STORY: Scott Snyder
ART: Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion
** HEAVY SPOILERS. READ ISSUE BFORE READING REVIEW**
Now that “Night of the Owls” is over, most of the other Bat-books have gotten back to their regularly-scheduled story arcs, except for Batman, Scott Snyder’s golden series that cannot seem to do any wrong. Every month, Snyder and Greg Capullo combine intricate, devastatingly good narrative with sharp, clean art that actually conveys emotion and behavior. Basically, Batman has been a joy to read and look at since issue one. Every month, I sit back after reading Snyder’s work and just think about how good it was – I don’t write the review immediately, and I don’t reread it again for a few hours. I like to go over the events, think about how Capullo’s artwork makes Snyder’s words even better, and how everything is always leading to something bigger. Batman #10 keeps Bruce on the trail of the Court of Owls, intent to take them down for good.
In fact, Bruce tracks them down to Harbor House, the building he ventured into decades earlier, hoping to connect the Court of Owls to the murders of his parents. As a boy, he found nothing, but this time, Batman knows the Court is there; he knows that he’s got them all cornered.
Until he discovers they’re already dead.
Honestly, this first act of the issue is pretty anti-climactic. The Court has been a chilling presence to be reckoned with since it’s first images in Batman #1 back in September. Their owl masks and dapper appearances made them villains with an intense duality of enigmatic means and public wealth. Not unlike the best secret societies throughout the history of human culture, the Court’s power comes from their secrecy and their secrecy comes from their power. Snyder is forced to take out the entire Court with a mass suicide through poisoned wine in order to advance the story to it’s conclusion. Ever the skeptic, Bruce makes sure the members of the Court are legitimate before descending into frustration.
The second – and shortest – act of the issue shows us Bruce’s detective skills telling him it doesn’t add up; the Court’s collective suicide was a facade for something bigger.
I’m just going to come out and say it:
LINCOLN MARCH IS BRUCE’S BROTHER, THOMAS WAYNE JR.!
The final act of Batman #10 brings back Lincoln March after his swift death at the hands of a Talon last month. In a grand, final twist in the entire “Court of Owls” saga, Scott Snyder reveals that Lincoln March is actually the youngest Wayne son, defective at birth and sent to live at a children’s hospital to heal. When the Wayne’s were suddenly murdered, Junior was lost to the system, leaving him ripe for the picking by the Court as a moldable man – someone they could build and change to suit their needs. It’s a pretty devastating reveal (one that will have ramifications for years to come, I’m sure), not to mention Lincoln/Tommy-J. injected himself with the reanimation syrum before the Talon got to him. Yep, he’s a zombie now. And he’s got the Court’s newest Talon armor they had been developing before they decided to reanimate the old Talons. The issue ends with the new Owlman lunging toward Batman with the hate only a long-lost brother can harbor.
It was a pretty bold decision to not only introduce Bruce’s brother, but also to revamp him as Owlman, a character that has traditionally been an evil, alternate version of Batman from the parallel Earth-3. I’m not sure how much I like these decisions yet, but they’re HUGE nonetheless.