"Night of the Owls": In 1855, the brothers Solomon and Joshua Wayne purchased the building which would become known as Wayne Manor. Unfortunately, they couldn't move in until two years later, because the caves beneath the manor h
- The bats had simply hidden deeper in the caves. In the darkest parts, the parts the owls couldn't tolerate. And when the bats came back... it was with a vengeance.
- — Batman
Synopsis for "Night of the Owls"
In 1855, the brothers Solomon and Joshua Wayne purchased the building which would become known as Wayne Manor. Unfortunately, they couldn't move in until two years later, because the caves beneath the manor had been infested with bats. After some consultation, they decided that the best way to eliminate the bats would be to introduce a predator to the caves. The most effective bird for culling the bats turned out to be a Tiger Owl. Within a year, all of the bats were gone.
Now, as then, the bats of those caves are subject to being clawed at by the Talons of the Court of Owls. Batman bravely struggles to keep the Talons occupied long enough for Alfred to lower the temperature in the Batcave to below zero, from the relative safety of the armoury. Unfortunately, it could well be five minutes before temperatures are low enough to completely subdue the Talons and eliminate their regenerative healing. Bruce's Warsuit is specially equipped for a wide variety of environmental conditions, and he hopes that he will be able to survive long enough in it for the temperature to drop.
Unfortunately, his resistance is waning, and the Talons knock him to the ground at the foot of the Tyrannosaurus Rex which he has kept since his adventure on Dinosaur Island. The assembled assassins begin tearing and smashing at his armour. Still, Bruce has a few tricks left. Suddenly, the dinosaur raises its foot, and brings it crushing down on the Talons. This only serves to anger the remaining Talons further, and they begin mercilessly stabbing at him through his armour.
Alfred notices that Bruce's vitals are rapidly dropping, and begs him to return to the armoury. Stubbornly, Bruce coughs that those doors won't hold, disregarding the fact that his own body may not hold any longer than the doors. Alfred attempts to leave the armoury to help him, but Bruce overrides the door command before slipping out of consciousness.
Bruce realizes that he had forgotten something about the story of his family's arrival at the manor. They had used owls to kill all of the bats, but even after that culling, the bats returned as soon as the owls left. The bats had hidden deeper in the caves, knowing the owls couldn't tolerate those darker places. When the bats came back, it was with a vengeance. Bruce rises as a swarm of bats - stirred from their sleep by the change in temperature - begins attacking the Talons. Bruce casts aside his Warsuit and pulls his cowl down over his face. The bat has returned.
With the Talons distracted by the bats, Batman lands heavy punches as the temperature drops to the point at which the assassins cannot regenerate. Batman notices one of the Talons trying to escape, and entering the Batmobile, he runs the assassin down, instructing Alfred to freeze the remaining talons with the coolant he prepared. In the meantime, there is an owl symbol in the sky over Gotham City, and the time has come to snuff it out.
Unfortunately, there are only two names left on the Talons' list that have not been rescued or murdered - Jeremiah Arkham and Lincoln March. Batman decides to go to Arkham Asylum first, and then March.
After rescuing Arkham, Batman arrives at the campaign office of Lincoln March to see the man pointing a gun at him. The gun fires, and next to the door, a Talon slumps to the floor. March has been stabbed in the chest, and he incoherently mumbles that he has a message for Bruce Wayne. Despite Batman's offer for medical attention, March knows he is already dead. He passes Batman a note with three names on it. He explains that these three names may be members of the Court, or they may not. Surely, it will help. Before dying, March tells Batman to remind Bruce Wayne that the city is worth the effort; worth the fight. It can be a good place, and a better Gotham is just one dream away.
Looking over the list, Batman calls Alfred to tell him that he now knows where the Court lives. Since they came to his house, he will now go to theirs - and burn it to the ground.
Appearing in "Night of the Owls"
- Solomon Wayne (First appearance)
- Joshua Wayne (First appearance)
- Lincoln March (Apparent Death)
- Batgirl (Cameo)
- Robin (Cameo)
- Nightwing (Cameo)
Synopsis for "The Fall of the House of Wayne, Part I"
Jarvis Pennyworth has been working under the Wayne family at Wayne Manor for some years. Now, he writes a letter to his young son Alfred Pennyworth on what he believes may be the last night of his life. As frightened as he is for his own life, Jarvis Pennyworth is just as frightened for Alfred's. Despite the fact that Alfred is set to take over at Wayne Manor for him, Jarvis does not want this life for his son. This is because he believes that Wayne Manor - indeed, the Wayne family - is cursed.
Behind the glory of the Wayne family, Jarvis began to uncover darker shadows, and terrible danger. He had served Thomas and Martha, and their young son Bruce thinking that he was preparing a better life for his own son. But that future became dark and nebulous when Thomas and Martha decided that they should become more involved in Gotham City; make it a better place. That decision would see them all marked for death. Still, Jarvis acknowledges that whatever happened or happens to he and the Wayne family as a result - it is his doing.
Not long after writing the letter, Jarvis rushes out to his car in hopes of leaving the manor. From inside, the shadowy figure of an assassin sees him. Jarvis is stopped at the gate to the estate, as the door will not open without throwing a switch. Rain pelting him, he tugs the lever downward, but the gate remains closed. He decides he might try ramming it, in his desperation to escape. The car comes to a crashing halt as it collides with the doors. He looks back to see that the lever has been raised without his noticing. Looking up through his cracked windshield, Jarvis Pennyworth sees a Talon of the Court of Owls, and the agent of his doom.
Appearing in "The Fall of the House of Wayne, Part I"
- Jarvis Pennyworth (First appearance)
- Court of Owls
- Alfred Pennyworth (Mentioned only)
- The story for "The Night of the Owls" was shown from the Talon's point of view in Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2) #9. It also shows a short fight between Batman and the Talon after March's death that was not detailed in this issue.
- The entire issue is reprinted in Batman: The City of Owls, Absolute Batman: The Court of Owls, Batman: The Court of Owls Saga, and Batman: Night of the Owls.
- Batman Recommended Reading
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman (Volume 3)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (Volume 1)
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat (Volume 1)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- The Brave and the Bold (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)