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  1. #1
    Leftbrownie Alpha's Avatar
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    Default Explain the love for the Court of Owls / Night of Owls story?

    I was reading the stories as they were coming out in 2011-2012 and I understood the interest in the Court of Owls aesthetic, and Capullo's art in the Labyrinth, but the whole notion of another secret society in Gotham had me sort of uneasy because of how many stories like that we had already. As the story progressed I just got really bored and couldn't see the purpose of this whole thing. The Thomas Wayne Jr reveal really felt uninteresting, and even after learning that this story was supposed to be written while Dick Grayson was Batman (and that Dick would be the one with a secret brother) it became clear that it was done out of laziness and the lack of vision from Scott Snyder. This week I decided to go back and reread it and felt the exact same thing. This phase of Scott Snyder in particular reminds me a lot of how JJ Abrams tells stories, setting up big mysteries and tension around the resourcefulness of the protagonist while being out of his depth, but in the end no meaningfull place to go from there.

    I remember feeling the same thing with Death in the Family afterwards, and suddenly being surprised by how much I enjoyed Zero Year. After all this time I would like to hear from fans of the Court of Owls/ Night of Owls story arc. Could you explain why you appreciate the story after 10 years?

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    I'm with you in that I don't get the appeal of it. But I'm just operating off what I've heard, because so much of it sounded so bad to me (particularly the retconning history and tying crap to Dick, though yet another secret society wasn't exactly thrilling, either), so I can't actually offer an informed opinion.

  3. #3
    Extraordinary Member sifighter's Avatar
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    Let’s see for me personally it’s because it was a fun story with a creative team that I liked/still do that tried to tell a compelling story with a new idea at a point in time where we didn’t know exactly where continuity stood for the entirety of the dc universe.

    In other words it was a good time with good art that wasn’t just a new 52 retelling of Bane, Joker, or etc.
    "It's fun and it's cool, so that's all that matters. It's what comics are for, Duh."
    Words to live by.

  4. #4
    Extraordinary Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    I didn't know any secret society in Gotham before The Court of Owls and after New 52 there is no secret society in Gotham besides The Court. Black Glove is dead before New 52, Leviathan is only for an arc, there is no False Face society, or any cult whatsoever.

    I thought the Thomas Wayne Jr. reveal was cool because I never knew Bruce had a brother. I was actually disappointed that they don't do anything more about it. That he became just a generic villain.

    I still appreciate it because, aside from the aesthetic and the great pacing of the sequential art, it's a cool little mystery with ties to Gotham history. It doesn't just show up in Batman but in All-Star Western as well, which was set in Gotham in the 1800s, so world-building wise, it's consistent.

    One of the criticism is that there's no sign of Court before this, or why they didn't act during events like No Man's Land, but this is a new continuity that's only 5 years old, I don't even know if No Man's Land happened, so I have no problem with that.

    So basically The Court's only started to look silly to me once they decided to include everything in canon.

    Then it gets sillier once you realize that this global secret organization knows every member of the Bat fam by their real name and just twiddling their thumbs. the Bat fam's just continue on with their lives. The global version was undone by Nightwing and Spyral in just one arc and the Gotham version just sits in the underground. Yeah, they summoned Barbatos, but other than that, not much. They're barely a threat at this point.

    Oh right

    I don't like Haly's Circus being the recruitment ground for Talon because by principle, I don't like them messing with origin and home base for a character, similar to I don't like evil Thomas Wayne, Jor-El, and the reason Krypton exploding keep changing... but if I just view it as a story/lore set in a new, New 52 universe alone, then sure, whatever.

    My problem is in the meta/bigger picture of things, not in-universe, like... stop messing things unnecessarily. I don't like it, it's annoying, it's disrespectful sometimes, and it's hard to keep up.
    Last edited by Restingvoice; 01-25-2021 at 06:38 PM.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    I thought the Thomas Wayne Jr. reveal was cool because I never knew Bruce had a brother.
    I wouldn't swear to it, given the depth of Batman history and the various AUs, but I'd say you didn't know he had a brother, because he didn't have a brother. They retconned one into existence. Which the kind of retcon I hate. Because it's the sort of thing that absolutely would have had an impact on Bruce's life that we, having been following his life for well over a decade, would have seen. It doesn't make sense. But then, with a whole new universe...well I guess there's a lot of that. It's just not my taste.

    ties to Gotham history
    I get annoyed with everything tied to everything.

