken from their accounts. And the organization was a whole lot bigger than 22 people. After all these years, Bruce still can't shake the feeling that the Court of Owls had something to do with his parents' deaths. And then he sees something in a portrait of his mother and father that sets him running. Is it an owl or crime ring on his father's hand? I can't tell.

Whatever it is that reminds him [EDIT: his mother's crooked heart pin which March says his mother wore in his earlier story to Bruce], he heads to the morgue to find Lincoln March's body gone and a note saying, "Follow me down the rabbit hole?" This leads Batman to the place where Lincoln March supposedly grew up: The Wildwood Home for Children. Batman makes the connection because the place has been abandoned for many years and a sinkhole has opened up beneath it. There to meet him is the reanimated corpse of Lincoln March. Well, not Lincoln March, exactly.

Fuck me! As soon as Lincoln March compared his childhood to Batman's, I figured he was the Talon. So far off and yet so close.

So, so, so very far off! Lincoln March claims to be Bruce Wayne's brother, Thomas Wayne Jr. He claims that he was born premature and sick and the Waynes put him in Wildwood which was a premier hospital for children. But then its biggest donors died, Bruce and Martha Wayne, and the hospital turned into an asylum that neglected the children in its care. The Court of Owls took Lincoln (or Thomas!) under their wing and trained him to be a new Talon with an advanced suit to rival Batman. And now he wants to finish the sibling rivalry.

Just before the conflict begins, the story ends. To be concluded in Batman #11! Will Batman and his newly found brother learn to get along so that Thomas Wayne, Jr. can be the star in the new upcoming Talon comic? Or will that just be some new whippersnapper that takes over the suit? I guess I'll find out in a few weeks!

The back-up story is Part 2 of 3 of The Fall of the House of Wayne in which Jarvis Pennyworth dictates a letter to Alfred about why he hopes that Alfred will not remain with the Waynes. Jarvis tells the tale of Martha wanting to create a school for exceptional children while she is pregnant with the Wayne's second child. Agents of the Court of Owls (not that Martha knew they were Owls) threaten Martha's unborn child's life. They even try to get Jarvis to bring Martha to them. But he refuses and tells Martha of the threat. She will not be terrorized. So she insists Jarvis take her and Bruce to look at the school she is planning. But on the way, they have an accident at the intersection of Lincoln and March. And that's the end of Part Two.

I like the way Snyder is using the back-up story to compliment the main Court of Owls story. It looks like Bruce does have a brother! Although, technically, his brother is now dead and simply reanimated. So that sucks.

Batman #10 Rating: No change! This issue only solidifies this damn comic's place at #1. Ten issues down and it's consistently been the best comic in The New 52. I don't think it's held any rank but #1 in my rankings. Which probably just means I'm a Scott Snyder fanboy even though this and Swamp Thing are the only books I've ever read by him.

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