This originally started up for a comment to my fellow read/RANT author, Cal’s “This week in comics” review. Thing is, it ended up a bit long for a comment, so I thought I’d post my feelings so far with the “Night of the Owls” crossover event.
To begin, so far I’m enjoying it. Its nice to see the Bat Family all dealing with the same enemy, as well as others in Gotham. Especially considering that last part: they are all in Gotham! At least, most of them are, or otherwise have strong ties to the city. It makes sense despite the city’s size that they’d have to work together, and at least in times deal with the same enemy. And this is it. The first time its really happened for the Bat Family since the relaunch.
The idea of a cryptic nursery rhyme (and lets face it, many are rather cryptic if you think of their true meanings) is a brilliant touch. How they tie it in to Bruce’s family line has also been interesting – and the same even goes for Alfred’s father who just got brought into the history with the Owls with the latest issue of Batman #9. I worry a little though how its now being tied not just to distant relatives of Bruce, but his parents and Alfred’s own father as well. Will this manage to change the reasons behind his parent’s death being my sudden big question here. I doubt the actual event will change since its so iconic known by just about everyone who has heard of Batman. The only real changing aspect has been on if the killer was known or not in terms of who he was. Will the shooter have been set up by the Owls now? Will it just be pure luck they died then and not a little later by the Owls? Oh the questions. A question that makes me worry a bit, but mostly keeps me intrigued.
Similarly the same goes for Grayson. Like Bruce’s parents, his were always viewed by me as nice and lovely folks. Kind to their son, and good people. The sudden tie in of not just Haly’s Circus, but Dick’s relative (great grandfather was it?) puts a similar yet different question to Dick’s lineage as this has with Bruce’s. Will his parents have known about the Circus’ interaction of setting up the Court of Owls with their assassins? It seems highly likely, especially when Dick apparently was to be their next initiate. And if they were part of it, knew what was going on (it seems a bit hard to believe that they wouldn’t), well it can easily change around who Dick’s parents really were like. And if that is true, would that notion change Dick at all?
Both of those – so far at least – both have me more interested in how things will turn out. I have faith in Snyder and Higgins that they won’t mess up the characters or too drastically change their pasts. Not without at least strong hopes that it’ll end up for the good of the character. Still, there has been something really bothering me with this storyline. That being, they are killing their opponents basically. Batman trampling them over, Dick with the escrima through the eye into the skull. Probably worse yet is Damian chopping the head off of one. Its being passed off as either ‘the Talons already died long ago’ or ‘oh, well remove ___ weapon and they’ll be fine again due to regeneration!’ Still, it seems like a cop out that I’m not liking. Its obvious that while they need to “die” (or at least come close to it) to get their regen powers, they are still alive. They still obviously have their memories of their lives as seen in tonight’s Batman and Robin and the latest Nightwing so its not like they are basically zombies.
I’m not liking that for two main reasons. One being it just seems so against Dick and Bruce and them to be using such lethal force, even if their opponent should regenerate from it. Worse is when the idea of them being already dead is used, for I at least don’t recall Batman ever trying to actually kill Grundy to pass it off as “Well, Grundy was technically already dead…” That and while I doubt we’ll see many beheadings like tonight, the thought that the Bat family can just open up to such force whenever the fight needs an easy out… well its just that! An easy out. I’m use to seeing them struggle against odds that are against them, and part of that struggle is how to win without resorting to such deadly force – especially when the opponent is at least physically better in some way. And if they cross that line or don’t stop someone else from crossing that line, well it messes with them. I didn’t enjoy the story and more so how long Dick was f—ed over from it, but look at what happened with him when he let Blockbuster be shot right before him! He was messed up in the comics for a long time, yet now he basically killed his ancestor with no remorse at all?