William "Will" Cobb, also known as, Talon was the latest in a long line of master assassins employed by the mysterious Court of Owls. He came to Gotham City hoping to recruit Damian Wayne to be his successor.
There once was a professional thief and his young son. The thief was good and made sure his son was, too. The son tried to be his shadow - his echo. He worshiped his father and only wanted to please him. However hard he tried, it was never good enough for the father. One night, at 10:15 pm, they broke into the upper floor of a residence. They stole jewels, gold, and other valuables from a safe but were forced to run from a security team. While scaling the front gate, the boy dropped the bag of stolen goods. At 12:20 am, the father beat his son for botching the robbery. As retaliation, the son stole his father's pocket watch, went outside their apartment and called the police from a phone booth. At 12:45 am, a S.W.A.T. team confronted the father and a gun fight followed. The father was gunned down. Soon after that, the boy was recruited by a member of the Vanaver family belonging to the Court of Owls. He was raised and trained by Vanaver to be a skilled assassin. The boy grew up alongside his daughter, Samantha. The boy was given strength and purpose. He became the Talon of the Court of Owls.
The Court of Owls was ready to take back Gotham City and restore it to a golden age. To achieve this, they settled on a plan to resurrect all Talons that served the Court throughout history. The current Talon would also undergo the resurrection process then lead the others as their general in a war to reclaim Gotham City and revitalize it.
From the skylight, Talon watched Nightwing and Robin take down the Scarecrow and his hired men during the Atlantis incident. After Nightwing and Robin were the last standing, Talon left the roof. Talon saw a kindred spirit in Robin and continued to monitor his activities for months.
Talon followed Robin to Ichabod and intervened in the confrontation with Dollmaker outside the Schott's Toys factory. While Robin was distracted with invoking Batman's mantra of "justice before vengeance," Dollmaker escaped his restraints and was about to bash Robin with a log. Talon ripped the Dollmaker's heart out from behind. He advised Robin to trust his instincts and left a stolen owl feather on Dollmaker for Batman to find. The feather was part of a ruse to lure Batman into an ambush at the Gotham Museum of Natural History. The next night, Talon followed Robin when he went into Gotham City on his own. When Robin threatened the lives of two thugs with one of their own switch blades, Talon implored him to decide on his own to execute them. Police cars converged on the scene, prompting both to leave. As Talon scaled the space between two buildings, he allowed Robin to follow.
Talon took Robin to his home. Talon assured Robin he could speak freely and admitted his respect for Batman and all he's achieved was high. Talon, however, admitted he didn't agree with the line Batman drew on no killing. Talon mused the policy was out of fear or a misguided moral code then proclaimed there were no lines he wouldn't cross to reach his goal. The end always justifies the means if the goal is a worthy one. He told Robin his vow was to eradicate crime and criminals once and for fall. Talon then offered Robin the opportunity to join him. Robin didn't answer right away so Talon gave him a communication device for when he was ready and let him keep a sai as a gift. Talon returned to the Court of Owls' base at some point after Bruce Wayne was returned to his manor. After the Grandmaster finished her meal, she, Talon, and several Owl Lieutenants inspected their scientists' progress on refining the resurrection process of the deceased Talons. Talon was not so eager to become the Court's version of immortal and implied he thought it was damnation rather than a miracle. The Grandmaster assured him he could be a god, not a soulless thing and a great destiny awaited him. Talon bowed and reiterated he would do what the Grandmaster wanted.
The next night, Talon and Robin went to an Italian restaurant named The Garden to put down Mr. Draco, a mob boss. As Draco choked on his dinner, Talon performed a maneuver that saved his life. Talon slayed Draco's men as Robin neutralized them. They cornered Draco. Talon implored Robin to finish him. Robin stalled and stated they had enough evidence to put him in prison for the rest of his life. Robin spared Draco's life and joined Talon on the roof. Talon pointed out Draco had an army of lawyers that kept him out of prison for years and they had the chance to erase him for good. Talon's patience drew thin and he was not pleased Batman's teachings got between them for a third night. Talon warned Robin it was time for him to cross the line or he would find a replacement in short measure. Realizing Batman was like a father to Robin, Talon recounted his own origins. He reiterated he only wanted to do for Robin what the Court did for him. Batman suddenly landed near them and declared he had done quite enough.
