This week, the Batman family of titles started their latest crossover titled “Night of the Owls.” The story is a continuation of the “Court of Owls” story that Scott Snyder had been writing within the pages of Batman. To quickly sum up that story, and give you the information you need to follow this story, here’s what happened. Batman was attacked by a villain named The Talon, who is the assassin for the Court of Owls. Batman, having spent so much time within the inner workings of Gotham City refused to believe that the Court of Owls were anything more than a children’s fairy tale. That is, until he was captured by them. Long story short, after much psychological torture, he was able to escape, capturing the Talon in the process. It turns out that The Talon is actually Dick Grayson’s great-grandfather. The Court of Owls found a way to reanimate dead tissue, only if the body was prepared for it during life. Not only that, but Dick Grayson was also supposed to be the Talon for this era. (This scene was in both Batman #7 and Nightwing #7, since it also tied up the end of the story going on in Nightwing.) Having lost Batman, the Court of Owls reanimates many more of their Talons, and sends them out to kill specific targets. And this is where the story begins.
Batman #8 – A large group of Talons attack Wayne Manor in order to kill Bruce Wayne.
Nightwing #8 – Nightwing attempts to rescue Mayor Hady from an attack by a Talon.
*note: Nightwing is listed as a prelude, and Batman is listed as the beginning. After reading them in that order, this doesn’t make any sense. The events of Nightwing take place obviously after the events in Batman. You’ll see when you read on.
Oh yeah, spoilers after the jump.
Alfred is getting on Bruce for not taking time to fully recover, as that nagging, old butler often does. Bruce is still frustrated with the fact that there was a secret organization hiding in the city that he supposedly knew. An intruder alert sounds at the manor. Alfred runs to the cave, while Bruce runs to great the intruder. A Talon bursts through the door, and tells him that the Court of Owls has sentenced him to die. Bruce fights off this one, only to find that there are several more surrounding him. Alfred, watching from the cave, is about to call in reinforcements, but a Talon was able to follow him into the cave. Bruce goes out a window, and heads to the roof. Not able to fight off all of them, he goes down the chimney, which is really the Batslide that leaves to the Batcave. (It may not actually be called the “Batslide,” but it so totally should.) Bruce arrives in the cave right as Alfred is pushing over the giant penny onto this Talon. They question this Talon, and he doesn’t say anything useful. They take off a device on his arm, and head for the armory as more Talons enter the cave. A slight detour, one of the Talons sets the William Cobb Talon free. In the armory, Bruce tells Alfred to take a microdrive from the Talon’s gauntlet, and see what he can get off of it. He is also to lower the temperature of the cave to sub-zero. Bruce finds heated armor, and goes out to great the Talons. In the “backup” story, Alfred finds a list of 40 names to be assassinated. He sends out a call to all allies to the Bat presently in Gotham to help. Unfortunately, we see that Talons have already reached the city comptroller Betty Park, Gotham City Deputy Sheriff Michael D. Davis, Kane County Supreme Court Justice Jan Spitz, Gotham Public Advocate John Lee, Speaker of the City Council Miguel Guadalupe, Head of City Planning Commission Bill Keep, and Gotham’s Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Valerie Venderman.
There are two parts to this story. One takes place in 1910, and the other takes place in the present.
1910. A young boy is juggling on the street corner to try to raise money for his mother and himself. His father was killed when the Kane Bridge collapsed (see Gates of Gotham). He continues juggling for a while, until one day, he spots someone trying to pick the pocket of someone that is watching him. This kid throws a baseball at him and hits him in the head. The person who’s wallet he recovered offers him a change of scenery. This person was the ringmaster for Haly’s circus. He takes the kid in, and trains him to throw knives. On one trip back to Gotham, this kid, a bit older now, fell in love with a girl named Amelia. She was the daughter of one of the powerful men of Gotham named Burton Crowne. The relationship went well, but that would change.
Present. Nightwing is investigating a murder that involved one of his Escrima sticks, when he gets Alfred’s call about the Talons (reason #1 that this should not be a prelude). Nightwing decides to go to Mayor Hady since Commissioner Gordon is pretty well protected in GCPD headquarters. In City Hall, Mayor Hady is discussing a bill that would rezone some slums so Bruce Wayne couldn’t do anything with them. Councilman Davis is in favor of the bill, but Councilman Thomas is waffling on the idea. The power goes out, and Davis says he’ll go tell security that they’re still there. He walks out the door to find three dead security guards. A Talon appears and beheads him. As the Talon is chasing down Mayor Sebastian Hady, Nightwing crashes in. They have a long fight, and Nightwing tries to leave with Hady, Thomas, the Talon after he thinks he has the Talon down. He finds out he doesn’t have the Talon down when the Talon gets off of Nightwing’s shoulder, and hits him with four throwing knives. It’s revealed that this Talon is William Cobb (reason #2), and he is going to kill Richard Grayson for his betrayal.
So far, we’ve got lots of fighting and killing, and not much background as to why the Court of Owls do what they do. Hopefully, that will be revealed in a little bit. I understand wanting to start the event off with action, so I’ll be patient while waiting on the details. I plan on getting all of the tie-in books, so I will keep you updated on all future developments in the story. I’ll also do more critiquing once there’s more issues out.