Batman & Robin #23.2 (DC)

B+R 23.2

Rating: 4/5 – Dark, detailed art brings this creepy story to life.

This stand alone Villains Month issue dives into the history of the Court of Owls.  This issue had a great structure in telling multiple stories from multiple time periods within the same issue, while also getting you excited for what will come next in the monthly Talon series.  I was pleasantly surprised at just how well writer James Tynion IV was able to capture my attention with each little story he tells, all while weaving the main story in and out through the entire issue.  And the art by Jorge Lucas…it was the perfect fit for this haunting story.

The issue opens up in 1974 Gotham City and throughout the issue keeps going further back into Gotham’s past.  Within each time period we see how the Court of Owls have infiltrated it’s way into all aspects of Gotham’s society.  When reading this issue I felt a nice “EC Comics” vibe, as each little story had a nice twist to it showing just how scary and powerful the Court of Owls can be.  For example, one of the stories taking place in 1914 has the mayor unknowingly doing business with the Court of Owls as they look to keep unions out of Gotham.  It’s a well told tale that in just a few pages shows just how menacing the Owls can be.  It’s all the more creepier because of Jorge Lucas’ art.

Lucas and colorist Dave McCaig choose to use heavy blacks in this issue that fit the past and present day Gotham City.  The dark lines fit so well with the industrial look of early 1900’s Gotham, as well as the late dark Victorian 1800’s Gotham settings.  Lucas and McCaig also make the Owl’s masks stand out by almost highlighting them amongst the shadows.  I’d love to see the main Talon series use this art team to tell more stories like this, as the Court is such a great concept that when combined with the rich history of Gotham, can create plenty of compelling stories.

As mentioned above, I was really surprised at just how much I enjoyed this issue.  It’s got me excited for what’s to come and I look forward to seeing what artist Jorge Lucas will do next.  Here’s hoping it’s more Court of Owls stories!

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas – Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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