Talon told Robin this was the point where he would choose a side once and for all. He leapt off the roof. Robin battled Batman but didn't kill him. Talon returned to his home and left a note for Robin to congratulate him on choosing the Court and to wait for him to return. Talon then went to Samantha Vanaver's penthouse, where they engaged in sexual relations. At 12:45 am, Talon became pensive and checked his pocket watch. He worried the rest of the Court wouldn't go along with their new plan - to make Robin the general of the Talons and Talon would sit beside her, the Grandmaster, as her partner and love. Talon reminded her he wasn't a wealthy elite like the Court and was just a nobody from the streets. Vanaver recalled they grew up together and she always sensed a greatness in him. The Vanavers controlled the Court for generations and she could make the Court go along with their plans.
Several hours later, Talon presented Robin to the Court as his protege. The Grandmaster asked Robin to pledge his loyalty by removing his mask. When Robin hesitated, Grandmaster ordered his removal but Talon asked for a moment and reminded Robin of their talk. Robin removed his mask. The Grandmaster recognized Damian Wayne's face and realized Batman was Bruce Wayne. She ordered Talon to execute Robin to break Batman's will and heart. She swore to find Talon a replacement and ordered Talon again. Talon was about to apply the death blow but saw his younger self in Wayne. Talon spared Robin and executed every Owl present. He cornered Grandmaster in a room, removed his mask, and stabbed it through. He declared he never was and never would be like the Court. Talon kissed Vanaver and fatally stabbed her with his gauntlet blade. Talon returned to Robin and asked him what he would in turn sacrifice. Robin called him a lunatic. Honoring Robin's loyalty, Talon promised he wouldn't ask Robin to betray Batman any further.
Bruce Wayne, however, was still a complication to be dealt with. He knocked Robin out and placed him in one of the casket chambers. Talon started the resurrection process for Robin and revived every single Talon. Talon and his army converged on Wayne Manor. After Batman stowed Nightwing away into the Batcave, Talon made his presence known. Talon gloated about how easy it was to take Robin away. Batman quickly knocked Talon aside then detonated the room. The Talons soon blew open an entrance to the Batcave. Talon observed Nightwing's fighting style and admitted he, too, could have been a Talon. Talon had the upper hand on the injured Nightwing. Their battle ascended to the level where the costume cases were kept. Talon stabbed his shoulders and pinned Nightwing to one of the cases. Noticing the dwindling temperature, Talon jumped into the Batmobile. He drove off the edge straight to the lower sub-level and fired on Batman in the Bat Armor. He clipped an arm off before the Batmobile crashed into the armor.
Talon leapt on the back of the armor and declared victory. The rear hatch blew off and knocked Talon down. Batman emerged and declared he was going to enjoy beating Talon up. Talon managed to stab Batman in the side with one of his gauntlet blades. Even though Batman was down, Talon continued kicking him in the face, then sank his spiked heel into Batman's back. Robin arrived and landed in front of Batman. Talon demanded Robin to let Batman die. Robin remarked he wouldn't let Batman die like Talon did to his father. Infuriated, Talon fought Robin sai to sai. Talon knocked Robin to the ground and then held Batman up by his throat. Talon rationalized that if Batman died, both he and Robin would be free. They could steal the Wayne fortune and evade the Court. Robin leaped onto Talon's shoulders and started punching his head. Talon let Batman go and fought Robin again. Robin knocked Talon's sai away and held the tip at his throat. Robin declared Talon would never replace Batman, his father. As Batman looked up, Talon grabbed Robin's arm.
