The title is called “All Sorts of Fun” and I think that’s exactly what you’ll have when you buy this comic (I imagine every reviewer is going to have some variation on that line, just watch).
Talon is a great series to follow but there have been a few bumps in the road ever since March stopped illustrating it. I’m liking what Miguel Sepulveda is bringing to the table, but fill-in artists are disrupting the flow of this title, which is a shame. The shared pages with Graham Nolan looked really awful last month so I was afraid we would get more of the same with issue #10, but thankfully Sepulveda handled his pages all by himself so most of the book looks good. However, we still get a fill-in artist with Szymon Kudranski, whose style I have an on-again/off-again relationship with. The two artists have a very different approach to the material and the transition between their work is highly noticeable and disrupted my overall enjoyment of the book. Kudranksi’s pages were far from his best with many characters appearing two dimensional or nothing like how they appeared under Sepulveda’s pen and the final page reveal was definitely not as cool as it truly should have been. The action scenes drawn by Sepulveda between Talon and Wolf-Spider were quite enjoyable and the cover of the comic itself is one of the best I saw today although I wish the hoses coming out of Bane’s head weren’t so huge in the actual comic. The pipes that run up to my sink aren’t as big as the tubes looping widely out of Bane’s noggin.
And that’s one of the problems with the threat in this current arc of Talon. Bane leading an army into Gotham sounds really frightening, but as we see in the action scenes between Talon and some of Bane’s newly venomized henchmen, they all have an incredibly obvious weakness. I almost feel like they would all be more dangerous if Bane’s crew never experimented on any of these inmates and soldiers at all. This has been a long running problem with venomized Bane– he’s got a design that broadcasts his Achilles heel much like a video game boss who has that one glowy spot on their body that you need to hit three times to achieve victory.
Looking past all of that, what we have here is something pretty entertaining and well worth your $2.99 but it’s really only accessible to readers who have been with this arc from the beginning. New readers who pick it up for the Bane cover alone will indeed get some great moments of Bane at his most intimidating, but they’ll also not fully appreciate all of the well written scenes with Casey and her daughter or understand who the rest of the supporting cast is supposed to be. (Tynion writes Casey as a strong, smart character… maybe he should start writing Catwoman?) One thing that really is a major strength for the Talon series that puts it above all the bat-books is that these are all new characters and as a result they’re all pretty disposable. When you read any other bat-book you know that Gordon or Alfred or anyone else who has ever had a toy made my Mattel is not going to die– not unless CNN or somebody leaks the story a week ahead of time anyway. Talon is fast-paced and unpredictable and it’s leading toward something very, very big with Bane so keep your eye on it.
It’s a rather quick read that I enjoyed quite a bit especially since we didn’t get bogged down with a crossover like last month. The artwork is also much improved over what we saw in issue #9, but there’s still a fill-in artist whose work doesn’t complement Sepulveda’s style very well and it disrupted the flow of the book for me. However, there’s more than enough action and a very intriguing plot involving Bane here to satisfy readers. If we could just get some consistent artwork then I think the book will finally back on track after Birds of Prey derailed things.