‘Batman’ #3 ended with the Dark Knight Detective after setting off a tripwire in one of the bases of the Court of Owls. Since the relaunch of this series, Batman has been tracking down a group whose only claim to existence is a nursery rhyme that is sung to Gotham’s children. Being the cynic that he is, Batman doesn’t believe the Court is real and this issue reveals that even multiple bases, a bomb, and the remains of one of Bruce Wayne’s ancestors might not be enough to convince him otherwise.

After narrowly escaping the explosive trap, Bruce retires to the Batcave to reassess the situation and go over the clues he’s collected so far. He is trying to think of a way that whoever is behind the Court of Owls and their assassin, the Talon, could fake so much evidence. Dick (Nightwing) pays Bruce a visit and tries to convince him that it might be possible that Bruce is wrong and the Court of Owls is real. Bruce says he’s convinced that it’s not and has been since just after his parents’ deaths. To prove his point, Bruce reveals a never-before-told story of his younger days in which he tried to trace his parents’ murderer back to the Court of Owls.

After his chat with Dick, Batman heads out to chase down another lead and run smack into another trap. Whether they’re the real deal or not, this Court of Owls is good enough to get the drop on Batman and, unless Batman wises up, he could be in for some serious trouble.

Scott Snyder’s first arc of the New 52 ‘Batman’ is proving to be a great introduction to the newer Dark Knight. The biggest change, as seen by this issue, is that the new Dark Knight isn’t flawless. The pre-relaunch Batman was the “goddamn Batman” and was virtually unstoppable with all of his expensive gadgets and infallible intellect. Seeing Batman actually struggle against his villains is refreshing and makes the character interesting again.

I’m still not sold on the art from Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion as it is too reminiscent of the look of “Spawn”, but it is growing on me. I just wish that Capullo would have an issue that features Batman and the Owls in costume from start to finish, because the weakness in the art comes into play when Capullo does faces sans masks.

Verdict: Buy