A review of the newest Batbook by James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder and Guillem March
For the last thirteen months, readers have sat through an uneven DC relaunch that was conceived as a way to give new readers new stories by jettisoning much of the continuity and back history celebrated by fans for the last seventy-five years. When the relaunch was announced, my immediate thought was that the reboot could also give DC an opportunity to promote new characters and new stories that weren’t legacy or callbacks to past years.
However, DC chose to stack up its books with old heroes in new costumes fighting bland villains in old stories dressed up in new ways. Sure, there have been a few new characters (Starling from Birds of Prey and the Others from Aquaman spring to mind), but they’ve been relegated to supporting roles and haven’t gotten much chance to shine.
Talon #0 is a welcome change of pace from what’s been one of the major flaws of the DCnU. Written by newcomer James Tynion IV and superstar Scott Snyder, The title is a new series starring a new character written by a new writer, something unseen from DC in over a year. Calvin Rose is a Talon, one of the Court of Owls (featured heavily in Snyder’s Batman run last year) assassins. However, unlike the other Talons, who are undead emotionless killers, Rose is alive and has a conscience, which ultimately puts him at odds with his employers.
While the book relies heavily on knowing what the Court of Owls is, Talon #0 is generally a solid read. Rose seems like a compelling protagonist with plenty of internal conflict and moral ambiguity and I hope that we’ll finally get to see more of the Court of Owls’ motivations, which were sadly lacking in Snyder’s Batman series. The weakest part of the comic is the rather standard plot, which is similar to hundreds of other “noble assassin” stories seen in television, film and literature. At least Tynion and Snyder had the decency to wrap the character’s origin up in one issue so that they could move the character forward and give the character a chance to sell himself to readers.
Guillem March’s art is another reason to pick up the book. While March has been criticized recently for his rather elastic interpretation of how females bend, I’m pleased to say that his art is back to form and that this issue features the least seductive female backside ever drawn by March ever. It’s great to see March work on a series that doesn’t rely on cheesecake, something that I feared he was getting typecast into after his stints on Catwoman and Gotham City Sirens.
Talon #0 is a book that’s at least worth your attention for a few issues. While its debut issue was not perfect, the series shows significantly more upside than many of its DC peers and leaves me cautiously optimistic that it will grow into a solid series. While the book’s guaranteed to have at least a little staying power due to its connection to the almighty Bat-franchise, I’m cautiously optimistic that Tynion and company will be able to sell readers in future issues that Talon is worth their money.