batwatch's Talon #8 - Don't be Afraid of the Dark review

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BatWatch Review: Talon #8

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Talon has been on a whirlwind adventure all of which leads him...to the grave, or so it would seem. Bane snapped his neck in the last issue, and he appeared dead in the preview as well, so will he be resurrected as a talon or has he managed to cheat death completely. Only reading will tell.

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Does Talon #8 deliver another excellent issue or is this where the series finally falls apart?

In this issue, Casey Washington is captured and tortured and Calvin Rose gets a new lease on life.

Give My Creation...Life!

The results are in. Calvin Rose does indeed become a resurrected talon of the Court of Owls. The only chance of reclaiming any of the resources Calvin and Sebastian Clark stole from the Court rests in Calvin's broken frame, so the Court boots him up once more.

I'm not completely sure how I feel about this. Calvin has felt like a very likable and relatable character, and all other resurrected talons have been standoffish and seem less than human. I would hate to see Calvin lose his humanity. Also, this change makes Calvin metahuman which doesn't fit very well into the Bat Family. Calvin can now, presumably, break through metal doors and resurrect from just about anything just like other talons. It's a little disconcerting, and it seems to take away the vulnerability that makes the Bat characters such underdogs.

However, it looks like James Tynion IV (current writer of Talon, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and Batman) is handling this concept in the best possible way. (Spoilers) Talon stills seems like his old self in terms of personality which is a relief, and the powers, though a big change, are not to the level of someone like Superman or Green Lantern who are essentially unstoppable. It does still upgrade his challenge level though. Why bother being stealthy anymore when he could accomplish most tasks with brute strength and endurance? Part of the answer might come in the form of a new substance that breaks down a talon's healing ability, but that would only make Talon vulnerable to very specific types of attacks mostly controlled by the Court of Owls. I admit, I'm still a little concerned how this powerset will affect the tone and flow of the story, but as for this particular chapter of the story, it was handled well, and I'm willing to bet Tynion can keep things exciting.

Superb Sepulveda

Miguel Sepulveda (former artist of Red Lanterns and current artist of Talon and cover artist for Red Lanters) is the new artist for the book replacing Guillem March, and though I thought much of March's work on Talon was grant, I think Sepulveda (former cover artist for Gotham City Sirens, Catwoman, Huntress, and Azrael and interior artist for Batman and Batman and Robin and current cover artist for Talon) has already won me over as the superior artist. My problem with March is that while some of his panels looked great, some looked a little odd. His characters did not always look quite right, and how characters moved from one place to another in action scenes was not always clear.

Sepulveda's work is not as extravagant as March's in some places, but it's very good, and it's a lot more consistent in terms of quality. I don't know that anything made my jaw drop in artistic wonder, but the art told the story and told it well, and that's all I really want. It's slick where it needs to be slick, brutal where it needs to be brutal, and when the story demands an army of a hundred warriors be on panel at once, they are all drawn in quite nicely. It's good stuff.

The one thing about the art that did strike me as...surprising was the size of the Butcher. He felt like he went from being about twice as big as any real human to being about three times as big. It's not really a fault, but it did stick out to me.

Bat Droppings

1. I'm not sure how the Butcher found Casey. This might be a plot hole.

2. Here's a quick question, what is the point of wearing masks in the Court of Owls if everybody knows the name of the Grandmaster?

3. It looks like the Butcher ripped out one of Casey's eyes, but maybe that is just her eye swollen shut. Either way, her battered appearance is a good way to show Talon and readers that the Court is not messing around.

4. During his resurrection, Tynion and Sepulveda managed to go over the plot thus far in just a couple of pages. It's a nice way to get new readers on board without actually spelling everything out.

(Spoilers until Conclusion)

5. Calvin is once more acting as an agent for the Court. Interesting. I'm curious how long the series will stay in this vein before Calvin is able to find an out. With the conflict with Clark and Bane, the hostage situation with Casey, and the indoctrinating of Sarah, the series has set up a lot of future plots to explore.

6. It was cool how the issue ended with the same scene as Birds of Prey #20 only with reversed perspective. Instead of being on the ground looking up, the panel is framed from higher up looking down.

Conclusion 10/10

I'm loving this series. I have a few teeny, tiny nitpicks, but the overall quality is fantastic as I'm kept guessing every issue. It seems odd to recommend people start reading the issue after the protagonist died, but this is actually the best jumping on point since issue #1. If you do not pick up Talon, you are doing yourself a disservice.

More Recent Reviews:

Batman, Incorporated #11

The Dark Knight #20

Teen Titans #20

Legends of the Dark Knight #48

Li'l Gotham #10

For more news, reviews, and commentary for the entire Bat Family, check out BatWatch.net.

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