If there is one thing that proves to be the most difficult challenge that a single hero can face in the world of comic books, it has to be facing a secret society. Whether its a conglomeration of villains coming together to stop a hero or a group of hidden figures trying to control things from the shadows, these organizations are truly dangerous.
One of the clearest examples of this in DC Comics has to be the Court of Owls. They're introduced as major players in the world of DC Comics and specifically Batman lore with the New 52 universe. Let's take a look at who the Court of Owls really are.
10 First Encountered After Marking Bruce Wayne As Target
The Court of Owls has been around for centuries, existing as far back as the 1600s before Gotham City became industrialized. There were even nursery rhymes that spoke of the Court of Owls and their assassins but they were relegated to the hall of myths that Gotham is infamous for.
They made their presence known when they made Bruce Wayne their next target. After announcing to update and change Gotham City for the future, they sent Talon William Cobb to end Bruce’s life during a meeting with Lincoln March. However, Bruce managed to survive and defeat Cobb, beginning a war with the Court.
9 Enforcers Known As Talons
One of the key things to remember about the Court of Owls is that they are able to send some of the most ruthless, dangerous and powerful assassins in the world to silence their enemies. These soldiers are known as Talons, able to repair broken bones, survive impossible injuries and even reanimate after being frozen for centuries.
These soldiers are able to feel no pain, and are proficient with knives and carrying out attacks on the enemies of the Court. Some of these Talons have been relatives of the Bat-Family like William Cobb, who is the great-grandfather of Dick Grayson.
8 Capture Batman
During the first encounter with Batman, the Court of Owls had sent their best Talon known as William Cobb. After Bruce Wayne managed to throw Cobb off of the skyscraper where he and Lincoln March had been meeting, Batman went on to investigate the Court of Owls.
During one investigation, he discovered his great grandfather Alan Wayne’s buildings had included secret meeting rooms for the Court throughout Gotham City and that Alan had his life taken. While investigating, Cobb captured Batman and held him for a week, refusing him food and driving Batman to the brink of losing his mind.
7 Bruce Considered The Court’s Role In Parent’s Passing
One of the things that first brought Bruce into the investigation of the Court of Owls was the theory they had orchestrated the deaths of his mother and father, Martha and Thomas Wayne. After discovering the connection to his great-grandfather Alan Wayne, Bruce wondered if his parents had gotten too close to the Court’s secrets.
He spent a long time investigating this claim, knowing that it was possible the Court could have orchestrated events to allow his parents passing. However, he determined there was no evidence of this, leaving his mission against the Court to remain impersonal.
6 Sent Talon Army Against Bat-Family
After Batman’s escape and William Cobb’s defeat, the Court decided the entire Bat-Family had to go. Wanting to prove that the myth and legacy of the Court of Owls was the dominant myth of Gotham and not the myth and legend of Batman, they reanimated all of the Talons they had frozen over the centuries and sent them to attack the Bat-Family.
From Nightwing, Alfred and Robin to Batgirl, Commissioner Gordon, Jason Todd and Catwoman, all of Batman’s allies faced their own Talon threat and it took the whole Bat-Family to stop the threat from escalating too far.
5 One Member Claimed To Be Batman’s Brother
After failing to save Lincoln March from being taken out by the Court, he went to confront the leadership after learning of their connection to the Powers family. However, upon arrival, he found the leadership poisoned, and discovered that Lincoln March was, in fact, a former Talon and member of the Court.
Upon confronting March, he is told by the former mayoral candidate that he is, in fact, Bruce Wayne’s brother, Thomas Wayne Jr. Many fans will know this as the Owlman of Earth-3, now appearing as a Talon in the New 52. The two battle, with March calling it the Owl vs the Bat.
4 Talons Used In Arkham War
When the Justice League appear to be taken out during the Forever Evil storyline, the Court of Owls believe that their society will prosper in a world without Batman. However when war breaks out between the Arkham inmates and villains against Bane and his army, the two factions race to find the frozen Talons of the Court of Owls.
Originally, the Arkham villains manage to snag all but William Cobb, turning the Talons into brainwashed soldiers. However, Bane and William work together to take the Talons down, resetting their minds and turning them to Bane’s side. They are eventually defeated by a returned Batman.
3 Orchestrates The Robin War
Before the DC Rebirth era, one of the Court of Owls final plans involved trying to finally recruit the Gray Son of Gotham. Lincoln March returned, placing a Court member into the city council for Gotham. As she rises to power, the Court member instills new laws making it illegal to wear or use the Robin sign in Gotham City.
The four Robins return to Gotham to train the street gang who have taken up the Robin mantle. However, March captures the Robins except for Grayson. He blackmails Damian Wayne into leading Talons by implanting an explosive device into Damian’s spine.
2 Court Splinters Into Factions
During the DC Rebirth era, the Court of Owls has fractured. A large portion of the wealthy and powerful elites who helped rule the Court followed Lincoln March and went on to create what became known as The Parliament of Owls. Deciding to sever ties to the Court operating in Gotham, they donned black owl masks and created the Parliament.
However, soon March was taken down by a new villain and soldier, Raptor, a man who would become a major Nightwing villain in the years to come. The Parliament would then pair Raptor with Nightwing, who was being blackmailed in to join the Parliament to keep Damian alive.
1 Began Dark Nights: Metal Event
The biggest event the Court of Owls has participated in, to date, has to be the blockbuster event Dark Nights: Metal. The event that saw the dark multiverse emerge and several dark versions of Batman try to destroy the DC Universe, was all jumpstarted by the Court of Owls themselves.
It turns out the original Court of Owls was made up to be a cult that worshipped the dark god Barbatos. They captured Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, tricking Batman to coming into contact with enough metals to open the gateway that would bring the dark multiverse to light, but soon the court was executed by The Batman Who Laughs.