For the past seven issues, Scott Snyder has taken the Batman mythos and broken it! Sometimes things have lasted so long that they become complacent, or at best, jaded. Sometimes we need to take those things and break them down to their core in order to see what made them so special to begin with. It takes a gentle hand, someone who will take their time, making cracks in all the right places so as to not damage the spirit of the piece. And when it is finally broken down to its very essence, it can be rebuilt stronger than it ever was. That is exactly what Scott Snyder has done, broken the Bat to rebuild it better than before!
This issue is the beginning if the "Night of Owls" crossover that will span the "family" of Bat books for the next two months. It is the first crossover for the New 52 that is vast in scope and reach, touching all the Bat characters, and even being glimpsed in other titles such as Justice League #8. But it is not the amount of titles that this crossover will touch that is important, it is the amount of readers that it will touch that is!
Snyder has brought something to the Batman legend that has rarely been seen — doubt. Bruce Wayne has been tortured by the Court of Owls and their assassin, the Talon, but he has not been broken. They have done something far worse, they have cracked his confidence in himself and all of Gotham! They have caused fissures to erupt in his bravado, letting him finally see his own pomposity and worse yet — his weakness! His focus has been shaken, allowing the Court of Owls to assemble all of their Talons and strike at the heart of Bruce Wayne — Wayne Manor! Nothing will ever be the same again as Bruce's secrets are revealed and no one is safe!
Snyder has outdone himself with this series and especially, this issue in particular! Never have I been on the edge of my seat for so long during a series! After every page I am ravenous for more, never being satiated because it is all so good! The richness that has been brought, not only to the Bruce Wayne/Batman character, but too the entire world of Batman is unfathomable!
Even though Batman is now shackled to the $3.99 price tag, the back-up story by Snyder, James Tynion IV and American Vampire artist extraordinaire, Rafael Albuquerque, is well worth it! It sets the stage for the "Night of the Owls" crossover and shows the cunning viciousness of the Court of Owls. It is shocking and brutal, making the fear palpable! Worth an extra dollar? In my eyes — definitely!