"The Court of Owls, Part One: Knife Trick": Batman finds himself surrounded in Arkham Asylum by a number of the villains he has since put away there. With superior fighting skills, he manages to hold his own until he winds up launch
- My view is, when it comes to Gotham, you don't know it, brother. It knows you. And the moment you think otherwise, the moment you get too comfortable... that's when it stabs you in the back. Because above everything, Gotham is a mystery.
Appearing in "The Court of Owls, Part One: Knife Trick"
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Damian Wayne
- Harvey Bullock
- Jim Gordon
- Dick Grayson (disguised as the Joker)
- Tim Drake
- Vicki Vale
- The Court of Owls (Behind the scenes)
- Lincoln March (First appearance)
- Harper Row (First appearance) (Cameo)
- Pandora (Cameo)
- Dan Matthews (Mentioned only)
- Leslie Thompkins (Mentioned only)
- Sam Strigs (Dies)
Synopsis for "The Court of Owls, Part One: Knife Trick"
Batman finds himself surrounded in Arkham Asylum by a number of the villains he has since put away there. With superior fighting skills, he manages to hold his own until he winds up launched through an upper window. In the alley below, he prepares to go back inside, but the Joker sneaks up on him. They appear to have made some kind of alliance, and when they get back into the fray, they fight as a team in perfect conjunction to take down all of the escaped inmates.
Later, Batman reconnoitres with Commissioner Gordon on the roof of the Gotham City Police Headquarters. Batman explains that this wasn't a breakout. He had been investigating a weak link at Arkham - a guard named Dan Matthews - who opened the cell doors on Batman when he was coming for him. Gordon deduces that Batman had a man on the inside, and seems suspicious of security video showing Batman and the Joker fighting together, but his friend reassures him briefly, before disappearing into the night.
In the Batcave, the Joker appears behind Bruce, joking that the latter actually practices brooding. Bruce responds that he is actually testing a new computerized contact lens, which can provide him with remote access to the cave's supercomputers. The Joker reveals himself to be Dick Grayson in disguise. Dick had been the inside informant at Arkham, disguised as the Joker.
They ascend to the manor, where they encounter Bruce's other sons - adopted and biological - Tim Drake and Damian Wayne. Bruce is hosting a gala, where he plans to reveal some big ideas for Gotham City's future.
At the gala, Bruce announces plans to invest in Gotham's infrastructure, including an improved public transit system and restoring some of the city's derelict architecture. After his well-received speech, Bruce encounters Vicki Vale of the Gotham Gazette, who introduces him to mayoral candidate Lincoln March.
Bruce tries to convince March to invest in - or at least support - his plans for the future of Gotham, and March seems genuinely interested. They attempt to set up a date to further discuss their agreements, but Bruce happens to notice that Commissioner Gordon has received a work call. He uses his new contact lenses to lip-read Gordon's side of the conversation, and overhears information about a fatal stabbing downtown. Casually, Bruce makes his excuses, and heads out as Batman.
He comes upon a crime scene being overseen by Detective Harvey Bullock. Inside the rundown apartment, they find the body of a middle-aged John Doe pinned to the wall in his underwear amid a number of paintings and a mess of painting supplies. The body has been fixed to the wall by several antique throwing knives of professional grade. Each knife has the symbol of an owl emblazoned on the handle. Additionally, they discover some tissue under the victim's fingernails, which Batman sends for scanning with a mini-computer in his gauntlet.
Batman happens to catch a whiff of Linseed Oil - a common paint thinner. The smell is stronger than it would be through normal use in an artist's studio, though. Taking Bullock's lit cigar, Batman ignites the oil on the wall, revealing a hidden message in the flames. The message reads: "Bruce Wayne will DIE tomorrow."
Together, Batman and Bullock come to the conclusion that the victim anticipated his own murder, and further that whoever would find him would find him on this particular day, along with the message. Bullock predicts that whoever is targeting Wayne must be close to him in order to bypass his high level of security.
Batman gets a call from Alfred, and is surprised to discover that the results of the DNA sample he collected are a perfect match with Dick Grayson.
- This book was first published on September 21, 2011.
- Pandora makes a brief cameo appearance to witness the events of this story, as she does all #1 issues published as part of The New 52. She can be seen under the "Majestic Theatre" awning, next to two bums as they are warming themselves by a trashcan fire (first panel).
- This issue marks the first time in 71 years that the comic numbering restarted from #1.
- This issue is reprinted in the trade paperback Batman: The Court of Owls.
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