Wednesday, June 13, 2012

DAMN Good Comics -- BATMAN #10

At long last, ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a Big Bad.

The penultimate issue of the year-long Court of Owls storyline, titled "Assault on the Court," brings some much-desired answers to all the death, destruction and despair surrounding Batman and Gotham City since "The New 52" began.  Month after month, writer Scott Snyder has steadily built up one of the most epic Batman storylines in several years, pushing the Dark Knight to his limits and beyond.

Interestingly, the more Batman begins to piece together the true mastermind behind the Court of Owls, the more questions he ends up having.  Ultimately, his quest takes him to The Willowwood Home for Children, a former hospital for children suffering from mental illness and neurological disorders.  After being partially consumed by a sinkhole eighteen years ago, Willowwood is now dark and abandoned, a perfect place for Batman's nemesis to finally reveal himself.

Secrets are exposed as we learn that a man calling himself Thomas Wayne, Jr., Bruce's "brother that never was, from the other side of the mirror," is the one behind the Court of Owls.  Thomas claims that he was "born early, born hurt" after Bruce's mother Martha was in an accident while pregnant and he was hidden away at Willowwood until he healed.  However, this only brings up more questions -- Is Thomas really Bruce's brother or is he just delusional?  Or is Thomas really the villain Owlman from a parallel Earth?  We still have one more issue to go in this storyline, but it seems the classic issue World's Finest Comics #223 was a major source of inspiration for Thomas.

Artist Greg Capullo produces another stellar issue here, using shadows and lighting to superb effect in terms of mood.  His Batman continues to become more imposing with each issue, while the amount of detail he puts into backgrounds only enhances the creepiness of Snyder's script.  Rafael Albuquerque doesn't far as well in the backup story "The Fall of the House of Wayne, Part 2," but still conveys the appropriate tone to carry the additional background effectively.

So next issue is the conclusion to this incredible saga, Batman vs. Owlman, owl to bat.  Can't wait.

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