photo: DC Entertainment

It’s safe to say that the second season of “Gotham” elevated the show’s status after a hit first season, by introducing a who’s who of classic villains in Batman’s rogues gallery, as well as evolving James Gordon’s story arc, as a man struggling to keep his own morality in a city full of corruption.  (SEASON 2 FINALE SPOILERS AHEAD!) But it looks like the big story arc surrounding season 3 is the reveal that the mysterious underground organization, the “Court of Owls,” was not only behind Hugo Strange’s experiments at Indian Hill, but is also secretly controlling Gotham City at it’s highest levels.  Although The Court is a relatively new group of villains in the Batman comics (being introduced in the New 52 Batman, issue #1 in 2011), the villainous cabal created by writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo gave Batman readers a new formidable threat for their beloved hero.  Before you embark on the new season of “Gotham” on September 19th, here is a cheat sheet on what you need to know about The Court of Owls.

The Court of Owls is a secret organization made up of some of Gotham’s most powerful families and figures, that has existed just as long as Gotham City, at times suggested to be even longer.  The Court has significant political influence, and has wielded that power quietly, yet effectively behind the scenes for centuries.   The Court’s history can be traced as far back as colonial times, and DC’s own western hero, Jonah Hex, has had his own encounters with them in 1800’s Gotham.  The Court has kept itself in the shadows so effectively, that even Bruce Wayne had long dismissed them as a myth.

The Court carries out its intentions through the use of highly trained assassins, called “Talons,” whom they have amassed for decades through the pipeline of Haly’s Circus, recruiting the circus’ top performers to become Talons.  If Haly’s Circus sounds familiar to you, that’s because it’s the same circus that took in and featured the Flying Graysons, aka Dick Grayson/Robin and his family.  The connection is no coincidence, because, as it turns out, Dick’s great-grandfather, William Cobb, is the greatest Talon that the Court has ever produced, a fate that was intended for Dick himself, before Bruce Wayne inadvertently foiled those plans by taking Dick in to live with him.  Cobb has remained a Talon all the way through present-day Gotham, due to the very same reason Talons are so formidable- they have a chemical in their blood that allows them to regenerate themselves whenever injured (the chemical compound was given to them by Mr. Freeze), also making it so that they can remain alive for as long as the Court needs them.

photo: DC Comics

During Batman’s encounter with the Court during present-times, the challenge of the Talons is so great, he needs to call upon all of his “Batman Family” allies, such as Dick Grayson/Nightwing, Batgirl, Batwing, his son Damien, the Birds of Prey, and Red Hood just to combat them during the New 52’s first major comics crossover event, “The Night of the Owls.”  (COMICS SPOILERS AHEAD) In the climax, Batman discovers that the man behind the mayhem is his long-lost brother, Thomas Wayne Jr., himself a member of the Court, who blames Bruce for the death of their parents.

Going into the new season of “Gotham,” we know that there will be changes to the Court of Owls story arc from the comics, being that the show portrays Bruce as a preteen, and Dick Grayson is probably in diapers.  Could this mean that we will see the beginning of Dick’s intended legacy start to take shape?  Let’s not forget that at the end of the season 2 finale, a truck filled with Hugo Strange’s Indian Hill experiments crashes, and spills them out into the city streets, one of them being a boy who looks identical to young Bruce.  Could this be Thomas Wayne Jr., making his first official appearance?  Be sure to tune into the season premiere of “Gotham” on Monday, September 19th to find out!