BATMAN: THE NIGHT OF THE OWLS HC
Written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Tony S. Daniel, Judd Winick, Peter J. Tomasi, Duane Swierczynski, Gail Simone, Scott Lobdell, Kyle Higgins, Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Greg Capullo, Jason Fabok, Tony S. Daniel, David Finch, Marcus To, Patrick Gleason, Travel Foreman, Ardian Syaf, Kenneth Rocafort, Guillem March, Eddy Barrows, Moritat
Release Date: February 13, 2013
The Batman: The Night of the Owls hardcover collection focuses on all the titles tying into the main event that occurred in the pages of Batman. The collection includes the following issues: Batman #8-9, Batman Annual #1, Detective Comics #9, Batman: The Dark Knight #9, Batwing #9, Batman and Robin #9, Red Hood and the Outlaws #9, Birds of Prey #9, Batgirl #9, Nightwing #8-9 and All-Star Western #9.
Let me start by saying that in that huge bunch of Bat-family comics there is not a single weak issue. That, in and of itself, is a huge success for DC Comics. To string together that many solid event tie-ins is a feat that has not happened often in the world of comics and a testament to the strength of the Bat-office at DC. Heck, there are titles that I have not been reading in this collection that I am now seeking out the trades for simply based on the strength of the writing and art in this collection. Each issue in this collection does add some component to the overall Night of the Owls event that is relevant and meaningful either to the primary title itself, or to the event as a whole and I was very impressed to find none of the issues were branded Night of the Owls simply to boost sales: these are high-quality comics enriching an intricate event.
There are moments that start to feel somewhat repetitive, just in the nature of the event itself. Minor spoilers here, but many issues deal with some member of the Batman crew fighting a Talon. Some of the Talons are more interesting than others, but in the end it is a lot of Bat vs. Talon (not that this is a bad thing – there is some wild action in this collection). I read this collection in multiple sittings, so I didn’t feel overwhelmed, but if a person was to bite into this in one run I could see that getting a bit tiresome. The collection editor, Peter Hamboussi, does a good job of splitting this up where he can, putting the issues in an order that feels sequential but also slightly different with respect to tone. This helps the collection have a strong flow which is something I would have thought impossible for a book filled with tie-in issues.
Despite the high quality of the single issues and the skilled editing, I did find myself questioning why the rest of the event was not included in this hardcover. To read this collection with the Batman: City of Owls collection would be a very satisfying experience, but in the end this is just a lot of event tie-in issues together. There is no conclusion, and rather than building to a satisfying end point, the collection just stops. To continue the story a whole other collection has to be purchased, which leads me to feel this would have been better suited to be a small omnibus containing the whole event, even at an elevated price.
Irrespective of these quibbles, which are really minor in the grand scheme of things, this is a very strong companion collection to Batman: City of Owls and a great option for anyone who wants to read the entire event without having to purchase any of the individual collections just to get a single issue or two. Based on the extremely high quality of the single issues within, I do recommend this collection to any Batman fan, or any reader looking to take the experience of the Night of the Owls to the next level.