Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls (The New 52)

Author: Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion
4.7
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About This Book

#1 New York Times Bestseller

Following his ground-breaking, critically acclaimed run on Detective Comics, writer Scott Snyder (American Vampire) alongside artist Greg Capullo (Spawn) begins a new era of The Dark Knight as with the relaunch of Batman, as a part of DC Comics--The New 52! 
 
After a series of brutal murders rocks Gotham City, Batman begins to realize that perhaps these crimes go far deeper than appearances suggest. As the Caped Crusader begins to unravel this deadly mystery, he discovers a conspiracy going back to his youth and beyond to the origins of the city he's sworn to protect. Could the Court of Owls, once thought to be nothing more than an urban legend, be behind the crime and corruption? Or is Bruce Wayne losing his grip on sanity and falling prey to the pressures of his war on crime?

Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls (The New 52)

4.7

Review Date:

Comments

by Tigertemprr   2018-03-19

How to Get Into Comic Books (13:40) | Patrick Willems

Consider your intent/commitment. Think about stories/characters from TV, movies, games, etc. that you already like. Do you seek “good” storytelling or encyclopedic DC knowledge? Are you here to collect or read? How much time/resources are available?

Don’t try to read everything—there’s too much. Forget about continuity, universes, and timelines; it's all very confusing, even to creators/fans. Older comics can be an acquired taste for modern audiences, so first appearances/early origins may not be the best starting points. Creative teams change often, characters get re-worked, and origins are re-told (e.g. I never cared for Aquaman until Geoff Johns’ run).

Pick an interesting character/team and seek their “greatest hits”. Focus on well-received, relatively self-contained, and complete stories. You may encounter the occasional unexplained reference/character/event—just ride along (Wiki if necessary). Remember, there are so many other great characters and publishers to explore, and not all comics are about superheroes.

Where to buy (US):

Recommendations:

Modern DC characters/teams:

Alternatively, you can skip to the recent Rebirth re-launch by reading the DC Universe: Rebirth #1 event and then any Rebirth series #1. You already started Batman so pick up Batman, Volume 2: I am Suicide . Check out the /r/DCcomics sidebar for more info.

Events/crossovers can be fun and/or tedious. They are most appreciated by readers already well-versed in relevant continuity. Generally, the best non-event comics integrate these seamlessly or avoid them entirely (notwithstanding editorial/executive mandates). Regardless, you may want to familiarize with major plot points.

Modern DC events/crossovers:

Discover your preferences and let them guide you. Do you like: old/new comics? Specific genres? Literary/natural narratives? Cartoony/realistic art? Familiar/weird concepts? References/self-contained? Social/political commentary? Family-friendly/explicit content? Optimism/pessimism? Have you noticed that a specific artist/writer consistently makes comics you like? Follow these instincts.

Suggestions to improve this guide are welcome.

by Tigertemprr   2018-03-19

It seems like you're interested in modern superhero comics so I'll help out with that (though you should consider other publishers like Image & Dark Horse).

Forget about continuity, universes, timelines, etc; it's all very confusing, even to creators/fans. Don’t try to read everything, else you'll be wading through mediocrity for too long. There are so many other great comics (and publishers) to explore!

First appearances/origins aren’t always good starting points. Creative teams change often and characters get re-worked e.g. never caring about Hawkeye until Fraction & Aja’s interpretation. Focus on well-received and relatively self-contained series. Pick an interesting character or team and seek their “greatest hits” stories.

Marvel Unlimited for digital comics. instocktrades for physical retail (US).

