It’s a bit weird reading non-Bruce-Wayne Batman. Weird, though not wrong. The story weaves many of the elements used by the better bat-tales. Awesome locations (including an underwater lair with carnivorous sea creatures and a criminal auction house selling supervillain memorabilia), a detective story focused on crapping all over the Gordon family, and an appropriately philosophic appearance by the joker are all steps in the right direction. But at times things feel a little forced and some of the dialog could’ve used some work. And without Bruce’s brooding obsessiveness, these noir stories lose much of their appeal.
It seemed more episodic than the first volume, but still quite enjoyable. I’m fully on board with Mr. Freeze’s re-imagining, though I can certainly see why others would disagree. It opens with a great action segment, delves back into that great batman-style whodunnit, then ends the arc well. The new Talon doesn’t look nearly as awesome as the first, but I can live with that. I could live without the final story two stories in the collection, the first being a wholly unnecessary back-story tie-in, and the other a pandering story to younger readers about bullying.
Court of Owls is another hit for DC’s New 52. All the best batman stories have been mysteries, and this one is no exception. I ate up the concept, and the story is playing out well, touching on all the aspects of batman one could hope for. I can’t get enough of the new villain and my only complaint is he doesn’t show up often enough. I’ve enjoyed artist Greg Capullo since we was on Spawn, and he’s improved since then.
There seemed like several attempts to emulate the style of the excellent Alan Moore Swamp Thing of the 90’s, which I welcomed. The writing wasn’t quite up to his standard unfortunately, but I did still enjoy it. It’s odd how tied to Animal Man’s ongoing series, yet manages to make them each readable without the other. I would have preferred if he’d actually turned into Swamp Thing by the end, but I’m enjoying the melodrama.