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This review is from: Batman Volume 1: The Court of Owls TP (The New 52) (Paperback)
This story runs through issues #1-7 of the New 52 Batman comic, collected as Batman Volume 1: The Court of Owls TP (The New 52). It then continues through issues #8-12, and into Annual #1, all collected as Batman Volume 2: The City of Owls HC (The New 52).
The story is pretty simple, as Batman discovers yet another secret society of Gotham’s high society, who are secretly controlling Gotham, from secret bases built in secret into some of the most famous buildings of Gotham, and kept secret until Batman uncovers their secret, and subsequently uncovers the secrets hidden in the history of the Wayne family, not to mention the secrets in the histories of the Grayson and Pennyworth families, and also discovers that the secret mastermind behind it all is the person we all assumed it would be as soon as we set eyes on him, and who turns out to be Bruce Wayne’s long lost secret [spoiler], though that is in the second volume, along with a revised and much creepier origin for Mr Freeze.
The Court of Owls also have a secret army of zombie ninjas, recruited from the cream of Gotham’s servants and entertainers, which they keep in suspended animation until required.
Now, it is not quite as straightforward as that, and there is some spectacular artwork and set-pieces along the way – with homages to Hush and Dark Knight included - but it did feel as if we’d done a lot of it before; though as I read the collected editions from my local library, I don’t have a sense of how much time as passed in the ‘real’ world between these adventures and those involving Hush, the Black Glove and the Black Mask, and even though they might not exist in the New 52 continuity, we still remember them. (And what happened to Dick Grayson as Batman? Did that get wiped?)
Some readers will no doubt see it as a fresh new start, and setting up new mysteries regarding the Wayne family, the Graysons and even the Pennyworths, and they are also right. It is all a matter of perspective, and they are only comic books after all; and you never know when another 52 might be just around the corner (London bus joke there!)