Modern Marvel characters/teams:

Title Writer Note
Alias (Jessica Jones) Bendis
Avengers / New Avengers Jonathan Hickman Hickman 2
Ultimates 1 & 2 (Avengers) Mark Millar Ultimate
Captain America Ed Brubaker
Captain Marvel Kelly Sue DeConnick
Daredevil (1979) Frank Miller Daredevil 1
Daredevil Bendis Daredevil 2
Doctor Strange: The Oath Brian K. Vaughn
Fantastic Four / FF Jonathan Hickman Hickman 1
Hawkeye Matt Fraction
Immortal Iron Fist Brubaker & Fraction
Inhumans Paul Jenkins
Iron Man: Extremis Warren Ellis Iron Man 1
Invincible Iron Man Matt Fraction Iron Man 2
Marvels (Marvel History) Kurt Busiek
Moon Knight Warren Ellis
Ms. Marvel G. Willow Wilson
Incredible Hulk / Planet Hulk Greg Pack Hulk 1
Punisher Max Garth Ennis
Thor Jason Aaron
Ultimate Spider-man Bendis Ultimate
Vision Tom King
New X-Men Grant Morrison X-Men 1
Astonishing X-Men Joss Whedon X-Men 2
Uncanny X-Force Rick Remender X-Men 6

Events/crossovers can be tedious. They are most appreciated by readers well-versed in relevant continuity. Generally, the best non-event comics integrate these seamlessly or avoid them entirely (notwithstanding editorial/executive mandates). Regardless, you may want to familiarize with major continuity changes.

Modern Marvel events/crossovers:

Title Writer Note
Avengers Disassembled Bendis
Secret War Bendis
House of M Bendis X-Men 2.5
Annihilation Abnett, Lanning, Giffen Cosmic
Civil War Mark Millar
World War Hulk Greg Pak Hulk 2
Annihilation: Conquest Abnett, Lanning, Giffen Cosmic
Messiah Complex Brubaker, Carey, David, Kyle, Yost X-Men 3
Secret Invasion Bendis Dark Reign
War Abnett, Lanning, Brubaker, et al. Cosmic
Messiah War Kyle, Yost, Swierczynski X-Men 4
Dark Avengers / Utopia Bendis, Fraction, Carey, et al. Dark Reign
Siege Bendis Dark Reign
Realm of Kings Abnett, Lanning, Reed Cosmic
Second Coming Kyle, Yost, Fraction, Wells, Carey X-Men 5
Fear Itself Matt Fraction
Schism Jason Aaron, Kieron Gillen X-Men 7
Avengers vs. X-Men Bendis, Brubaker, Hickman, et al. X-Men 8
Infinity Jonathan Hickman Hickman 2.5
Secret Wars Jonathan Hickman Hickman 3

Discover your preferences and let them inform your next comic selection. Do you like older/newer comics? Weird concepts? Super-smart meta-analysis and social commentary? Family-friendly content? Hyper-violence? Male/female protagonists? Humor? Horror? Have you noticed that a specific artist, writer, and/or creative team consistently produces content you like? Follow these instincts.

Modern DC characters/teams:

Title Writer
Animal Man Grant Morrison
Animal Man Jeff Lemire
Aquaman Geoff Johns
Batman: Year One Frank Miller
Batman: The Long Halloween Jeph Loeb
Batman Grant Morrison
Batman Scott Snyder
Batman: Dark Knight Returns Frank Miller
Batwoman: Elegy Greg Rucka
Birds of Prey Gail Simone
Flash Mark Waid
Flash Geoff Johns
Gotham Central Brubaker & Rucka
Green Arrow Kevin Smith
Green Arrow Jeff Lemire
Green Lantern Geoff Johns
JLA (Justice League) Morrison & Waid
Kingdom Come Mark Waid
Omega Men Tom King
Suicide Squad John Ostrander
Secret Six (Suicide Squad) Gail Simone
Superman: Birthright Mark Waid
Superman: All Star Superman Grant Morrison
Swamp Thing Alan Moore
Swamp Thing Scott Snyder
New Teen Titans Marv Wolfman
Wonder Woman Greg Rucka
Wonder Woman Brian Azzarello
by Tigertemprr   2018-03-19

Modern DC characters/teams:

Modern DC events/crossovers:

DC also publishes varied-genre, creator-owned comics for “mature readers” under separate imprints (e.g. Vertigo):

by FlyByTieDye   2018-02-16

You could always start with Volume 1 of New 52 Batman: Court of Owls , a really great story, an easy place to start, and affordable. If this does interest you, it also has a sequel in Volume 2, City of Owls , and both of these books together tell an excellent Batman story. If this holds your interest, and is something you would like to go back to later, you can finish the run in volume order eventually: Death Of The Family, Zero Year: Secret City and Zero year: Dark City (volume 4 and 5), Graveyard Shift (a breather story), Endgame, Superheavy, Bloom and Epilogue, taking you up to volume 10.

