Batman: Gotham Knights — Here’s Everything You Need to Know About The Court of Owls
The Court of Owls is an old and mysterious group; find out more about them before they potentially debut in WB Montreal's newest Batman title.
Over the past year, WB Games Montreal has been teasing something ominous, and probably connected to Batman. To most, it was never clear what the game could be about, but for those that read Scott Snyder’s New 52 run of Batman comics, the answer was there all along. But recently, a new teaser for the untitled game all but confirmed that the next Batman game will see the caped crusader facing off against an ancient, powerful enemy – the Court of Owls.
— WB Games Montréal (@WBGamesMTL) August 17, 2020
This enemy of the Bat, as interesting and frightening as they are, have barely been explored outside of comics. Only one animated movie, 2015’s Batman vs. Robin, has included the Court into its plot, and even then the movie itself was loosely based on Snyder’s comics. So, who exactly is the Court of Owls, who rule over Gotham behind granite and lime? Let me tell you.
Warning! The following potentially contains spoilers for the upcoming Batman game! If you want to go in totally blind, check out any of our other articles here.
In essence, the Court of Owls is a group of Gotham’s wealthiest, oldest families; rich bloodlines that don’t just go back one generation, but all the way back to the 1600s. This ancient group uses its immense resources to secretly rule over Gotham, treating the city as a chessboard and its up-and-coming citizens, like the billionaire Bruce Wayne, as enemies. They have hands in everything, from Gotham’s government to its businesses. But when a lowly Gothamite grows too big for his britches, like Alan Wayne, the group must intervene; in this case by driving him half-mad then dragging him down a manhole, never to be seen again.
But you may be wondering: how does an organization so old and powerful stay a secret? Firstly, through anonymity. Whenever shown, members of the Court of Owls are always hidden behind pallid owl masks. Even if you were fortunate–or unfortunate–enough to come across the group, you wouldn’t know which member was an oil executive or the CEO of a bank. Anyone in the upper echelons of Gotham society could be a member of the Court, meaning it’s nearly impossible to just pick them out.
Of course, these rich folks can’t enforce the Court’s will with deep pockets alone. Some in Gotham are above that: they’ve either got the cash or morals to say no to the Court. That’s where the Talons come in — the Court’s own league of assassins. Talons are specially trained experts in hand-to-hand combat, although they prefer to use knives against their enemies. Naturally, they’re also masters of stealth and camouflage, striking their targets from the shadows. But their most impressive trait is their neigh invincibility. Using a serum derived from electrum, deceased Talons can not only be brought back to life, but are made nearly impossible to kill. In the comics, they survive falls from skyscrapers, being wailed on by the Bat Mech, and otherwise fatal gunshot wounds. They do have one weakness though: the cold. Lower the body temperature of a Talon enough, and they go right back into stasis.
Not just anyone can be a Talon, though. Candidates are picked from a young age when they show the potential to become one of the Court’s killing machines. And usually, these notable subjects are only once or twice removed from the Bat family. Upon finding the court’s hideout deep under Gotham, Batman is tormented by one such Talon, who ends up being the great-grandfather of Dick Grayson (aka Nightwing).
The relations don’t stop there. At the culmination of the Night of Owls, when the Court lets loose all of its talons to reassert its power over the city, Batman faces off against one of the Court’s secret pawns: Lincoln March. In the story, March had been a candidate for Mayor, someone who promised to make Gotham a better place. His identity was so well crafted by the Court that it had even fooled Batman, who only questioned who March really was when the two came to blows. That was also when it was revealed that Bruce wasn’t the only living Wayne. His parents had another son–born broken and twisted–and left at the Willowwood Home for Children, which you can think of as a daycare version of Arkham Asylum. After being hidden from the world and forgotten, March, or Thomas Wayne Jr, was taken in by the Court and trained to be its deadliest tool.
I won’t get any further into what happens with the Court in Snyder’s New 52 run, especially since there are some plot points that the upcoming Batman game may be borrowing. Are you excited for this old enemy of the Bat to be brought to life in WB’s next title? Let us know in the comments down below.