New 52 – Talon #8 review

Witness the resurrection and all new status quo for Talon! Surprisingly, this issue is actually a pretty good jumping on point for new readers, especially those who have been eyeing this series after all the Bane-hype. But I can’t stress enough how fun of a series this has been from the start. If you haven’t joined yet, I suggest you read it from issue #0 onward or wait for the TPB to come out in a month or tw….what? August? Try and find some back-issues on eBay or ask your local comic shop about it. August is too far away.

Anyway, like I said, it’s a resurrection and if you haven’t been reading this series from the start then stop reading now because I’m about to mention the big spoiler from last issue and that big spoiler, which is coming right now, is… that… Calvin Rose was…are they gone? Okay, Calvin Rose was killed by Bane at the end of the last issue. Had his neck snapped. It was a very cool moment and quite the surprise. But in this issue we get to see how Calvin is brought back to life, which is exactly what you would expect it to be. It’s been a month of resurrections really. First there was Deadshot coming back from the dead in Suicide Squad, then Jim Gordon Jr. who appeared to have died at the end of last month’s Batgirl showed up in that same issue of Suicide Squad, and now we have Calvin coming back via the Court of Owls Talon experiment.

Why isn’t Batman using this stuff to revive Damian in Batman & Robin? Seems kind of like the obvious and safest choice to me. In fact, why doesn’t Batman and his whole team undergo this procedure themselves? You gain the power of almost instantaneous regeneration, can feel no pain, and the only downside to is a pale appearance and blue veins that can be covered with makeup. When Court of Owls first began I figured that the Talons were mindless zombie slaves, but no, they chatted everyone up quite a bit. Then I thought that a bullet to the head killed them, like zombies! I even saw one “die” this way in Batman and then again in Catwoman but soon after, we learned in Batman: The Dark Knight and Talon that these things will always rise again and cold and only cold seems to shut them down. Well, I assume decapitation ends it all too. I also thought that perhaps the elixir or whatever you want to call it would make the patient insane or evil, but nope! With the resurrection of Calvin we finally see once and for all that the zombification process only seems to make you awesome for the small price of bad skin. So we can only write it off for Batman and his squad because they’d have some moral reason behind doing it, but what about the rest of the court? Shouldn’t they all have this advantage and not just the talons?

Speaking of the court reviving Calvin, they do it to get some info about who it was that killed him. They want to know what happened to Sebastian Clark and what he’s up to. That all makes sense, but employing him again is foolish. I guess we have to chalk it up to villain hubris because there’s no way in hell I would risk letting Calvin out of those restraints. The guy was their most dangerous adversary and they just made him technically immortal. They think they can control him since they have Casey and the little girl hostage, right? They got their #1 best Talon back as long as they can hang on to the girls. But really, the smartest thing for them to have done would be to keep him restrained, get him to talk about Bane, and then put an ice-bullet in Calvin’s head. The Butcher can take care of the Birds of Prey. Villains… They really need to quit while they’re ahead.

The awakening of Calvin is basically all you get in this issue. The Butcher makes a return on the opening pages and we see some more of Bane’s plan (again, he’s only featured for 2 pages. There might actually be less Bane in this then there was in issue #7) but essentially this issue is there to explain things to new readers. Who everyone is, what’s been going for the past 8 issues, and where we’re going in the future are all elements that are covered here. Here’s where we’ve been and here’s where we’re going! It’s got me pretty excited about what’s to come. I’m liking all of these characters (well, except the Court, which still strike me as a rather bland evil-organization without a clear motivation). I really care about Calvin and Casey and the little girl. The Butcher is a very scary villain, the new setup for future adventures is fresh and new, and Bane’s plan has massive potential to be a very kick ass story.

This is also the first issue illustrated by Miguel Sepulveda who appears to be a great fit for this series. While, like March before him, Miguel draws Butcher way too big to in any way be human the character does have a very memorable and frightening look. The guy is nightmare fuel. He reminds me a bit of a Todd McFarlane monster like you would see from Spawn. All the other characters look great too, especially Bane. There isn’t much action in this book, but Sepulveda draws the quiet moments well and puts a ton of detail into shots like the Gotham Public Library and a full page depicting a massive crowd (although he did cheat with the crowd, duplicating small groups across the page to fill space). It’s a good looking book and I can’t wait to see how well Sepulveda draws the fast-paced action that Talon is known for.

Talon #8 is a solid issue and one of today’s most fulfilling reads. There aren’t a whole lot of surprises or story progression beyond the resurrection, but the artwork is great and Tynion sets up a lot of really cool ideas that we’ll all want to see play out in the newest arc. The stakes have definitely been raised in issue #8, but Calvin just got a lot more dangerous.

SCORE: 7.5/10