“Batman: The Night of the Owls” is the sort of comic book event graphic novels were created for. It’s an epic tale spread out across several of the Bat-Family books to show the impact the crisis had on our super heroes and Gotham City. Several different monthly titles are collected here including All-Star Western, Batman, Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Catwoman, Batman: The Dark Knight, Detective Comics, Batgirl, Batwing, Birds of Prey, and Batman and Robin.
The graphic novel collection delivers on several levels including action, suspense, drama, and humor. However, it misses the mark on one very important level. There’s really no mystery to be solved by the Dark Knight within “Batman: The Night of the Owls.” This means an important early element is missing from within its pages. I’m talking about the very thing the character has been known for his entire 70 plus years: his detective skills.
From the outset of the book, it’s already been established who the villains are and what they want. The adversaries are the Court of Owls and their deadly Talon assassins. They’ve controlled Gotham since before the turn of the century and want to continue their reign over the city. Batman and all his many family members are individually pitted against one of the deadly agents of death to bring their rule to an end.
That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the concept of “Batman: The Night of the Owls.” It’s interesting to see the different battles that take place throughout Gotham in one fateful evening. There’s also a lot of background information given about the founders of Gotham and the early individuals chosen to be Talons by the Court of Owls.
Several artists illustrating the same book can be a distraction from the main storyline many times. It works beautifully for “Batman: The Night of the Owls.” Different talents penciling the separate chapters within the book helps to put you in a different setting and frame of mind when transitioning between issues. There are too many artists to name here. They include Greg Capullo, Rafael Albuquerque, Tony S. Daniel, David Finch, Moritat, and many others.
The same can be said about the writing of the various chapters in “Batman: The Night of the Owls.” The different takes on the events of the night help to drop the reader into one adventure and into another by giving each its own identity. Scripting duties are handled by Scott Snyder, Tony S. Daniel, Kyle Higgins, Scott Lobdell, Gail Simone, Judd Winick, and several more top-notch writers.
Five pages of Character Design Sketches are included as a bonus. These early drawings consist of the different Talon “looks” throughout history. Artists featured on these pages include Greg Capullo and Moritat.
“Batman: The Night of the Owls” is an intriguing and entertaining read. This will appeal to those who enjoy delving into the history of Gotham City. It’s also a great way to see many of Batman’s companions in one book. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed the “Gates of Gotham” and “Court of Owls” story arcs.
“Batman: The Night of the Owls” is available now in a hardcover edition and Kindle download.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
“Batman Incorporated” Graphic Novel Review
Blu-ray Review: “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2”
“Batman: Eye of the Beholder” Graphic Novel Review