    I don't like Haly's Circus being the recruitment ground for Talon because by principle, I don't like them messing with origin and home base for a character, similar to I don't like evil Thomas Wayne, Jor-El, and the reason Krypton exploding keep changing... but if I just view it as a story/lore set in a new, New 52 universe alone, then sure, whatever.
    I get your perspective, and I think I would have been okay with some of it in another medium - movie, animated series, etc. But this was the universe when it came out, which makes it not okay to me.

  6. #6
    Leftbrownie Alpha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Restingvoice View Post
    I didn't know any secret society in Gotham before The Court of Owls and after New 52 there is no secret society in Gotham besides The Court. Black Glove is dead before New 52, Leviathan is only for an arc, there is no False Face society, or any cult whatsoever.
    All those you mentioned already prove that it's a concept that has been done again and again, the only new thing was the aesthetic. It's not even the oldest organization. And there are things like Order of Saint Dumas and League of Assassins also do similar things, specially the whole sleeper agents thing with Azrael (still different of course, but in the same vein)

    Quote Originally Posted by Restingvoice View Post
    I still appreciate it because, aside from the aesthetic and the great pacing of the sequential art, it's a cool little mystery with ties to Gotham history.
    It's not even much of a mystery. By the end of the story all that Bruce learns is that there is a secret organization that has manipulated Gotham through it's history. He doesn't learn some surprising things they did (other than the brother, which is so lame) or unexpected motives they have (it's just rich people stuff). All that happens is that he looks around for their location, and once he's there he finds out they wear those masks. Then it's just him escaping it and fighting Talons around the city and in the batcave. There are no grand realizations or character transformations, or shocking decisions. It's such a bland story that doesn't even have a particular mystery to be solved. The only mystery was "is this organization real and where do i find them?". That's it. They don't even have some amazing plan that is gonna change everything.

  7. #7
    Extraordinary Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpha View Post
    All those you mentioned already prove that it's a concept that has been done again and again, the only new thing was the aesthetic. It's not even the oldest organization. And there are things like Order of Saint Dumas and League of Assassins also do similar things, specially the whole sleeper agents thing with Azrael (still different of course, but in the same vein)

    It's not even much of a mystery. By the end of the story all that Bruce learns is that there is a secret organization that has manipulated Gotham through it's history. He doesn't learn some surprising things they did (other than the brother, which is so lame) or unexpected motives they have (it's just rich people stuff). All that happens is that he looks around for their location, and once he's there he finds out they wear those masks. Then it's just him escaping it and fighting Talons around the city and in the batcave. There are no grand realizations or character transformations, or shocking decisions. It's such a bland story that doesn't even have a particular mystery to be solved. The only mystery was "is this organization real and where do i find them?". That's it. They don't even have some amazing plan that is gonna change everything.
    Saint Dumas and League are not Gotham-based so I don't include them.

    A concept that has been done before doesn't mean it's not entertaining or different, for example, I find St. Dumas annoying, the League old news, and Black Glove too goofy. I like Leviathan though.

    Fine. Don't call it a mystery. Call it a thriller... or horror. I don't care about the terms. The point is I enjoy the pages when he slowly realizes that The Court is real as he investigates the bases, and the story of his childhood trying to investigate them but falling into their trap, or the idea that they secretly have been killing political opposition and even indoctrinate an orphan to believe he's Bruce's brother.

    The grand realization and character transformation is him realizing that he doesn't know his city as much as he thinks. Bruce wrote off the Court as he's confident that they can't possibly exist, so when he found out they did, he broke down.

    A grand amazing plan from The Court is not needed because if the idea is they've been controlling Gotham in secret since colonial times, then they already succeeded. They hold the status quo. They don't need to change much, they just need to carry on as usual, probably taking out a political opposition or two.

    Batman discovering them, and Lincoln March betraying them are what shake up their status quo. So they sent out all the assassins at once when they're usually doing it slowly.

    This story isn't about their rise, but their fall, a lot of them ended up dead and captured. At least until they're brought back in the next stories.

