Batman: The Night of the Owls HC (The New 52)

Batman: The Night of the Owls - Scott Snyder, Judd Winick, Justin Gray, David Finch, Peter J. Tomasi, Pat Gleason, Tony S. Daniel, Scott Lobdell, Duane Swierczynski, J.H. Williams III, Jimmy Palmiotti

Probably closer to 3.5 stars for an exciting, universe-wide event slightly marred by uneven stories. It is a very long collection, bringing together thirteen stories spanning one very long night. (And one from the past, because we need to get Jonah Hex in here somehow.) The big three, Batman, Nightwing, and Batgirl are well integrated, but some of the other runs aren't. 

For example, in Batman, Bats says he's going after Arkham first and then March. The story then skips straight to March's office. The next page, however, is Detective Comics, where Batman saves Arkham. Likewise, the annual #1 with Freeze didn't seem to fit into the timeline. Jason rescues Freeze, turns him over to Batgirl. Babs apparently has time to drop him off at Arkham on her way to meet the Birds of Prey. Freeze is entered into the system, set to his usual cell, and meets with a counselor, seemingly while Batman rescues Dr. Arkham and fights Black Mask. Bats leaves to go see March and the staff get back to work. Freeze breaks out of prison and heads to Wayne Enterprises, only to be waylayed by Nightwing and Damien who were all the way across town five seconds ago. Freeze then goes up for a creepy as fuck revelation and a showdown with Batman. The same Batman who told us in Batman #9 that he was going to attack the Owls hideout.  Sooooo...he stopped for this? This is on a different night but inserted in the middle of the book? It really stalled the action. The aforementioned Hex comic also seems pretty tacked on, since it's happened outside the confines of the Night of Owls. 

The other unfortunate thing is there's really no resolution. The sun rises and the night is over, but since this is a collection of #8 and #9's, Batman still has three more issues to keep fighting the Owls. The reveal at the end did whet my appetite, but 

Still, Red Hood and the Outlaws was a surprise treat. I've passed on the run before because Starfire does not appeal, but I liked Jason and his conflict regarding the city. His interaction with both the Talon and Batgirl felt like there was genuine emotion behind it. Catwoman and Birds of Prey were perfectly fine as well. 

In the end, I liked the collection enough to bump it up to four stars, and it was a great way to introduce characters whose stories I haven't been reading. But, despite collecting 14 books, I ended feeling that I'd missed something and I need to pick up the second Bats trade. If you're not deeply invested in the how the world as a whole weaves together, you could probably do the same.