The New 52 Batman #4 Face The Court is yet another expertly constructed story that’s gifted to us by the word balloons of Scott Snyder and the eerie artwork of Greg Capullo. It is another slow paced issue, just like the issue before. But that’s ok because the story is riveting and creepy and most of all mysterious that your eyes just continue to stay glued to the pages of this story. Just like issue 3, the reader gets rewarded at the end of the issue with yet another wonderful cliffhanger.
We start off this issue at the cliffhanger from the end of the last issue. Batman is directly in the middle of an exploding room and is less than seconds away from becoming toast. Batman runs, dodges and dives through the fire, rubble, and big ass owl coin towards a wall. A wall that he lasers through and then spins mid-air and grapples towards safety. It’s a beautifully constructed sequence with spectacular artwork and colors. The internal monolog is calm and in control. The way Batman likes it!
Almost Dead but Still Working
Back in the Bat-Cave, Bruce Wayne converses with Dick Grayson (and his Bat-Computer). Dick (Nightwing) expresses his concern about Bruce Wayne’s health and is worried because he escaped death twice now in such a short space of time. Bruce, being the obsessed man that he is, ignores Dicks comments and continues to study the skeleton remains of his great-grandfather Alan Wayne. Bruce believes that somehow Alan Wayne is the key to unraveling this court of owls mystery. It was on the 13th floor of his buildings where Bruce discovered all those “owl nests”.
Never let your emotions guide you on a case
Bruce Wayne stops Dick Grayson before he leaves and tells him,”There is no court of owls, I know because I looked into it”. And when did he look into it? When he was a kid. Shortly after his parent’s death. At that point in time, he suspected that the court of owls might have had something to do with his parents being murdered. In a creepy yet beautifully drawn flashback sequence, Bruce tells a story of a time when he first made use of his detective skills. A time when he uncovered a room in a house which he believed to be the headquarters of the court of owls. It was a dead end and nothing came out of it. Except for one of the most valuable lessons he will learn in regards to being a detective. “Never let your emotions guide you on a case”.
Welcome, Batman to the Labyrinth
Batman stands up Jim Gordon, who is seen waiting next to the Bat-Signal. He is simply obsessed with the notion of uncovering and unmasking the Talon. And also hell bent on proving that this court of owls fraternity does not exist. He enters the sewers in the very spot where Alan Wayne was found dead. He discovers some strange residue on a wall and examines it. The Talon breaks trough the wall and grabs Batman and dumps him into a Labyrinth. Batman is then greeted by 3 well-dressed executives in those creepy owl masks.
Not much again in terms of action. The first 4 pages were about it. It may have been a split second but the amount of artwork and story that went into those panels are insane. The flashback scenes were exquisite. Apart from an old school filter being used to touch up every panel, the artwork and colors differed page by page. They seemed to be following some sort of theme. This sequence made up a big portion of the middle of the issue and can be seen as the highlight of the issue. I love how Batman gets pushed into a corner by the court of owls and I can’t wait to see how he gets himself out of this one in the next issue.
The standout image from this issue no. 4 has to be the first page. Batman stepped on a trip wire which caused the explosion. It is one of the few mistakes he could make. But he still knows how to handle the mistake because, Well, He’s Batman!
Batman New 52 Issue 4 – Release Date – December 2011