Talon: James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, Guillem March, Tomeu Morey, Sal Cipriano
I’ll admit it, I thought this was a terrible idea. I mean, really? We’re losing some good books to make way for this? And Sword of Sorcery? And when there’s a whole huge catalog of heroes to pull from for which to make an ongoing? This is a joke, right? Well, it’s not. Talon here is going to follow a man who became an assassin for the Court of Owls before having a change of heart, and is now on the run from their endless reach. Let me tell you about how I was surprised.
The book tells us the story of Calvin Rose, and is wastes no time in telling us what’s going on. Calvin thought he could get a normal job and live a normal life…but, no, a Talon has tracked him down. Calvin is stabbed, bound, placed in a trunk, and dumped into the river. It’s here that the book decides it’s getting ahead of itself and we flashback to when Calvin was a child.
He was an escape artist in Haly’s Circus…one of the youngest, most successful, and most skilled escape artists who ever lived. He performs for the Court and is accepted in. He trains and impresses the Court time after time, before finally receiving an assignment. It’s set up rather quickly that Calvin doesn’t have the stomach for killing, even a man such as his predecessor, so it’s no surprise what happens when he finds out his first targets are a pretty, young woman and her 2 year-old daughter…who haven’t done anything wrong to deserve the ire of the Court.
I’m going to go on record as saying this is not an original premise, the assassin with a heart. But, is it executed well? I’ll come back to that. How about, does it fit into the vein of Batman and DC Comics? Very much so. I think that’s very important, since this is spinning off right out of that title. Tynion does a great job of showing his own voice here, but still maintaining a taste of the style Snyder brings to the table.
I hesitate to say whether it’s executed well or not because this is only the very first issue we’ve seen of this character so far. It sets things up very nicely, which is a huge plus, and makes me interested in reading more. So it succeeds in that sense. But how is this book going to move forward? Surely Calvin knows he cannot stay in Gotham. That is the Court’s playground…he of all targets would understand that. So it’s disrespectful to the intelligence of the character if he ends up staying in Gotham, trying to hide.
Guillem’s art is masterful in this issue. I loved his work on Catwoman, and he brings it full-pelt here with Talon. Take a moment, will you, to look at the work he did on that chain-link fence on the first page. It’s beautiful, for a chain-link fence. Then the panel where Calvin rappels down to the bridge, and the motion lines, is excellent (though that might have mainly been Morey, who also does a fantastic job), and all of the panels in the sequences where Calvin is young and in the circus are outstanding. Just look at that owly old man who approaches Calvin. Freaky stuff. I’m so glad this art team is a part of this title.
Talon #0, the verdict: Here’s where I think this book’s success will stem from: make this guy the Wolverine of DC Comics. Sure, maybe he doesn’t have quite the same attitude as Logan does, but here’s what I mean: A guy, who really doesn’t belong anywhere, who’s hunted (as Wolverine is every so often), is able to bring the pain with pointy objects, and has a healing factor thanks to being a Talon. Now, set him out in the backcountry somewhere…or even on-the-run. Put him in the snowy woods of Canada even, or as remote as Japan. I mean really…do this…have the Court appoint a single Talon to hunt him down so that the two develop a healthy, respectful rivalry. Make him a strong, mobile, lethal character with a heart of gold. That’s where this title will find real success. Will I be bummed out if this book doesn’t go that way? Well, yeah, what I came up with is genius, but I’ll do my best to make sure it doesn’t hinder my reading experience.
(Photo Source: DC Comics)