No, his costume isn’t the coolest and yes it is a title that cashed in on the success of The Court of Owls arc from Scott Snyder’s Batman but trust me, this book will exceed your expectations and be 100% worth your time and money.
Talon, Vol. 1: Scourge of the Owls is written by James Tynion IV, plotted by Scott Snyder, and illustrated by Guillem March. It collects issues #0-7.
It’s recommended that you read Batman: The City of Owls before reading this series, but it’s not exactly required. The opening chapters do a good job of letting you know that the Court of Owls were a powerful, secret organization based in Gotham and recently they went toe to toe with the Batman and lost. News travels fast and reaches the ear of a man named Calvin Rose, but Rose is no ordinary man. He is a Talon. Or… was a Talon. Like all of the Court’s assassins, Rose found his start in the circus where he proved to be proficient as an escape artist, but when the time came for him to prove himself as a killer the very idea tore at his soul. So Rose did what he does best, he escaped and became the one and only Talon to ever abandon the Court and survive. For years he’s been living life on the run but now that he’s learned of the Court’s demise at the hands of another Gotham legend, he is compelled to return to his hometown and find out for sure. Could it really be true that the Court of Owls has fallen? And that is truly where our story begins and it’s one hell of a ride.
James Tynion IV’s Talon starts off a bit clunky but still promising with issue #0, but by the end of the following chapter it’s clear that there are big things lying ahead for DC’s newest superhero. Over the course of these 192 pages you’ll get to know the complicated and quite likeable Calvin Rose and watch as he goes from hunted to hunter. You will see him make connections with others who have a vendetta against the Court, meet face to face with Gotham’s other protectors, and even join the ranks of a resistance group whose sole purpose is the demise of the Court. He will go hand-to-hand with the Owl’s greatest killers, escape from inescapable situations time and time again, and launch a crusade to track down the Grandmaster himself! It’s a compelling adventure that doesn’t let up for a second and gets bigger and better with every chapter.
In fact, I’m not even quite sure where a good breaking point would be for this volume. Obviously, the publisher went with issue #7, but I can’t help but wonder if maybe Talon #4 would’ve been the better finale and made for the more satisfying read. However, even that ends with a tease at more to come. As I said, the series never lets up. Never lets you believe that the journey is truly over. That the Court has been beaten. And why should I bemoan that they’re giving readers more book! The following three chapters are some of the most shocking of the series, but man, it’s a painful cliffhanger to give new readers who decided to wait for the trade. Showing trade-waiters Volume 1’s final page and then telling them to wait until April just seems downright cruel!
You can read my full reviews of this book’s first chapter and it’s final chapter by clicking here:
Talon #0 Review
Talon #7 Review
Overall it’s a really, really, engaging series that showcases some terrific world building, developed characters, and I think it even does a better job of making the Court a more credible threat than volumes 1 and 2 of Batman did. This is a series that breaks away from being “just a tie-in” to that saga and stands as a damn fine book in its own right. Plus the artwork by Guillem March (former artist of Catwoman) is a perfect complement to Tynion’s writing and it really needed to be. This is a fast-paced story with lots of action. We’re talking fist-fights as well as intricate heists and clever 007-like gadgetry all happening at the same time. Talon can get pretty intense and so the series really needs an illustrator like March who can deliver that fluid motion. In addition to ensuring everything looks fast and furious, March also needed to capture the creepier, more atmospheric scenes involving the Court which were also quite successfully depicted. Unfortunately, the graphic novel’s flow is disrupted by a fill-in artist. Juan Jose Ryp does a good job, but his style is quite different from March’s and its’ very noticeable.
The supplemental material includes a variant cover gallery plus the full gate-fold cover from issue #8 spread shown in full across 2 pages. In addition to the cover gallery we also have 5 pages of sketches by Guillem March. These sketches include thumbnails of March’s original cover concepts and the early design for Felix Harmon. Some images even come with notations by March! It’s better bonus material than you’ll find in most New 52 TPBs.
Value: FULL PRICE!
Eight comics for $16.99 (it would’ve cost you well over $24.00 if you bought them in single issues) and each chapter has an exceptionally high re-read value in my opinion. It’s not exactly the most thought-provoking, book around but when you want to have a good action adventure this is a great go-to title. I say it’s totally worth paying full price for this collection.
- Batman: The Court of Owls and Batman: The City of Owls are among your favorite New 52 tales
- You love a daring escape
- You’re ready for new characters doing unpredictable and exciting things in the DC Universe
- You’re a fan of Guillem March’s artwork
- You want something fast-paced and action packed
- You’ve been looking for a fun adventure story with emotional weight
- You like to root for the underdog
- The Fugitive and The Bourne Identity are two movies you enjoy
- Bane is one of your favorite Batman villains
This is the most consistently fun title in the entire Batman line. James Tynion over-writes a few early issues and The Court themselves are still just evil for the sake of being evil, but overall this is a thrilling action adventure with lots of surprises and great characters that will appeal to readers whether they follow the goings-on of other bat-titles or not.