During an investigation of missing children, Damian Wayne, still fighting crime as Robin, has taken the Batmobile out to an abandoned toy factory without Batman's consent, where he finds Anton Schott, who is responsible for the children's disappearance and has also transformed some of them into grotesque, mutilated "Dolls". Damian's father, Bruce, arrives as Batman to aid Damian in the resulting battle, with Damian chasing after the Schott while Batman knocks out the Dolls with gas and frees the remaining children. Damian chooses to spare Schott, only for an owl-masked assassin to kill him, telling Damian to never doubt his instincts. The assassin leaves Damian and the Schott's body behind, leading Batman to accuse Damian of murdering him when he arrives. Damian insists he spared Schott out of respect for Batman, and after inspecting the body further, Batman discovers an owl feather.
The next night, Bruce has dinner at Wayne Manor with Samantha Vanaver, a wealthy woman whose family, like the Waynes, have had positions of influence in Gotham for hundreds of years. After dinner, Bruce shows Samantha his plans to make Gotham City a better place. Samantha then meets Damian, and after she leaves, Bruce tries to connect with Damian by watching a movie with him. However, Damian later tries to sneak out of the mansion, but is thwarted by Bruce's security systems. Damian voices his frustration of being "kept prisoner" as both Damian and Robin, saying that Bruce never trusts him. Bruce tells Damian he needs to earn his trust, with Damian telling him it should work both ways. Bruce goes out as Batman, leaving Damian with Dick Grayson to look after him, as he investigates the owl feather he found, leading him to the Gotham Museum of Natural History's Hall of Owls. Bruce is reminded of a story his father, Thomas, told him when he was a child; a story about the Court of Owls, a secret society of rich men who ruled Gotham from the shadows and killed any who opposed them by sending agents called "talons". Although Thomas insisted it was just a story, the night Thomas and Bruce's mother Martha were murdered, Bruce saw an owl clutching a bat flying away from the scene of his parents' murder, and became convinced the story was true and that the Court of Owls was to blame. Bruce swears vengeance, and takes his frustrations out by killing an owl nesting in the attic of Wayne Manor, but after finding no evidence of the Court of Owls from his search of a high society club, Bruce conceded and dismissed the legend.
In the present, Batman is attacked by three owl-masked assailants, all seemingly inhuman and impervious to harm. Although he manages to destroy one with explosives, the other two nearly kill Batman before they suddenly liquefy into black ooze, and Batman sends out a distress beacon to the Batcave before losing consciousness. Damian, having escaped Grayson and the mansion, stops a mugging and is again approached by the assassin he met, who introduces himself as Talon. Talon encourages Damian's choice of punishing criminals, and offers Damian a chance to join him. Damian is unsure of this decision, and returns home where Bruce is waiting, disappointed that Damian sneaked out again. Bruce warns Damian that he will be sent away to a school in Switzerland unless he learns to discipline himself. However, the next night, Damian sneaks out again.