Batman’s “Court of Owls” gets Back-Up Story

Posted: January 9, 2012 in Comics News
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As many of you now know, DC Comics has recently announced that they will be raising their page-count for their “Batman” and “Detective Comics” books, from 32 pages to 40 pages. This would be great news, if not for the fact that this page-increase will also have a price-increase attached to it. Both books will now be joining select other DC books at the $3.99 price bracket. This is a significant increase, if one compares that extra dollar against their monthly spending. The news has also irked many fans, who have been expressing their discontent over the inter-webs, as some of you may recall DC’s 2011 campaign claiming “Drawing the line at $2.99”. Obviously this campaign referred to the typical 32-page books, leaving room to wiggle in price increases when opportunities arose to do so. However, I digress, as I do not want the price-increase to be the real news here (as much as I ant it to be).

Now, DC Comics has made a second announcement on the page increase, stating that issue # 8 of Batman will be using those extra pages as a back up story, further explaining The Court of Owls. According to ComicVine.com’s write-up, “The Court of Owls is a secret organization centuries old with immense power and influence embedded into the very architecture and history of Gotham City.” DC has said that these back ups will explore the Court’s secret history, and its relationship with Gotham and its favorite family, The Wayne’s.

First off, I’d just like to say that I think this story line has a lot of potential, and seems to have been constructed right. As an avid protestor against the DCnU and some of the changes that have come with it, it actually hurts me to even say this. I believe, maybe, that The Court of Owls storyline may be one of the first DCnU set storylines I will actually purchase to add to my collection. I can hear the moans and groans coming now, and the “sell-out” name calling that will ensue. I empathize, I really do. But if this story was set in the old universe (which it really could), it would make a fantastic follow up to where Snyder had taken Batman before the relaunch.

I’d like to cement my theory on the Court of Owls history before the rest of the inter-webs gets to either rip it apart or piggy-back on it. What we know now is that this group has been around a long time, has some serious connections to Gotham and the Wayne family, and has an affinity to owls. Not much to go on. That being said, it does raise some flags in my head. In the DC Universe, what character can easily be connected to all three of those features? This guy:

Owlman

Owlman, most likey running away from Ultraman after attempting (and succedding) to bed his wife.

For those unfamiliar with DC’s anti-justice league, the man pictured above is Owlman, of the Crime Syndicate of America. This team exists on an alternate earth, where everyting is essentially backwards from what we are used to. The good guys’ counterparts are bad, the bad guys’ counterparts are good, hearts are found on the right side of the body instead of the left, etc. In this team, Batman’s counterpart has an Owl fetish, rather than a bat-crush. I say “counterpart”, because Owlman’s other identity is not that of Bruce Wayne, millionaire playboy. In fact, Owlman is actually Thomas Wayne, older brother to Bruce in this backwards anti-matter world. Owlman’s defining characteristics: he’s from Gotham, he’s a Wayne, and he has an affinity for Owls. Sound familiar?

In the normal DC Universe (Earth-1 for those Multiverse nit-pickers out there), we have not seen much of Thomas Wayne Jr. in some time. Oh, you didn’t know Bruce had a brother? That’s because he didn’t. But he sort of did. But not really. But kind of. Bruce’s younger brother wasn’t exactly a nice guy. In fact, he was a homicidal maniac. Confined to a mental institution due to a child-hood accident causing head trauma, Thomas Jr. one day escaped and went on to become an assassin. The Crisis on Infinite Earths (1986) event actually wiped away this bit of history, so for the purpose of sanity, there is not Thomas Jr. that we know of. BUT, he did exist at one point before being retconned, and there is an alternate version of him on another parallel earth. So though we can’t know for certain that he now exists in any form, we can assume that it is possible to bring him back into the fold one day. I think that day is upon us. My thinking is that this Court of Owls, is strongly connected to Thomas Wayne Jr., and we may be seeing him in the near future in the DCnU.

SPOILER ALERT — Some may recall Dr. Simon Hurt from recent Batman R.I.P. fame. At the time, before they revealed who he really was, I had a theory that this man was the Earth-1 version of Thomas Wayne Jr., and Bruce’s younger brother. Of course, he was eventually revealed to be a Thomas Wayne, but not the one I thought. As it turned out, Hurt was actually Bruce Wayne’s descendant, Thomas Wayne, who had dabbled into some black magic. The man even had a terrible little history involving Bruce’s parents. Another amazing story, by the way, so if you have not read it, get to it ASAP! And don’t forget Hush, whose real identity is Thomas Elliot, Bruce’s old childhood friend. Hush, also recently introduced to the comics, is another character I theorized heavily having to do with Thomas Jr., as he has an extensive history with the Wayne’s, and was very close to Bruce, and… well come on… his name is Thomas! AND, he’s a doctor too! Just like DOCTOR Simon Hurt (Thomas Wayne), and DOCTOR Thomas Wayne Senior.

Hush (Tommy Elliot) and Dr. Hurt (Thomas Wayne)

Could these two amazing Batman villains have been red-herrings, used to throw us off of the Thomas Wayne Jr. trail?

Basically, the point I’m getting at is this: If both of those characters had clues pointing to them being Thomas Wayne Jr., but were then revealed to be someone else entirely, where does that leave a theorizing fan? It leaves him/her (and me) thinking they must have missed something. But perhaps even those reveals were themselves meant to only throw us off their tracks? Could this Court of Owls be the time DC and Snyder will use to bring back little Tommy Wayne into the DC picture? They did it with James Gordon Jr. and Jason Todd. They can do it here again.

What do you think? Is it plausible? Am I grasping at straws? Do you have your own theory? Leave a comment below and let’s hear them all out!

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