Comic History 101: Batman: The Court of Owls

Picture Source: [Accessed: 20/04/2016]

Last week we had a look at the new 52 and the flagship Justice League book by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. However, with every era of DC comics comes a new era of Batman and the New 52 heralded a fantastic new chapter in the Dark Knight’s life. When the New 52 was poised to launch the world of comics was starting to recover from Grant Morrison’s, frankly insane, run on Batman and Robin. The run had seen everything from Bruce’s death and resurrection to the launch of a global Batman network. It was madness from top to bottom and I, along with many other fans, felt like it was time for Batman to get back to some sense of normality.


Picture Source: [Accessed: 20/04/2016]

In  an interview back in 2012 with Comic Book Resources Snyder talked about the inception of The Court of Owls saying: “I actually started thinking about this story back when I was on ‘Detective Comics.’…I was really interested in this story that would pit Bruce against this historical enemy of Gotham. I wanted to use the symbol of the owl because of both the mythological baggage that it would bring to the Bat Universe and also because I felt like it was just a genuinely and objectively creepy symbol we could get behind for new fans also.” Snyder used these concepts as a basis to create a brand new Batman enemy, The Court of Owls. The Court acted as a sort of mysterious illuminati who had been controlling Gotham for years. They also served as a manifestation of Gotham and presented Batman with the possibility that his city didn’t want or need his help.

Picture Source: [Accessed: 20/04/2016]

Even though Snyder intended the run to come out in the pre-52 universe, Batman The Court of Owls became a flagship book for the New 52, charting some of the highest sales for a Batman in recorded history. Across the entire first arc, Snyder’s series sold at a record high, competing with John’s Justice League  for top sales each month, and as high reviews rolled in the graphic novel saw even greater sales. The series was met with great general and critical acclaim as it was presented with a slew of five star ratings from both meta-critical websites, such as Amazon and Good Reads, and critical sources, including the New York Times and IGN. This was mostly due to the originality of the concept and the strong pacing of the book as well as Greg Capullo’s exceptional art.


Picture Source: [Accessed: 20/04/2016]

 The impact of Court of Owls was a lasting one as Snyder, to this day, has remained as current writer and continuity curator of Batman. Snyder’s vision for Batman’s enemies, and the way they reflect upon the Dark Knight, has continued to permeate across the majority of Batman series. The series demonstrated the depth which Batman can reach with internal introspection and this has lead to more series looking to these aspects of the caped crusader, most notably in the recent Batman and Robin Eternal series and Batman Europa. Next week I’m going to shift the focus over to Image Comics and Matt Fraction’s Sex Criminals.

…That was this week’s Comic History 101!!! Check back on Friday for a brand new Covert Coot article!!!

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