Another great starting point for the most recent Batman story is Volume 1 of Rebirth Batman: I am Gotham , which can be continued with I am Suicide and I am Bane, then the War of Jokes and Riddles (I believe, I'm not entirely caught up).

If you want a more classic Batman, you can also grab such stories as The Dark Knight Returns , Batman: Year One , Batman: The Long Halloween and its sequel Dark Victory , Batman: The Killing Joke or Batman: Hush . I know I posted a lot of suggestions here, but any one of these would make a great Batman story, and make it easy to get started (with any one of these really forming a starting point). Also, I put a range here, so that you can choose what best suits as affordable to you. Read a bit of each of their descriptions on Amazon, and if it interests you, pick it up. My personal recommendation is Court of Owls, though if you have a question on any of these comics, or any other comic in general, just ask, and I would be happy to help!

by Tigertemprr   2018-02-16

> Second half is 27 links

Are links themselves an issue? I think Amazon and Comixology links are helpful in pointing new readers directly to the material to acquire/buy.

> hundreds of issues over decades

Is the information beyond just the title of the run too much? I thought the issue numbers would help out if they needed to try finding all of the material themselves outside of the two sources I've provided.

The year number helps (1) eliminate older comics they might not like and (2) see when that piece of the puzzle fits in the larger picture (for reading order purposes).

The writer's last name is only there as a unique identifier for runs with the same title (e.g. Animal Man).

Following my earlier advice of "forgetting continuity, etc.", I offered a selection that spans decades because that shouldn't matter as long as the story they're reading feels relatively self-contained and complete. Are you a proponent of reading "eras" of comics i.e. sticking to titles only from post-crisis, or only from New 52, etc.?

> put in stuff that is relevant for you and information you think is important

Ultimately, it's my guide and I'm deciding what stays, but I do appreciate feedback on aspects I think could be done better like making the entire guide more visually presentable. For example, there are still options in how format what's available.

I could trim recommendations to just " Title | Writer's last name " (reduces information, increases need to research further):

I could remove bold (see above).

I could put recommendations of the same character on the same line (reduces length):

I could put same-character recommendations in their own sections (adds length):

Animal Man

Aquaman

Batman

I could just offer ONE recommendation per character:

by Tigertemprr   2018-02-16

Introduction to Comics

How to Get Into Comic Books (13:40) | Patrick Willems

Consider your intent/commitment. Think about your favorite shows, movies, books, etc. Do you seek quality storytelling or encyclopedic Marvel knowledge? Plan to collect? How deep are you willing to dive?

Don’t try to read everything at once. There’s too much. Forget about catching up, continuity, universes, and timelines. Older comics can be an acquired taste for modern audiences, so 1st appearances/early origins may not be ideal starting points. Creative teams change often, characters get re-worked, and origins are re-told. There are many other great characters, creators, publishers, and genres to explore.

Pick an interesting character/team and seek their best stories. It's easier to focus on one part of the universe, like solving a jigsaw puzzle one piece at a time. Don’t get stuck preparing/over-analyzing—just start reading. Focus on acclaimed, self-contained, and complete stories. You may encounter an unexplained reference/character/event—just ride along or Wiki.

Events/crossovers can be fun and/or tedious. They are most appreciated by readers well-versed in relevant continuity. Sometimes, company-wide stories interrupt smaller stories and your favorite characters' personalities change briefly. Regardless, you may want to familiarize with major plot points.

Discover your preferences and let them guide you. Do you like/dislike old/new comics? Specific writers/genres? Cartoony/realistic art? Familiar/weird concepts? References/self-contained? All-ages/mature content? Follow these instincts.

