By order of the Court of Owls, Calvin must find and kill the rogue talon Strix or else his loved ones will die!

Because you asked for it, I’m reviewing this week’s Birds of Prey #21. This issue marks the first crossover between the mediocre Birds of Prey and the fantastic Talon series. I imagine a lot of you who read Talon are checking out this review to see if it’s worth your time and money to even bother with this comic and I’m going to address that.

As you can imagine, I’ll have a better idea of whether or not this chapter is really necessary when Talon #9 comes out next week but from what I can see there are no real surprises. Issue #21 really hits the ground running with the opening page illustrating that the fight has already begun, but there really isn’t a whole lot of progression beyond that and it feels like the real meat of the story will come about in next week’s Talon #9. It plays out exactly as you’d expect such a crossover would. Overall I thought this was a pretty decent issue and definitely an improvement over the last issue I reviewed (#19 I think) but while everything is well executed it’s not going to warrant future re-reads or any meaningful discussion– for Talon fans that is! With Birds of Prey fans, circumstances are slightly different.

If you don’t read Talon and are a Birds of Prey fan only then writer Christy Marx does a fine job of bringing you up to speed on who Calvin Rose is and what his motivations are for attacking Strix all while never losing sight of recent events with Starling and the mystery with Condor.

If you’re not a Birds of Prey fan, however, you might find  yourself a little lost whenever the story detours back to the soap opera-like drama that came before this crossover ever began. Who is Condor? What’s the chemistry between him and Dinah? Starling betrayed the team? Why would they cut out the best character in this book? For the most part the issue stays on task with the battle between Strix and Talon and writer Christy Marx only sets aside one moment to expand on a romance subplot which felt very out of place in a moment when both lovers have a friend who might be getting murdered at that very second.

Penciler Romano Molenaar excels at drawing the action that’s so prevalent in this issue and inker Jonathan Glapion and colorist Chris Sotomayor do a great job of adding greater depth to the imagery. I simply wish that this action had meant more and that’s the story’s fault. It never felt like there was anything at stake because we all know that in the end these two are just going to team up. Something did feel slightly off about the look of Calvin’s suit, however. I know when the character was originally announced his suit looked totally ridiculous but it’s not been a distraction so far in his ongoing series. I think it might have something to do with the big flowing cape that Talon is seen wearing here. I hardly even recall Talon having a cape in his own book. Speaking of hero costumes, you’ll also notice the return of Batgirl’s chin strap. 

Spoiler
One thing that I found particularly odd and actually took me out of the story for a moment was when Barbara starts talking about her brother and we are immediately served an editor’s note explaining that this story takes place before Batgirl #19. It just seems quite unnecessary to place this story a few months back. What’s the point?

Overall

I think Talon fans can probably hold off on buying this one, but they won’t feel like they wasted their time or money if they do decide to pick it up. All the characters sound like themselves and I thought it had some very dynamic illustrations. But while everything here is well executed, there’s just not very much substance. Not a whole lot happens. Comic readers know the routine: when one hero character with their own comic must kill another hero character with their own comic, they fight to a standstill, eventually come to an understanding of each other’s situation, and decide to team up. It’s what happens after that which will be the most interesting and we don’t see any of that play out here.

SCORE: 6.5/10