Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Comic Review -- Batman #8: Attack on Wayne Manor; and, The Call / Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion

This series has done a tremendous job with its covers and this one is no exception.  Bruce, out of costume, alone, taking on a horde of the Court of Owls' Talons by himself.  It's pulse-pounding, terrifying, and makes you desperate to know what's going on.  Best of all: this scene is actually in the story!  Love it!

Bruce is back at home, contemplating how little he knows about Gotham, the city he's supposed to know better than anyone else.  While he and Alfred talk, a noise alerts Bruce that someone is trying to enter Wayne Manor.  He orders Alfred to get to the Batcave, and soon ends up in a confrontation with several Talons, who seem to have swarmed upon the Mansion.  Bruce fights them off long enough to get to Alfred in the cave, where they are faced with another swarm of Talons, all of whom taunt and threaten Bruce and Alfred.

Managing to secure themselves in the Batcave's armory, Bruce hands Alfred a chip from one of the Talons's gauntlet.  He then puts on a heavily armored Batsuit and marches out among the Talons, telling them to get the hell out of his house.  That's where the second story, "The Call," picks up.  As Bruce begins to face off with the Talons, Alfred discovers they're all moving on a long list of targets throughout Gotham, mostly high-ranking politicians in the city.  Many of them are being assassinated even as Bruce and Alfred confront theirs.  He then sends out a call to all allies of Batman that the assassins of the Court of Owls are moving against Gotham tonight.  The Talons continue to taunt Alfred as well, as he wonders how they can possibly survive this assault.

Oh.  My.  God.

I knew this issue was going to be big.  It can't be small when you've got an army of Talons jumping off into the city to due the Court's bidding at the end of the previous issue.  I've been impressed with Scott Snyder's writing throughout this run, and knew the last issue was the build-up to a big explosion of action in this issue.  And I was still unprepared for how gripping and awesome this issue was as the Talons descended upon Wayne Manor, intending to kill Bruce Wayne and anyone with him.

There are more than enough moments that just yank you forward through this issue.  Bruce jumping out onto the roof of the mansion to confront a small platoon of Talons.  Bruce losing communication with Alfred, who it turns out isn't as alone and safe in the Batcave as you might think.  And the Talons, finally realizing that Bruce Wayne is Batman, and taunting that they're going to kill him anyway as he and Alfred try to get their bearings while locked away in the armory.  It all makes for a multitude of reasons to zip through the issue, and for my part, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

And then, "The Call."  Once the scope of the Court's horrifying plan becomes plainly apparent--I can't claim I was too surprised by it--it's hard to keep your jaw from dropping, especially as  you see parts of it being carried out at that moment.  But even that moment is topped by a moment of pure awesome as Batman simply tells Alfred to "Put the call out to the Family.  Now."  We're then treated to Alfred sending a dispatch to all of Batman's nearby allies: Red Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Batwing, Robin, and several others.  When he uploads the list to all of them, telling them their help is needed in protecting Gotham from the Court's assault, you're plainly hit with the notion that this is how the Night of the Owls event is starting.  And to be honest, it's off to one hell of a start.

Fans: CHECK THAT LIST.  Some of the names on it are jaw-droppers themselves.

Desperation and awesome, masterfully conveyed.
Artistically, there's little for me to say about Capullo's pencils that I haven't already said.  He does an excellent job of building up a swarm of Talons for Bruce and Alfred to deal with, and effectively conveys the sense of scale that says they just won't stop coming--which of course, is expanded in "The Call."  The change-up in art style from Rafael Albuquerque in that story dovetails nicely with Capullo's still conveying a sense of urgency and dread with bolder, heavier line work and a more gritty look that underlies the idea that things are going to get real ugly, real soon.  Excellent work.

Overall, I can't say enough good things about this issue.  I was hooked from the get-go by the artwork, the action, and the sense of urgency that virtually jumps off the page at the reader.  If you're a Batman fan, you had better be reading this series.  Scott Snyder and company know what they're doing here.  By the time I put this issue down, I was seriously shivering with excitement.  Very highly recommended!

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