Acquiring/buying comics:

Marvel

DC

Or skip to the 2016 re-launch with the DC Universe: Rebirth event and then any Rebirth series #1.

Other

  • Asterios Polyp | Mazzuchelli | drama, romance, snobby architect, artsy
  • Black Science | Remender | sci-fi, adventure, dimension travel, family
  • Blacksad | Canales | crime, noir, anthropomorphic, 5 stories
  • Bloodshot | Swierczynski | superhero, man/machine, conspiracy, action
  • Deadly Class | Remender | drama, crime, thriller, assassin school
  • Descender | Lemire | sci-fi, space opera, survival, man vs machine
  • East of West | Hickman | sci-fi, western, post-apocalypse, factions
  • Fear Agent | Remender | sci-fi, space janitor, comedy, adventure
  • Harbinger | Dysart | superhero team, renegades
  • Hellboy | Mignola | horror, fantasy, mystery, adventure
  • Invincible | Kirkman | superhero, aliens, action, drama, family
  • Lazarus | Rucka | sci-fi, military, politics, factions, spy, war
  • Locke & Key | Hill | fantasy, horror, school, magical keys
  • Mind MGMT | Kindt | sci-fi, conspiracy, psychological, spy, mind control
  • Nailbiter | Williamson | horror, crime, serial killer, supernatural
  • Outcast | Kirkman | horror, supernatural, rural
  • Rachel Rising | Moore | horror, comedy, drama, supernatural, undead
  • Rat Queens | Weibe | fantasy, adventure, sword & sorcery, comedy
  • Saga | Vaughan | sci-fi, fantasy, war, aliens, drama, comedy
  • Southern Bastards | Aaron | crime, drama, sport, small town
  • The Incal | Jodorowsky | sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, surreal, psychedelic
  • The Nao of Brown | Dillon | drama, slice of life, tragedy, OCD, hafu, romance
  • The Sculptor | McCloud | drama, romance, special power, artsy
  • The Wicked + The Divine | Gillen | fantasy, music culture, mythology
  • Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye | Roberts | sci-fi, space, robots, action, comedy, dark
  • Velvet | Brubaker | spy, thriller, action, noir, femme fatale
  • Wytches | Snyder | horror, family, supernatural, woods
by Tigertemprr   2018-02-16

> what's the true order?

Whatever order you want. If you can't decide, then read only the highly recommended stuff in release order.

> The true batman?

Whatever Batman you want. These comics have been ongoing since the 1930s. Hopefully, you can understand how it'd be impossible to maintain the same writers/artists for that long, how difficult it is to keep the stories fresh/unique, and how many times you'd have to "creatively" keep Batman at an age that made sense. A part of the fun in reading classic characters like this is to be able to say stuff like "Morrison's crazy Batman is my favorite" or "Snyder's Batman was fun and I preferred the Zero Year origin story". One writer's version of Batman might be "canon" for 10 years until another writer tweaks or completely rewrites it, making the old version "non-canon". Honestly, this is the kind of thing you only want to worry about AFTER having read a lot of comics primarily for enjoyment. If your goal is to just be a full-on encyclopedic DC knowledge nerd, then reading wikis is much more efficient than the actual comics.

> What line of Batman comics is chronologically correct?

I'm not sure what you are asking here. Every "line" of Batman comics can be chronologically correct. If you're asking about a definitive reading order for "canon" Batman comics then... good luck. That kind of thing is very subjective and constantly changing.

> What is considered the definitive series of Batman comics

Again, it's better to discard the idea of only one "true" or "definitive" Batman. Find your own favorite writer/artist combo. Think about the movies. There's Tim Burton's Batman, Schumacher's Batman, Nolan's Batman, Zack Snyder's Batman, etc. There's no need for there to be just one.

