(Click here to read an interview with Scott Snyder about the Court of Owls)
|Batman Volume 1: The Court of Owls cover by Greg Capullo|
Dan Matthews, guard at Arkham Asylum, has gone crooked after having an affair with a girl at Penguin's Iceberg Lounge. When Batman goes to take him down, Matthews open the inmates' cells and Batman has to take down all his regular villains. He has help, though. Nightwing (Dick Grayson) has been working undercover in Arkham, posing as the Joker.
That night, Bruce unveils his plans to invest in a massive building project for Gotham. Vicki Vale, reporter for the Gotham Gazette, introduces him to Lincoln March, business owner and candidate for Gotham mayor.
Bruce leaves the party when he overhears Commissioner Gordon talking about a murder victim. The unknown victim has been stabbed multiple times with knives decorated with owls. There's also a note on the wall that says, "Bruce Wayne died tomorrow."
The victim has Dick's DNA under his fingernails. Dick says the guy ran up to him a week ago and gave him a warning about someone coming for him. The victim also has the imprint of an owl on one of his molars. There's an old Gotham legend about the Court of Owls being the secret rulers of Gotham and that Talon is their assassin. Batman doesn't believe in the legend. He would know.
The next morning, Lincoln March comes to visit Bruce at his office. They both want to rebuild Gotham. Lincoln says his mother died when she was hit by a drunk driver. As they're talking, Talon attacks and the two crash through the window. Bruce catches himself on a gargoyle while Talon falls to the street and then escapes the ambulance that's taking him to the morgue.
Flashback: Alan Wayne, Bruce's great-great grandfather, was hunted by the Court of Owls. He fell through an open manhole while trying to tell the police about the Court and was found weeks later.
Now. Bruce goes to see Lincoln in the hospital and learns that the Court has been threatening Lincoln to drop his mayoral candidacy.
Batman then finds that the Court of Owls has been building nests inside Wayne-funded buildings all over Gotham, including Wayne Tower. In keeping with tradition, the architects left the thirteenth floor blank of any rooms, and this is where the Talon makes his home.
Bruce examines Alan Wayne's body himself and finds multiple stab wounds. Bruce used to think that the Court of Owls was behind his parents' deaths, but never found any evidence. He finds a sample on Alan that sends him to the sewers, investigating. There, he is attacked and knocked out by Talon.
Batman wakes up in a maze called the Labyrinth. He is there for eight days, going insane, until Talon stabs him through the stomach. He is about to die, but then sees Alan Wayne's face in the pictures of Talon victims on the wall and finds the strength for one last fight. He defeats Talon and blows a hole in the wall, escaping into the river.
The Court then decides to wake up the rest of their Talons to fight this one, formidable enemy.
Harper finds Batman and resuscitates him using jumper cables and her van.
Back at the cave, Alfred has recovered the body of the beaten Talon, cast off by the Court for his failure against Batman. He is a dead man named William Cobb, Dick Grayson's great-great grandfather. The Court is able to bring dead people back to life stronger than they were before and with a rapid healing factor.
Batman punches Dick in the mouth to knock out his tooth. It has an owl on it. Batman says Haly's Circus was raising Dick to be a Talon one day.