Comic Review: Talon #0
The Court of Owls were one of the best creations to come out of the New 52. A fresh set of villains that challenged Batman’s detective talent and physical skills they were fascinating and borderline frightening. With their popularity it wasn’t too much of a surprise when DC announced that there was a new series on the way focusing on a character who was once part of the organisation. Talon #0 is the first issue in that ongoing series but I’m not so sure I agree with the choices they’ve made.
The new protagonist in question is Calvin Rose. A former child escape artist the Court took a liking to him and scooped him up during one of their circus recruitment visits. Fans of Scott Snyder’s Batman run will recognise the circus and other elements from his run do crop up during the issue. Despite his influence Snyder is just the co-plotter for the series with James Tynion IV handling the actual scripting. The issue’s story is mostly background showing how Calvin went from trainee to Talon to ex-Talon, even the non-flashback portions take place ‘5 years ago’ meaning this is all well before the Night of Owls crossover seen recently in all the Bat titles.
The art is handled by Guillem March and despite being a fan of his work I wasn’t overly impressed. Some panels look a little rushed, the entire issue is much looser and uneven than his normal work. That said even bad March artwork is still fairly decent, it gets the job done but it’s quite light on detail.
The primary problem with Talon is Calvin doesn’t come across as very interesting. We’re shown that he’s basically a decent man but it’s a tad odd that in all the years the Court trained him they didn’t catch on to the fact that he wasn’t the cold blooded killer that they were seeking, then on the flipside why didn’t Calvin ever wise up to the fact that the Court are pretty much psychopaths? Even when ignoring those little niggles the story is still quite a standard affair, nothing really surprising happens here. If you’re looking for new revelations about the Court or a closer look at how they work you’ll be disappointed, we don’t really learn anything we didn’t already know.
Hopefully things will get a bit more complicated in future issues as right now, despite the premise, Talon doesn’t differentiate itself quite enough to make it stand out when there’s so many other Bat titles. If later Calvin turns out to be a much deeper character or we get to see the Court doing more than just stabbing people they don’t like then in the long run this could be a worthwhile story. For now I’m cagey about committing to anymore issues after such an underwhelming opener. Issue 0 is hard to recommend when the flashbacks could have been told in just a couple of pages instead of using almost a full issue. I’d have much preferred they condense the history portion and just got on with the story. Here’s hoping next month’s issue 1 will pick up the pace as there is some real potential here with villains as engrossing as the Court of Owls.