Also, I don't recommend reading things just because they're "canon". You don't want to miss out on critically acclaimed or popular stories just because they are alternate universes or non-canon. That'd be like not watching Nolan's Batman because it's not a part of the new DCEU movies. Conversely, it'd be a shame to feel FORCED to read something very poorly reviewed JUST BECAUSE it has some plot point that changes Batman status quo for a few years—just wiki that information instead.

To make it easier, here's a list of modern "essential" Batman comics. Batman is one of the most consistently well-written/drawn superheroes so this is just a small sample of the "good stuff":

I can't emphasize this enough: JUST START READING. All the preparation and over-analysis will just make everything seem MORE confusing. Think of it like solving a jigsaw puzzle one piece at a time. With every comic you read, the overarching/cross-series themes, plots, continuities, timelines, character interactions, events, etc. will start to make more sense until you've read "enough" to see the big picture.

by Tigertemprr   2018-02-16

It's be easer to personalize recommendations if we new what characters or types of stories you are interested in. What are your favorite movies, TV shows, games, books, etc.? You mentioned a few characters in other replies, so here are some modern essentials:

Batman

Green Arrow

Other Recommendations

by Tigertemprr   2018-02-16

General Recommendations

Modern DC events/crossovers:

DC Vertigo/Wildstorm:

/r/comicbooks Rebirth ranking survey results (October 2017).

/r/DCcomics Rebirth ranking survey results (May 2017).

/r/DCcomics New 52 ranking survey results (February 2014).

/r/DCcomics Moderators’ Top Picks of the New 52 Era (May 2017).

by Tigertemprr   2017-12-06

There are New 52 reading orders, but even then you'd probably need some context for runs that carried over from pre-Flashpoint. More importantly, you need to decide whether (1) you're willing to read A LOT of poor quality comics to get the full continuity or (2) you're OK reading wikipedia summaries to fill in the gaps between only the "best" titles. The statements "I am new to comics" and "I need chronological order and don't want to miss any continuity" usually come in pairs and it's usually because they haven't understood what that really means: it's like trying to watch every modern movie ever made in chronological order. Imagine that. Some movies directly reference other work, some are direct sequels/prequels, some are remakes, some are just self-contained, etc. Superhero comics from a single publisher will obviously play more into the shared universe, but it's a similar amount of work/commitment to try to consume ALL of it. Here's another attempt at a DC master reading order.

Instead, I recommend just reading a lengthy summary of the DC Universe to satiate your hunger for encyclopedic DC knowledge. Then, when you're ready to appreciate quality writing and art for enjoyment, pick out the more acclaimed, self-contained comic runs for characters/teams/events that seemed interesting in your wiki research.

Here's my usual new reader guide for reference:

Introduction to Comics

How to Get Into Comic Books (13:40) | Patrick Willems

Consider your intent/commitment. Think about your favorite shows, movies, books, etc. Do you seek quality storytelling or encyclopedic DC knowledge? Plan to collect? How deep are you willing to dive?

Don’t try to read everything at once. There’s too much. Forget about catching up, continuity, universes, and timelines. Older comics can be an acquired taste for modern audiences, so 1st appearances/early origins may not be ideal starting points. Creative teams change often, characters get re-worked, and origins are re-told. Remember, there are many other great characters, creators, publishers, and genres to explore.

Pick an interesting character/team and seek their best stories. Don’t get stuck preparing to read. Focus on acclaimed, self-contained, and complete stories. You may encounter an unexplained reference/character/event—just ride along or Wiki.

Events/crossovers can be fun and/or tedious. They are most appreciated by readers already well-versed in relevant continuity. Sometimes, company-wide stories interrupt solo series and your favorite characters’ personalities change briefly. Regardless, you may want to familiarize with major plot points.

Discover your preferences and let them guide you. Do you like old/new comics? Specific genres/writers? Cartoony/realistic art? Familiar/weird concepts? References/self-contained? All-ages/mature content? Follow these instincts.

Acquiring comics:

Recommendations

Modern DC characters/teams:

You can skip to the 2016 Rebirth re-launch with the DC Universe: Rebirth event and then any Rebirth series #1.