Thursday, 16 April 2015

Batman #10 [The New 52] - DC Comics

BATMAN No. 10, August 2012
“Assault On The Court” resolves a lot of questions concerning the direction “DC Comics” and writer Scott Snyder have been taking “The New 52” Caped Crusader since his title’s reboot in 2011. And whilst the vast majority of these answers make perfect sense with hindsight, such as why artist Greg Capullo received so much fan criticism for drawing “Lincoln [March] looking a little bit like Bruce [Wayne]”, the book’s overarching revelation is a rather unsettling one which breaks the accepted mythos of the infant Batman’s formative years.

Admittedly the concept of the Dark Knight having a brother is far from a new twist as Thomas Wayne Junior actually first appeared within the pages of “World’s Finest” back in June 1974. Nor for that matter is the idea that the billionaire’s sibling is disconcertingly a deranged mass murderer. But for many followers of canon the character sits far more comfortably as the alter ego of the parallel earth-based super-villain Owlman, and is someone best forgotten within the continuity of Prime Earth.

Issue Ten of “Batman” turns this stance completely upon its head and not only reintroduces the concept of Thomas and Martha Wayne having had another child. But that the boy’s premature birth resulted in him ultimately becoming both one of the Court of Owls and arguably, their greatest immortal Talon; equipped with a tough modern suit “to rival the Batman.”

It also provides Capullo with another opportunity to illustrate the Caped Crusader donning his ‘World’s Greatest Detective’ persona and treating the comic’s 130,265 strong readership with panel after panel of well-detailed atmospheric drawings, as a grizzled vigilante first returns to Harbour House to discover the mass murder of twenty two members of the Court of Owls, and then follows his brother to the derelict disused corridors of the Willowwood Home for Children.

Having ended with such a “Wayne to Wayne. Brother to brother… Owl to Bat” cliff-hanger all attention is then turned towards the middle instalment of Snyder’s collaboration with James Tynion IV, “The Fall Of The House Of Wayne”. A somewhat curtailed seven-page short story, which makes all the more sense now the American writer has revealed the presence of a second claimant to the Wayne legacy. Unfortunately in telling this tense tale the narrative disappointingly leaps from present to past and then back again with infuriating regularity and is alarmingly cut short by a third gruesomely graphic five-pager entitled “American Vampire: Lord Of Nightmares”. A tale which has nothing to do with Batman but irritatingly everything to do with the publisher trying to advertise Snyder’s latest five-issue limited series.
The variant cover art of "BATMAN" No. 10 by Rafael Albuquerque

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