Batman: The Court of Owls

Comic books are rife with references to mazes due to a hallmark of the genre, villains with seemingly endless money who manage to secretly build outrageous traps for the heroes. The maze that appears in Court of Owls story arc (Batman – the new 52, #1 – #12) is at first glance traditional – it is underground, the hero gets trapped, it has very high walls but no roof, it is incredibly complicated, and it contains a deadly nemesis.

What make this maze special are psychological components and intense storytelling that highlights the effect of the maze on its victim: the victim is aware that they are being watched, the water is laced with a hallucination, unseen voices taunt the victim, unseen caretakers make small changes to the rooms, and everywhere are subtle messages to the victim that all is lost.

The most chilling aspect of the maze is the room with the camera. Every time the victim enters the room it takes another photo which is later displayed on the wall next to the previous photo. The results look like a movie strip showing the victim’s physical and mental decline.

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