One hint, guys. If you're going to go with the practice (which I don't care for anyway) of not revealing the issue title (and credits) until the last page, don't put a prominent sound effect like “CRASH” at the bottom of the third page where it's what the reader's eye is drawn toward upon turning that first page.
Anyway, that gripe aside, here we have another atmospheric Batman tale drawing on the richness of the new Gotham history being built from the ground up by Scott Snyder over the past months, both pre- and post-Flashpoint. We also get to see some more cool Bat-tech, this time a two-way virtual/holographic link into the morgue so that once the coroner's done his autopsy, Batman can, with Gordon still there, do the real job. They discover an emblem on one of the first issue's human pincushion's wisdom teeth – an Athenian Owl, which puts Gordon in mind of a nursery rhyme apparently known to Gotham children:
Beware the court of owls, that watches all the time,
Ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime.
They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed,
Speak not a whispered word of them, or they'll send the talon for your head.
“I know the nursery rhyme, Jim,” Batman declares. “But the Court of Owls is just a legend.” – “To be blunt,” Gordon retorts, “so were you for a while.” – “They don't exist.” – “And you know that because...” – “I just know.” I think we'll find out otherwise.
Anyway, Nightwing shows up and has (as I'm sure we all expected) a perfectly logical reason Dick Grayson's DNA was under the victim's fingernails. Of course, Bruce had already figured it out from surveillance footage which caught their encounter at a groundbreaking ceremony.
Bruce meets with a prospective mayoral candidate – who seems a bit too heavily developed in a short time for his fate – dead on the third page it seems, another victim of the killer who wears a uniform with an owl motif (are you sure the Court of Owls doesn't exist, Bats?). But he's mainly there for Burce. Fighting his assailent without armor, Bruce takes some of his throwing blades to some critical nerve centers before being kicked through a window – from the umpteenth-storey of Wayne Tower. (That's actually where the initial splash page began, then looped back to tell us how he ended up in free fall.) The assailant follows him out and continues the attack on the way down, but Bruce manages to use a little-known, later addition to the rings of gargoyles – “guardians” – encircling the Tower to arrest his own fall. The assailant falls to his death.
Interior monologue: “Whoever it was that just tried to kill me, he was good. … But he made one mistake. … He tried to use Gotham's legends against me. … But I'm the only legend this city needs. … In many ways it's my oldest and truest friend. … And it knows me better than anyone, just as I know it. … Which is why I can say that there is no Court of Owls. … Not in Gotham. … Not in my city.” … Right. That's why the final page of this two-page monologue covers a scene where another owl-themed attacker kills an EMT. Is Bruce being a bit obtuse here, or what? And ... Next: The Court of Owls Revealed!
Cheers! … and thanks for reading!