While juggling on a Gotham City street, William Cobb stopped a would-be thief from stealing Nathaniel Haly's wallet. Thankful, Haly offered William a job at his circus. After becoming a famous circus performer, William returns home, falls in love, and has a child. However, his wife's family disapproves of William and bans the young couple from seeing each other. Taking advantage of the situation, Haly offers William the chance to become a "Talon," a covert assassin for a secret organization of wealthy elite known as the Court of Owls. As a Talon, William is virtually unstoppable, capable of being reanimated, and strikes without mercy.