I like Batman. A lot. He's that guy that makes you wish you could be a superhero. Superman is the one we all aspire to be (because he's the best, let's face it), but Batman is the one we actually feel like we have a chance to become. If only we work, train, focus.
We could be him.
And that's the largest part, I think, of why he endures.
The other part is almost as important: he is a legitimately great detective. Not merely a strong guy, not merely a combat expert. He follows the clues, he gathers the facts. He arrives at the logical conclusions.
And he does it faster than you or I - or the police in the real world - could possibly do so. Because he is the world's greatest detective.
That's why the best stories involving Batman mix both his humanity - his drive, his focus, his passion - and his great skills as a detective. They mesh emotion and ability. And to do this they generally must pull something from his past and embed it in a mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes.
When it works, it is marvelous.
When it fails, it is scandalous.
When it does neither, it is eminently forgettable - and perhaps that is saddest of all.
The Court of Owls, for me, falls into this last category. With artwork that was good but failed to amaze, with a backstory that illuminated but failed to entrance, with a mystery that functioned but failed to intrigue.
It was all so pedestrian, compared to Batman's past works. I know that the New 52 is meant as a reset of sorts, a push back to zero. So perhaps it is unfair of me to compare this to other, better Batman capers of the past.
But the reality is that you can't reset history. The past will remain, no matter how many reboots are attempted.
And this reboot settled, for me, into the vast, sad chasm of mediocrity. Batman deserves better.