"The Court of Owls, Part Four: Face the Court": After setting off a trip-wire in one of the Court of Owls' hideaways within his family's buildings, Batman is faced with the aftermath of the explosion, dodging debris. After having discovered
- Look, Bruce. No one knows Gotham better than you. It's your city. It's Batman's city... But it's also nearly four hundred years old. Which means over the years, maybe it belonged to something else, too. Something big. Something dark.
- -- Dick Grayson
Appearing in "The Court of Owls, Part Four: Face the Court"
- Alan Wayne (Appears only as a corpse)
- Alfred Pennyworth (Behind the scenes)
- Joe Chill (Mentioned only)
Synopsis for "The Court of Owls, Part Four: Face the Court"
After setting off a trip-wire in one of the Court of Owls' hideaways within his family's buildings, Batman is faced with the aftermath of the explosion, dodging debris. After having discovered several of these hideouts dating as far back as the 19th century, he tripped a wire. Focused, he fires his grapple through a weak wall and escapes out into the night. In the Batcave, Dick Grayson marvels at the fact that his mentor appears to be resting. That is, until Alfred admits that he has been drugging his charge in order to force him to stop working. When Bruce wakes, Dick finds him analyzing a set of bones belonging to Alan Wayne. Dick has spoken with the Commissioner about the case, and both of them have noticed that Batman is strangely skeptical of the Court of Owls' existence, despite all evidence to the contrary.
Dick confides that he thinks Bruce is overworking himself, Commissioner Gordon had even said that he thinks Batman is underestimating his enemy. This assassin called the Talon fell from a building and killed his ride to the morgue, and these bases that were discovered seem authentic. Dick warns that Bruce should be more apprehensive about where the case is going. Bruce responds that he is merely being objective, and returns to his analysis.
As Dick turns to leave, Bruce calls out that he knows there is no Court of Owls because he looked into it himself, as a boy. He admits that after the murder of his parents, he could not accept that it had been random; that some thug like Joe Chill could have simply killed them over pearls and pocket change.
He had asked his father about the Court of Owls in the past, but he had brushed it off. There had been a sign, though; an owls nest in the attic of the manor. After the Waynes' deaths, Bruce had destroyed the nest and killed the owls, vowing to expose the Court of Owls.
In his investigation, the clues piled up, and he decided to turn his attention to Gotham City's elite. He compiled a list of those he suspected, and found that they were all members of a club that met at a place called Harbour House which had an owl crest on it. He had broken into the abandoned club and found a secret room, but inside it was something scarier than what he had expected: nothing. Unfortunately, the trap door had closed behind him, and he was trapped in that room for a week before Alfred found him, comatose.
Bruce explains that the lesson he learned was never to let his emotions guide him in a case. He had needed there to be a Court of Owls, and that need had nearly got him killed. Dick responds that while Gotham has belonged to Bruce and the Waynes for generations, the city is much older than that. In its four hundred years, perhaps Gotham had been controlled by something else; something much darker than a Batman.
Batman heads to the sewers where his great grandfather Alan had been found dead. Like the man he found along with a warning against his life, he had discovered tiny puncture marks in Alan Wayne's bones - indicative of the throwing knives apparently used by the Talon. In addition, though, there had been a residue on his relative's bones of a metamorphic rock like marble - which is unusual given that the sewers are made of granite.
Suddenly, the Talon appears, and attacks Batman, reciting the rhyme of the Court of Owls. The impact of the Talon's tackle sends Batman deep below the city, and he wakes in a labyrinth. Three masked figures appear on a screen above him, and welcome him.
- This book was first published on December 21, 2011.
- This issue is reprinted in the trade Batman: The Court of Owls.
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