Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's epic story continues in "Batman" #6, progressing the mythology of The Court of Owls, who have hidden themselves in Gotham City, long before Batman came into existence. Snyder and Capullo's new villains have taken center stage in the "Batman" relaunch and starting in May, we’re going to see even more of the Owls, as the "Night of the Owls" event begins. Little by little, the "Batman" creative team has introduced seeds leading to the crossover with the essence of the Court continuing to build for issue #6.
Each new Court of Owls reveal in Snyder's "Batman" is exponentially creepier than the last, bringing to light the sinister aura surrounding the mysterious group. Masterfully plotted by Snyder, every revelation makes Gotham a scarier place -- the city is less a sure safe haven with Batman at its core and more an unknown quantity with danger lurking in the dark alleyways. During Batman's investigation, Snyder finds new ways to break the hero down and with each new tipping point, the writer gives readers new appreciation for Batman’s strength and dedication.
"I know that I am sick to death of owls!" the Dark Knight howls as he finally gets a chance to put some hurt on the Talon. It doesn’t take much to imagine the rage and frustration creeping into his voice as he clocks the Owl, pressing every little advantage afforded him -- and that same scene shows everything Greg Capullo brings to this book.
Capullo’s Batman is powerfully strong, aggressive and fearsome. He’s not "criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot" fearsome, but "Ndamukong Suh bearing down on you after he found out you insulted his mother" fearsome. The artist's rendition of the Caped Crusader is hulking and nasty, as much a street fighter as he is a finesse martial artist. Throughout the issue, Capullo’s art is reminiscent of Frank Miller’s "Dark Knight" work -- but Capullo doesn’t lock into that influence, varying his style as the scenes dictate. The hulking Batman in one scene is frail and scrawny in another, showing the effects of his week in the labyrinth. One page has three panels, another thirteen. Capullo gets into the story in this issue, crafting new ways to depict Batman’s mental state, the threat around him and the hope for escape.
Lending a hand to Capullo's visuals are inker Jonathan Glapion and colorist FCO Plascencia. Glapion fills the darkness in nicely, with deep, crisp shadows -- not murky or incomplete, simply deep. FCO’s colors, even in this subterranean setting, add depth and fill out the environment around Batman. When the Court is passing judgment on the Dark Knight and the panel zooms in on his exposed eye, it's the coloring that makes the eye believably real.
There are only so many ways I can express how "Batman" continues to impress with issue #6. Scott Snyder is playing longball with the plot, but he doesn’t elongate the story. Instead, he packs it full of details and developments, making the issue well worth the price of admission and rewards the reader with each successive read. "Batman" is consistently a quality book in DC's relaunch, showing no sign of letting up as the story continues to build toward the "Night of Owls" crossover.