    ...by the way I don't really care if you like them or not. I like it, you asked why people like it, and I answered. If this is gonna be a debate, if you're gonna debate why I like it, or telling me why I shouldn't like it, then I'm not gonna continue. Just laying it out right now.

  8. #8
    Leftbrownie Alpha's Avatar
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    Yeah this shouldn't be a debate. Just trying to push for more thorough answers. Thanks

  9. #9
    see beauty in all things. charliehustle415's Avatar
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    I think the appeal is that they actually made Bruce ineffectual.

    Before Snyder's run you had Morrison who wrote Bruce as an unwavering, unstoppable, undefeatable Buddhist monk.

    So, I think people wanted a change and Snyder made Bruce the weakest he's been in over a decade.

    I love Morrison and I can tolerate Snyder, but this first act was amazing and it didn't hurt to have Capullo on art.

  10. #10
    Better than YOU! Alan2099's Avatar
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    I wouldn't swear to it, given the depth of Batman history and the various AUs, but I'd say you didn't know he had a brother, because he didn't have a brother. They retconned one into existence. Which the kind of retcon I hate. Because it's the sort of thing that absolutely would have had an impact on Bruce's life that we, having been following his life for well over a decade, would have seen. It doesn't make sense. But then, with a whole new universe...well I guess there's a lot of that. It's just not my taste.
    Bruce Wayne did have a brother back in pre-Crisis days. He was sent to a mental institution due to brain damage that left him mentally unstable. Bruce's parents intended to tell him about his brother when he was older, but they died before that happened. ... and then of course later he escapes and becomes a killer that murders people by using razor boomerangs.

    And then Deadman decides to keep his body as his new host.

    Isn't old Pre-Crisis DC stuff great!

    Considering he only showed up in two issues, it's not surprising that more people didn't know about the character.

  11. #11

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    It's a cool concept that came out at a good time. Fans have nostalgia for it or think it's a cool concept that needed another pass.

    For me personally, I'm cool with them being the villians for another Batman Arkham game or the Matt Reeves film.

  12. #12
    Leftbrownie Alpha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the illustrious mr. kenway View Post
    It's a cool concept that came out at a good time. Fans have nostalgia for it or think it's a cool concept that needed another pass.

    For me personally, I'm cool with them being the villians for another Batman Arkham game or the Matt Reeves film.
    I'm asking about the 12 issue double story arc from Batman 1-7 and 8-12. Beyond the identity of the aesthetic of the city itself, do you like the story itself? In particular, do you like the second part from 8-12 after Bruce escapes their base and the Talons start attacking the city? If you do then please explain what you appreciate about it to someone like me, who thought there was a lot of hype but the Owls ended up not doing anything interesting, and the second part was completely unecessary.

  13. #13
    Mighty Member SixSpeedSamurai's Avatar
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    Batman: Gates of Gotham leads directly into it from a history prespective.
    Pulls: Batman, Detective Comics, Star Wars, Crossover, Commanders in Crisis, Something is Killing the Children, Flash, Nightwing, and Iron Man.
    My runs: Batman #245- and Detective #438-.

  14. #14
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    A villain with political influence that knows Gotham better than Batman and can send assassins go after his political opponents & Batman? I think Penguin could easily be written to be that kind of villain for a story.

    The Court of Owls is supposed to be a secret society that works in the shadows to keep the status quo in Gotham. Writers try to make them look really powerful by giving them their own army of assassins to eliminate people who could potentially shake up the status quo in Gotham or expose their existence. However in comics reality they dont do much when you see Batman & other villains are the actual ones that are running the show in Gotham. Batman is not being hunted down by the Court and still out there fighting against organized crime while his villains are free to kill, cause mass chaos & destruction and escape Arkham Assylum. Also logicwise having an army of assassins with a unique aesthetic would undermine the secrecy of the organization.
    Last edited by prepmaster; 01-27-2021 at 06:59 AM.

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member Nite-Wing's Avatar
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    an original idea in Batman comics
    a popular new villain talon
    secret old timey history of gotham steampunk motif
    a unused eat the rich type of gimmick that is never seen in batman villains

    I get why they are so popular
    I didn't think they'd be good enough to stick around after snyder was gone but a decade later and DC is still using them

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