What did New 52 mean for Batman? Apparently... nothing. It seems like the Bat family books have picked up exactly where they left off. Where this will put them in the grand scheme of things come crossover time, I don't know. But let's forget that for the time being.
The Court of Owls is Gotham's mythical bogeyman association. As far as I know, it's a completely new innovation by Snyder, and it could open up a whole new line of storytelling for Batman. Bring on the paranoid conspiracies! Except that Batman, oddly, refuses to accept that the Owls are real, because he investigated them once, as a child. This was kind of a sticking point for me. I don't remember Batman being quite so arrogant about his own abilities before. But hey, I can buy it, especially if the rest of the story is good.
It is. I did start to lose patience with the attempted brainwashing Batman gets subjected to, especially since the action cuts directly to the almost-broken stage. There are, however, some very cool things about that sequence. Manipulating the orientation of the book to throw the readers off balance was brilliant. But the whole sequence lacked coherence. Intentional? I'll buy it, because it was certainly immersive. I didn't have to like it, though.
The art I can't really complain about, except that the chins were completely out of control. Some very nice touches in the art, including my favorite panel: Damian threatening a thug while Dick watches proudly. Nice call back to their time together as Batman and Robin.
There are flaws here, and the last page did make me break out my best Wicked Witch of the West impression, but the story overall is absorbing and paranoia-inducing creepy.