Talon once again advised Robin to never doubt his instincts and then pulled his arm forward, essentially committing suicide. Robin's sai plunged into his throat and he expired. Robin, in shock, saw Talon left his pocket watch to him. Robin threw it down in disgust.
Talon was man torn between his origins and his training as a tool and adjutant to the Court of Owls. Unlike his wealthy and elite colleagues and superiors within the Court, Talon's beginnings as a thief and lower-class citizen left him distanced from those who took him in during his childhood. Thus he could never fully integrate himself into their ranks, lacking the sense of invulnerability that so consumed the Court.
Unlike his contemporary, Batman, Talon was merciless in his attacks upon the criminal underworld, such as his bloody execution of the Dollmaker by literally ripping the man's heart out through his back. He was quite astute in his understanding of the criminal underworld, realizing that the army of lawyers that the drug dealer Draco had at his disposal to keep him out of prison. This fatalistic philosophy is something he attempted to pass on to Robin, whom he saw as a kindred spirit; a boy with no home taken in to be trained as a weapon by the elite of Gotham.
However, Talon's sympathy with Robin ultimately drove him to betray the court, killing the Grandmaster, Samantha Vanaver in a fit of simultaneous rage at being used and mental clarity in his understanding of his place within the court as a weapon. Without a sense of belonging or purpose, Talon succumbed to his base instincts and went on a rampage.
Despite being raised as a weapon by both his father and his surrogate family, Talon ultimately valued his life, as he considered the process by which his underling talons were given a form of immortality to be his own damnation. He was also quite selfish, as he originally planned on substituting Damian Wayne for himself in the process. However, Talon ultimately chose to destroy the court rather than allow himself or anyone else become pawns in their agenda to reclaim Gotham as their own personal kingdom.
- Master Assassin: Talkon was a highly accomplished assassin.
- Expert Manipulator: Talon was able to deceive and manipulate Robin into betraying Batman.
- Expert Swordsman: Talon was skilled with using a sword.
- Peak Human Condition: Similar to Batman, Nightwing and Robin, Talon was more physically powerful that most humans and had seemingly extreme strength, mobility and resilience. This allowed him to easily overpower and lift normal humans, as well as defeat wounded Nightwing, Robin and even a weakened Batman.
- Master Combatant: Also similar to Batman, Nightwing and Robin, Talon was a master of melee, close quarter, unarmed, and hand to hand combat, which allowed him to overwhelm and impale wounded Nightwing against a wall with his blades and even stab Batman during his fight with him. While he was fighting Batman on near equal grounds beforehand, Talon used Batman's weakened state to beat him near to death. However, he also fought against Robin, who managed to hold him at knifepoint, though Talon still could have beaten him, but forced the blade through his neck instead.
- Expert Acrobat: Talon was highly athletic and acrobatic, able to perform parkour and free running moves with ease and incorporated his skills into moving through urban areas and in combat.
- Knife Throwing: Talon's extensive skill with knives and other bladed weapons extended to him throwing them with absolute accuracy.
- Leadership: Talon was raised up, between others stuffs, to be a "General" to all of the other Talons
- Infrared goggles: Talon's googles allowed him to see heat signatures.
- Blades: Talon carried a wide assortment of knives, daggers and short swords with him. His uniform even has retractible blades in the arms and retractible spikes in the shoes, both of which he used on Batman.
- Bladed gloves: Talon's gauntlets were bladed and shaped much like a birds talons, allowing him to stab and tear through flesh effortlessly, to the point where he could pull out Anton Schott's heart.
Behind the scenes
- While he physically resembles Calvin Rose, the Talon's personality and skill set take elements of several major Talons.
- His comment to Nightwing, “You would have made a fine Talon”, lightly touches on how atleast in the comics Talon is William Cobb, Dick Grayson’s great great grandfather, as well as how in the comics Talon said Dick betrayed his family by ignoring his destiny to be Talon