Deep beneath the city, the Court of Owls has Batman trapped. But he’s Batman… he’ll make it… won’t he?

Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Inker: Jonathan Glapion
Colorist: FCO
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Batman: Having tracked the Court of Owls across Gotham City, Batman finds himself trapped in the one place he doesn’t want to be.


Batman has been missing for over a week, and every Bat-Family member makes a cameo appearance this issue, showing concern and stress over the missing hero. Batman, is going through his own grief, as he wanders through the maze created by the Court of Owls, and he’s slowly going mad. From the mind game dioramas to the drugged water supply, watching Batman lose his mind is both a horrible and wonderful thing to watch play out on the page. Snyder uses Batman’s inner monologue perfectly in this issue to let readers know what is going on inside the Dark Knight’s mind, while at the same time reducing the number of word balloons on the page to let you know this is all playing out in near silence below the streets of Gotham.

I haven’t had this much fun watching Batman go wacky-in-the-wikky-woo since The Cult found its way into my hands way back in 1988. While I love my dark and gritty Dark Knight Returns Batman, and think Batman: The Brave and the Bold animated series is a fun ride for kids of all ages, it’s the Batman who struggles with keeping his sanity that make some of the best Batman stories ever, in my honest opinion.


The art and layout of this issue will blow your mind. As Batman descends into madness, Snyder and Capullo twist the medium to the point where up is down and down is up, and not only is your book turned all directions, but so is your mind. The layout of this issue was a perfect way to bring the reader into this story. Wow. Bravo. Great Job.

On top of that, Capullo continues to deliver art that brings life to the characters on the page. To see Batman slowly unravel and become a wreck is great, and the hugh splash page with Batman and Talon was the shock I was not expecting. I won’t completely spoil it for you, dear reader, but needless to say, somebody better get Batman a Band-Aid… a really, big Band-Aid.


After my last review, writer Scott Snyder contacted me to let me know that my mind would be blown with issue #5. I was skeptical, but willing to give Snyder another chance. Snyder and company delivers with this issue, knocking it out of the ballpark, blowing it out of the water, and whatever other metaphors exist to express something that is spectacular in every single way. From the story, to the art, to the layouts, Batman #5 is a treat that should be on your must buy list. Totally gonna read this about 10 more times today, Batman #5 earns 5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★★


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. Haha, not so sure I could handle turning the issue to read it 10 more times, but it was very good. Perhaps I’ll have my daughter do it since she can’t get enough of turning my iPad.

  2. Best issue yet in a great series. Capullo’s art is crazy good here. I can’t get the one crazy blood-shot eye of Bruce Wayne out of my head.

  3. There were several things about this issue that I liked. I know some folks have already started slamming the “Council of Owls” arc/event but to me this is more interesting to me than the “Joker’s Skin” arc in Detective Comics. The first is that the City of Gotham is becoming more and more a character in the Batman stories than a location. I first thought of that when I saw Jack Hawksmoor talking to the “personifications” of Paris (a beautiful woman), Metropolis (a beautiful woman dressed as a meter maid) and Gotham (a demon) in Stormwatch. I applaud writers taking a lead from the “Return of Bruce Wayne” stories regarding the history of Gotham and the Wayne family and branching out with this. With All Star Western, Batman, Batman and Robin, Batgirl, Detective Comics and following the Haley’s Circus arc Nightwing all being centered out of Gotham there are so many angles to work with such as Gotham’s “demonic/mad” nature, Bruce Wayne’s efforts at urban renewal being attached by groups similar to “Occupy” groups protesting the “gentrification” of Gotham, Wayne’s Batman, Inc. efforts, the Council of Owls and the continuing specter of Arkham.

    I agree with the art. Batman’s eye was about all you’d need to show that despite all of his mental faculties Bruce Wayne is still human and the lack of food, water, light and the effect of drugs and isolation can affect him. Add in that this obsession and even fear of “the Owls” (another night predator that has one thing up on bats…they can “see” in the dark). Bats represent fear, darkness, the night. Owls add one more thing to that mix…”wisdom”. It’s no wonder that the Thomas Wayne of the Crime Syndicate chose to be Owlman rather than a “batman”.

    The other things that I liked… Harvey has a nickname for the bat-signal; Nightwing doesn’t automatically pick up his old “Gotham Batman” suit and assume the mantle of the Bat again, nor does Jason Todd. Robin actually shows some human compassion/feeling for his dear old dad for once. James Gordon’s continued faith in Batman while at the same time being a “hunter” of Batgirl. The art was incredible and it fits the “mind-set” of this story of fear and madness.

    Well done! I’m glad that this is one of the “new” DC bat-titles that I’ve followed.

  4. I guess I’m in the minority but I’m a bit tired of the story. Do we really have to wait half a year or more to finish one story arc? It’s great for those who enjoy these owl guys but I dislike how they were inserted in with all this history and Bruce Wayne had no clues of their existance since he was a boy.

    • Maybe not in the minority since I’ve heard a lot of rumblings, Trey. I can understand your point as I felt the same way about Marvel’s “Fear Itself” and “Young Avengers: Children’s Crusade”, both of which I skipped over except for a couple of issues of the main miniseries. I can’t really put my finger on this particular arc but there were just parts of the Batman mythos that are being hit on that have caused me to like it despite the length of time and tie-ins. The Dark Knight storyline I have cared less about but I’ve gotten into the “Council of Owls”, “Nobody” and “Skinned Joker” arcs of the other Batman books.

  5. I sincerely can’t understand all the hype. It’s a decent issue but there’s nothing fantastic about it. I guess most of the readers got used to accept mediocre standards for comic books during the last year and they end up overreacting when things are taking the right direction again and, last but not least, when their hero is suffering. There’s something gripping about it, isn’t it? It triggers mixed feelings. They are rooting for Batman but they also love to see how much more he can endure. Kinda weird. I’m not much into any form of torture stuff, but to each his own.

    I think that dedicating an entire issue to this sort of thing was uncalled for and it’s probably meant to shock and increase sales. The final act of cruelty and Batman’s facial expression reminded me of the “BREAK YOU!” panel from Knightfall. I’m glad I grew up reading comics that were less graphic and so much more pure and fun. Today’s stuff tends to become more and more disturbing, especially for kids. As a kid I wouldn’t have wanted to see the main hero being split open, hallucination or not, therefore I’m sorry, but I just can’t dig this one.

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