Court of OwlsBack to Villains Main > Court of Owls
Real Identity: Various
Appearances: Batman vs Robin
Powers/Skills: Accumulated Wealth and Accumulated Knowledge in Sciences and Technologies
Voiced By: Robin Atkin Downes (Grandmaster), Grey Griffin (Samantha Vanaver), and Troy Baker (Owl Lieutenant)
The Court of Owls is a secret society of rich and powerful families who ruled Gotham City from the shadows from possibly as far back as the 17th century. Each member wears a mask based on the owl, an icon of great power. They were even integrated in Gotham's mythology. Children knew of the nursery rhyme, "Beware the Court of Owls. That watches all the time. Gazing from the shadows. Behind cement and lime. They see you at your hearth. They see you in your bed. Take care, beware, or they send a talon for your head." The Court took advantage of the superstition to solidify their rule. For a time, they stood behind every wall, in every shadow, Gotham trembled when they whispered, nor could a leaf fall without their permission. To protect their interests, the Court recruited children, often who underwent a traumatic event with promise of power and purpose. They raised them, trained them, and indoctrinated them into highly skilled assassins called Talons. The Vanaver family dominated the head position of Grandmaster for generations. Their rule was met with some dissent, notably the Wayne family.
Their golden age came to an end when a faction rose up against the Court. Not even the Talons could stop the rebellion. The Court was forced to retreat but they never surrendered. The fallen Talons were gathered and kept in storage. Bruce Wayne suspected the Courts were behind his parents' deaths after he saw an owl fly over them the night of the murders. He settled on the Harbor House, a social club, as the Courts' headquarters but it was abandoned when he investigated. After a heart to heart with Alfred Pennyworth, Wayne stopped investigating and admitted his parents' murders were just a terrible thing and not a conspiracy.
Decades later, at some point around the time of the Atlantean incursion of Metropolis, the Court of Owls began making plans to move forward with retaking control of Gotham City. They would cross lines Batman wouldn't, supposedly eradicating crime once and for all, to raise the city from the spiral of chaos it fell into and restore it to her former glory. The Court planned to launch an army of immortal and indestructible Talons onto the city. They began using specimens from the Lazarus Pit to resurrect the Talons. They steadily made progress by collecting and analyzing the remains. At one point, the Talons could only last three hours. The current Talon would subject himself to the process, be reborn a god, and be the general of the Court's army. He took an interest in the second Robin, Damian Wayne, and observed him for several months. The Court pressed on.
Batman was an obstacle to the Court's plans. Talon left a stolen owl feather on the Dollmaker's body for Batman to easily find and trace. As he connected the feather to a display in the Gotham Museum of Natural History's Hall of Owls, Batman was ambushed by three revived Talons. Before they could eliminate Batman, the Talons were either blown up or reached their physical limit and disintegrated. Though, these Talons lasted for more than eight hours. Ironically, Bruce Wayne became potential recruit and he had been dating Samantha Vanaver whom he was unaware was the Court's Grandmaster. Owls in four cars chased after Bruce Wayne down a stretch of highway. After knocking one party into water barrels, Wayne played a deadly game of chicken with the other three but crashed. The Owl Lieutenant present had Wayne drugged and bagged. He was taken to the Court's headquarters where he was offered membership and the opportunity to merge their visions for the future of Gotham. Wayne was intrigued but requested time to consider the offer. He managed to slip a tracer on the mask he was offered before he was taken away.
The Court had refined the resurrection process to the point their Talons could last for one full day. The Grandmaster and Talon went ahead with their secret agenda to substitute Robin as the general of the Talons and to ascend Talon to a leadership role within the Court. Batman tracked the signal put out by his tracer to a section of sewers shut down since the 1800s. He failed to identify a faint aroma in the air as an odorless psychotropic drug. He ventured forth into a secret passage and walked into the Court's theater. The Grandmaster was not surprised and boasted the Court had eyes across Gotham observing and recording Batman's every movement. As Batman began to feel the effects of the drug, he was dropped into the Labyrinth below. Many hours later, Talon presented Robin to the Court as his protege. However, when Robin revealed his secret identity as a gesture of loyalty, the Grandmaster recognized him as Bruce Wayne's ward. Realizing the connection to Batman, Grandmaster ordered Robin's death.
Talon could not bring himself to kill Robin and sacrificed his world. He murdered every single Owl present. Bruce Wayne was still a complication. Talon decided he would eliminate Wayne, force Robin to his side, steal the Wayne fortune, and evade the Court's recrimination. He revived all the Talons and headed to Wayne Manor. After Batman, Robin, Nightwing, and Alfred Pennyworth defeated the Talons, the Gotham City Police Department was tipped off about the Court's base. As they collected evidence and processed the scene, S.T.A.R. Labs was simultaneously analyzing the Talons' remains.