When we left Batman last issue, he was trapped in a labyrinth beneath Gotham City, drugged, and at the mercy of the Court of Owls and their sadistic assassin, the Talon.

[Beware: There are minor spoilers in the next recapping paragraph.]

This issue, Batman fights back against the Talon. Of course, drugged as he is, the battle takes on some unique properties. Batman’s anger manifests itself as claws, wings, and fangs. Then, when the two combatants end up dueling in the Court’s model of Gotham, the end up appearing as giant monsters dueling over a city. And, just as all seems lost and Batman is at the mercy (or lack thereof) of the Court of Owls, he shows that, despite a broken body and mind, he is still the Batman. As Batman makes his escape, the Court of Owls reveal that they are much more dangerous than just a single assassin.

[End of spoilers… continue on reading.]

Scott Snyder has been magnificent in all of his New 52 titles and last month’s ‘Batman’ #5 will likely go down as one of the best comic issues of his run. This months, drug and madness influenced battle is a continuation of the mind-altering tricks that Snyder began last month, but some of the punch is gone after that last issue’s initial blast. Still, it is a wonderfully written issue and the reveal on the final page is well worth the cover price and hints at even more awesomeness next month!

Greg Capullo continues to find his ‘Batman’ footing as each month, his art seems less and less like a stylized McFarlane/Spawn clone and more gritty. I didn’t much care for his pencils when this series began, but now I am finding fewer and fewer things to fault him on. When this first arc is complete, I will go back and read it in its entirety and I’m sure that ‘Spawn’ will be the furthest thing from my mind.

Kudos to Snyder and Capullo for yet another great issue!

Verdict: Buy