Storyline: B+

Artwork: A

The darkness continues with Batman and Robin #23.2. James Tynion IV and Jorge Lucas give us an issue that is filled with dark visuals and this really helps set the tone to a great read.

The entire Owl saga with Batman was a great read, so it seems only fitting that these villains are given a spot in Villain Month. After all, Gotham belongs to the Court of Owls. It is an opportunity to see just how the events of Forever Evil are affecting an entire organisation. What is happening in the present day has really affected the Court of Owls. We end up following a high ranking member of the Court and his daughter as the attempt to flee the destruction of Gotham. It is on their journey to the catacombs that he tells his daughter these stories of the court and their Talons.

What the reader gets is a series of fleeting short horror stories, which go as far back as the creation of Gotham. One story even takes us all the way back to 1860! This issue is one of horror. It paints the organisation as an insidious, sinister group – which they are! You have people wearing creepy owl masks. It is exceptionally creepy when a young girl dressed all prim and proper has an owl face! The Talons look as evil as their actions, making children recite their poem to their next victims. While other Talon’s are busy slaughtering sex workers for their own pleasures!

Jorge Lucas gives art that really enforces the tone of this issue. You feel the dread and horror from the beginning as the events are drawn in such a way as you can feel the frightened expressions of victims of the Court. Jorge puts a lot of detail into every image, which might be a bit heavy on the eyes to some. A minor issue that I have with McCaig’s coloring is that, although it is solid and keeps the horror tone moving from one page to the next, the time shifts in the story become a bit hard to determine. You end up looking at the clothing to tell if you are still in the same time period.

The issue is put together quite nicely and ends up being a satisfying read that reminds us of just how scary The Court of Owls are. It will leave you wishing that each little story were just a little bit longer and this becomes the prime problem of this issue. It called for a bumper issue, but the calling was left unheard. Not only does this issue show us a bit more of what these villains are about, it also does a good job of setting up for the next Talon issue as things get really violent and heated upon conclusion. Featuring some fine colouring and art, Batman and Robin #23.2 Court of Owls is still one of the better reads from the Villain Month and a definite must have for fans of the Batman’s “The Court of Owls” graphic novel. Everything is as creepy as this issue’s cover!

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