New 52 – Batman #11 review

Let’s not kid ourselves. You and I both know this review is a waste of time. There isn’t anyone out there who is on the fence about buying this book after reading the past 10 issues. There also isn’t anyone out there who has never picked up an issue of “Batman” but thinks “Hey, maybe The Epic Finale of the Court of Owls is a good jumping on point for new readers?” You’re going to buy this book. Hell, even if you didn’t know what a Batman is, you still probably bought this book just because the cover is so damn awesome (I want this as a poster and I want it yesterday). So let me just cut to the chase and tell you what I thought and I can give you the results of last month’s poll.

If you recall, I wasn’t too excited about the big reveal of issue #10. (By the way you should stop reading this right now if you don’t want to be spoiled about what happened in issue #10. I won’t tell you how #11 ends though) The idea of doing another surprise long-lost family member as the big-bad like in “Batman: RIP” wasn’t very thrilling, having the reveal be a guy named Thomas (Hush, RIP) who knows Batman’s secret identity for the 3rd time in a row didn’t impress me either, and the idea of giving Bruce an evil brother who is now un-dead makes me livid. So there’s really only two ways for this to go that’ll make me happy (and even then it’s probably going to end with the classic Animated Series climax of “We couldn’t find a body” followed by a shot of something ominous).

1) Lincoln March is delusional and isn’t Bruce’s brother

2) March’s relation to Bruce is left ambiguous and Bruce can never solve this mystery because the Talon serum messed with March’s blood or something so a DNA test is impossible. I asked all you kind folks if you were happy with the big reveal and here are the results:

Yes   52% (180 votes)

No   17.05% (59 votes)

Undecided   30.92% (107 votes)

 It’s funny how that article got like 3,000+ hits on the first day alone and one whole month later only 346 readers chose to vote. Democracy in action, folks.

Anyway, so what did I think of issue #11, the grand finale?

*Reads the comic*

It was okay. It drops you right in where the last issue left off and it’s an impressively drawn fight but it’s all ruined by what might be the most poorly timed villain speech I’ve seen this year. This is one owl that loves to hoot. The guy just won’t shut up. Each panel shows walls crumbling, blood splattering, and armor breaking BUT I couldn’t get into it at all because Lincoln March/Owlman/Thomas Jr. whatever you want to call him wouldn’t stop talking and it ruined the pace of what should have been a spectacular fight scene. How’s Batman even supposed to hear what the guy’s saying? A sizable portion of his villainous monologue is spoken –and I kid you not– in front of

a roaring jet engine.
(Why not just give the speech in a room full of blenders?) This should’ve been an awesome, edge of your seat battle,
Even if logic says Batman should’ve been sucked into that engine in a heartbeat
 but it was ruined by Scott Snyder’s desire to wax poetic about how Lincoln is the dark reflection, etc. etc. I think Snyder had this character say all that needed to be said in the last issue and should’ve let the art do the talking in this issue. And back to the battle, it would’ve been nice to see Batman act somewhat formidable. He spends most of the issue being thrown into things
and he only survives thanks to a surprise gadget stuck to March’s back. An explosive that I thought if I flipped back to previous pages I would see and it would be one of those cool things that a reader only notices if they REALLY pay attention, but no. It’s a surprise that comes out of nowhere and felt like kids pretending to shoot each other on the playground when one cries out that they are wearing invisible armor or something. Having Batman go “nu-uh, I put a bomb on your back that will blow up at exactly this precise moment for some reason.” was way too convenient.

When it comes to the look: Capullo, FCO, and Glapion rock this issue. I got lost in the colors of the final page and the action that Capullo draws is brutal and beautiful. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun watching Batman crash into things (though, like I said, it would’ve been nice to see him do a few cool offensive moves of his own). The only complaint I have about the look of this story is the light-up breasts on the Owlman costume. What was that about? Everything else: gorgeous. I love the way Capullo draws Gotham. The art of the back-up story “The Fall of the House of Wayne” is lovely (can’t go wrong with Albuquerque) but the story within wasn’t all that interesting. It serves little purpose other than to reinforce the revelations or half-revelations of the main story and really wasn’t worth the extra buck.

Everything else that happens plot-wise I won’t give away.  I just know that after 10 months of “I must beat the evil secret society” the threat and all of the story’s larger themes got synthesized down  to a costumed brother vs. costumed brother battle that felt like the conclusion to an entirely different story. Did I enjoy reading issue #11? Yeah, but I wouldn’t say I was satisfied and I definitely would’ve enjoyed it far more had Lincoln March shut his mouth. I didn’t think it was a great ending, but it was entertaining and it’s must-reading for anyone whose stuck through this 11-parter from the start. Heck, the art alone will be reason enough for many to buy it.

Now that it’s over and I can look at these 11 issues as one big whole, I think it’s a Batman story that we’re still going to be talking about years from now. Some of us will discuss how it ranks among our favorite Batman stories, some will debate its similarities to “Hush” and “RIP”, some fans will call for a sequel, others will want a DC Direct animated movie made out of it, even more will argue over the ending or lack of ending, the point is that this is a story that, whether you love it or hate it, had the full attention of the fans and it won’t fade from memory anytime soon.

SCORE: 7.5/10