Graphic Novel Reviews: Talon 001-005

The Story
Calvin Rose is an escape artist turned assassin, former Talon, who has turned against the Court. After they sent him to murder an innocent woman and her daughter he escaped the influence of the court. The events of the Night of the Owls pulled him back to Gotham, where he meets Sebastian Clark, an enemy of the court, whose father was murdered for digging too deep into Gotham’s secret history. Together the two fight against the court, and eventually team up with Calvin’s girlfriend, Casey, who has been fighting the court on her own terms.
The Review
It’s so rare that a brand new, original character, gets his own series. And even though Talon ties in somewhat to the Court of Owls storyline from Batman, the great majority of this series is an original story with original characters. This is quite possibly one of the few books where I’m not sitting around waiting to see which characters will make a guest appearance (read: when the hell is Batman showing up?). Even though Batman made an appearance in issue five, I actually want the cast of this series to remain contained.

One of Talon’s biggest strengths is the fact that without an established history I can take character relationships at face value. I’m not sitting around thinking, “Oh, this chick won’t stick around, Batman’s true love is Catwoman.” You get none of that with this series. Characters are who they are, and the only thing that matters in their relationships is their interaction with each other, not with some character that cannot make an appearance because they are busy in their own book.
I love the idea that Calvin isn’t some super powered fighter. He has no special powers but his own skills. And those skills aren’t insanely overpowered like Batman’s. Calvin’s main skill is being an escape artist. That alone drew me into this series, because it’s just not something you usually see. I know it’s been done before, but nonetheless, when one compares escape artist to archery, it’s clear to see which specific skill has been abused in comics.

The use of the Court in this book feels quite economical as well. The New 52 has so many secret societies built into it that it’s impossible to move without stumbling across one of their secret lairs. Not only is the Court of Owls one of the more intriguing ones, it’s also literally the only foe that Calvin could face at the moment. While I would love to see him move on to bigger foes, I feel that this might be a perfect opportunity to tell a complete story without stretching it into a franchise. I most certainly want more Talon, but I don’t want it at the expense of the story and character arcs. I’ve been enjoying this story so much, that I very much want to see it through to its conclusion. 

Talon is an absolutely fabulous series. It hits all the necessary points to make me love a series. There’s a clear goal, clear character motivations, and the fact that I am invested in the characters after only five main issues and one zero issue shows exactly how skilled Scott Snyder is as a writer. He’s been doing a great job with Batman, but let’s be honest, as great as he is at handling the character, it’s Batman. There’s a guaranteed audience with that character. Talon on the other hand is a complete start from scratch, and the fact that Snyder takes an unestablished character and makes me care about him so much is the best tribute I can pay to his skill.
The Grade

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