Old Wayne Tower was built in 1888 by Alan Wayne, the great, great grandfather of Bruce Wayne. It was built as a symbol to welcome all of those who enter Gotham City. For each entry point into the city, there was built a gargoyle or 'guardian,' to welcome visitors. At the top of the tower is an observation deck, surrounded by windows made with special glass which is, in effect, unbreakable. That is, except when someone like the assassin who has just attacked Bruce Wayne knows that the glass can be broken with an indirect hit. Smashing through the glass, Bruce Wayne plummets toward the street below.
Twenty-four hours earlier, Batman was in pursuit of a group of thieves who had stolen some statues from the Hellenistic Wing at the Gotham museum. The thieves flew their helicopter into a train tunnel, and Batman followed on his Batcycle. The copter caught up to a nearby train, and racing ahead of them, Batman got his vehicle onto the roof of the train, and turning around, launched the bike through the helicopter's windshield.
Meanwhile, at the morgue, Commissioner Gordon examined the body of the mysterious victim that was found stabbed to death recently, with a message warning the death of Bruce Wayne. After the mortician left, Gordon contacted Batman, who remotely scanned the body with a laser, providing him with a projection of the body in the Batcave.
Batman noticed some scar tissue on the man's face and hands from which Gordon determined that they were the defensive scarring of someone who trained strong fighters. Additionally, they discovered an unusual mark on the victim's right wisdom tooth: an Athenian Owl. The owl reminds the commissioner of a nursery rhyme about a rumoured underground organization called the Court of Owls. Batman stated flatly that the Court of Owls is a legend.
After examining the body, Batman was interrupted by Nightwing. Dick recognized the body in the projection as a man who accosted him at the groundbreaking for the West Side Promenade. The man had gripped his arm, which explains how Dick's DNA was found under the man's fingernails. The man had said, "They're real. They're everywhere. And they're sending him for you... all of you." As it turned out, Bruce had already ruled out Dick as a suspect, having reviewed the surveillance footage at the groundbreaking already.
At the Old Wayne Tower, Bruce Wayne took an appointment with Lincoln March. Bruce offered March a cheque, but the mayoral candidate explained that it wasn't money he wanted, just his vote. Lincoln March confided that he sees an ally in Bruce, since he also lost his parents at a young age. March claimed that he and Bruce are similar, not only because of their tragedies, but also because they were both saved by Gotham. Gotham gave them a purpose.
March confessed that something bad has come back to Gotham, something ancient, and powerful, and evil. But before Bruce could ask what he meant by that, they were attacked by a masked assailant in a black costume. The intruder threw one of the Owl-inscribed knives into Lincoln's belly, and as Bruce ran towards him, he caught a knife in his own arm. In the ensuing fight, the killer kicked Bruce out of the tower's window.
Now, as Bruce falls, he realizes that his injuries will prevent him from gripping anything. Likewise, he will reach terminal velocity by the time he reaches the lower five gargoyles, and would snap his arms if he tried to grip them. The assailant jumps through the window too, trying to deliver a final blow. He intimates that he loves to kill members of the Wayne family, suggesting a more sinister motive.
However, the assassin falls to his own apparent death as Bruce grabs onto a hidden thirteenth gargoyle adorning the Old Wayne Tower. The thirteenth guardian was installed by Alan Wayne's son, Henry Wayne to greet those arriving in Gotham by air. Bruce realizes that his attacker had tried to use Gotham's legends against him, but he believes that the Batman is the only legend that the city needs.
Below on the streets, the mysterious assailant is placed inside an ambulance and driven off. Down the road, and unbeknownst to anyone, he rises from his stretcher and kills the EMT and the driver, and then drives off.
- Batman (Bruce Wayne)
- James Gordon
- Gotham City Police Department
- Court of Owls (First Appearance)
- Talon (First Appearance)
- Lincoln March (First Appearance)
- Bill (Mortician)
- "John Doe" (Appears only as a Corpse)
- Pandora (Cameo)
- Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair Variant Cover.
- After Bruce Wayne is thrown out of the Old Wayne Tower window, he lands on gargoyle that adorns the building. His assailant continues to plummet until he hits a car. Behind the car walks a person wearing a purple cloak. This character first appeared in Flashpoint #5 and made similar cameos in all #1s of the New 52. The identity of this character is Pandora.