So there's this big hotel in Gotham, and surprise, surprise, the Court of Owls built, and maintains it. Cue Calvin Rose, who aims to infiltrate the most locked away chambers of the building in order to steal a few things his new partner Sebastian said would be there, mainly information on himself and the Washingtons (issue #0), the other stuff Calvin could pretty much care less about.
After dispatching some guards, Calvin makes his way deep into the building, finding an exclusive store known as Eden, filled with hundreds of artifacts. The store is being guarded by an out of costume Talon, who Calvin manages to distract, while he breaks into the former office of R.H. Orchard, who built the hotel.
Calvin finds a secret safe under a rug, which he believes to have the info he's looking for, but inside, only finds a very ornate Owl mask, and is soon confronted by the Talon, who has now discovered him. The two begin to fight, as the Talon knocks the mask out of Calvin's possession. The man introduces himself as Benjamin Orchard, the son of R.H. who Calvin is surprised got turned into a Talon. Benjamin didn't have a great upbringing, Having run away to the circus during the depression, Benjamin's father, the grandmaster of the Court at the time, believed his son to abandon his destiny, and was given a new one, being turned into a Talon. R.H. only used his son as an assassin for a year, until he was replaced, and had his throat slit by the new Talon.
After the sob story is given, Calvin puts his back up plan into action, triggering many incendiary bombs he had hid in the walls. With the explosions going off, the heat in the room begins to rapidly increase. Calvin tries to turn Benjamin, sympathizing with him, asking him to join his cause, but Benjamin refuses. Instead, in some twisted act of defiance towards his father, Benjamin waits in the middle of the room, eventually getting covered by melted gold, very reminiscent of a particular death in Game of Thrones.
Back at Sebastian's base, Calvin is pissed that he was lied to, as Sebastian knew full well that Calvin would only find the mask, essentially a glorified symbol to the Court. Sebastian tells Calvin of a social event held by the Court he managed to infiltrate, where they watched a young woman get torn to pieces by dogs. He explains that the horrible people that consist of the Court need to be taken down, and are more important than Calvin's "girlfriend." Calvin is still pissed, telling Sebastian that he's going to NYC to make sure Casey and Sarah Washington are safe, and never to ask him for his trust again.
Elsewhere, numerous members of the Court enter a secret location known as the Tomb of the Unworthy, where the Court keep their more... shall we say, "reckless." In an attempt to take down Calvin Rose once and for all, the Court decides to wake up Felix Harmon, a man once known as The Gotham Butcher.
I don't know, fucking everything? This has quickly become a favorite of mine, and has been WAY better than I could ever have expected. Calvin is just a cool character, and his background/intelligence was really on display this issue. What I also really enjoyed was the very fragile alliance Calvin has with Sebastian... this is no Bruce/Alfred relationship, these are two very different people who have a lot of tension between them already. Betting that's going to blow up down the line in a pretty big way. While Guillem March took a (scheduled) break, Juan Jose Ryp's art, while not as enjoyable as March's (in my opinion), was pretty great, and very detailed. Going to be interesting to see him draw two issues of Nightwing. It's also amazing how good of a job the colorist, Tomeu Morey does. Like Matthew Wilson on Wonder Woman, Morey's colors keep a consistent feel between artists on the title.
The Bottom Line:
So far, this book is three for three. Now that we're really getting into Calvin's quest, I'm really enjoying the expansion of the Court mythos, which despite introducing the concept, Batman didn't touch upon enough, I feel like. As said above, Calvin is just an awesome character, and the shaky relationship he has with Sebastian is really interesting, and rather unpredictable. I'll say it again, this is hands down the best book to come out of the third wave.