Thank goodness for Talon #17. The first two comics I reviewed today were awful, but this here was highly enjoyable.
Not a single page is wasted in this ambitious 2-parter that sees Calvin Rose attempt to infiltrate one of Ra’s al Ghul’s infamous Lazarus Pits so he may once again live a normal life. At the end of last month’s issue, the entire League of Assassins compound became aware of Calvin and his partner Anya’s plans and soon they were met with poison gas, the quirky but highly dangerous Lord Deathman, and Ra’s al Ghul’s top scientist Dr. Darrk. With only 20 pages left, writer Tim Seeley and artist Jorge Lucas would have to compress the story as much as possible in order to give fans enough content not only provide a satisfying payoff to such an incredible setup, but give the Talon series its final sendoff! Amazingly, they succeeded and any missteps are, I feel, totally forgivable.
You’re going to have fun reading this issue. Whether you’re a long-time fan of Talon and the whole Court of Owls thing or not, issues #16 and #17 made for a thrilling ride that featured impressive and unique villains, great characterization of our heroes, and non-stop action that never failed to surprise– you’ll see a knife fight that gives Under Siege a run for its money (by the way, the best knife fight on film is from “The Man from Nowhere”)! Anya finally became a strong supporting character with plenty of depth, Lord Deathman stole every scene he was in (you’ll find yourself going back to re-read his bizarre dialogue), and Calvin shined as a true hero willing to sacrifice the things he wanted for the greater good.
On the negative side I would say that the comic perhaps focused more on Deathman and Anya than it did Calvin, but still Calvin’s act of heroism was very noble and was the very thing that inspired Anya to kick so much ass in this comic so I say it’s okay. Also, the sudden jump in the narrative on the final pages may be slightly jarring and it also leaves out some important details regarding one of the book’s major conflicts.
How exactly did they catch Lord Deathman? We spend most of the comic fighting him– and failing to stop him– and then his defeat occurs off-panel.
Darrk’s sudden transformation to being an undead like Talon was also unexplained and while you could easily say “Well, the other ninjas showed up and captured Deathman” it’s harder to fill in the blanks as to how exactly Calvin was able to give Darrk the answers to Talon-esque immortality.
By the way, I feel like the second that Talons showed up in Gotham Ra’s al Ghul would’ve descended upon the city to find out how their immortality worked. The man is terrified of dying and would be quick to adopt The Court’s methods seeing as how effective they are.
It should also be noted that Calvin Rose is probably not going to survive that much longer as a crime fighter if he doesn’t get some serious training. It didn’t take long at all for Bane to kill him and you can just look at the fight with Lord Deathman from this issue and see how poor he is in a fight. Had he been mortal during that battle he would’ve been killed pretty quickly.
Despite my distaste of Jorge Lucas’ artwork in today’s Batman: The Dark Knight #29, I thought he did quite well here. All the imagery was much sharper and the action had so much more energy! The pacing of the Lord Deathman and Darrk fights were especially gripping. However, there were a couple panels in which Darrk’s glove appeared and re-appeared on his hand and I’m still not sure if we’re forgetting that Talon’s girlfriend lost her eye or if she bought a glass eye and we’re just not talking about it.
- You’re looking for action– hot damn!
- You’ve been looking for a memorable villain. The offbeat Lord Deathman makes quite the impression
- You’re a long-time fan of the series and want to see it go out with a bang
- The League of Assassins are an evil organization you enjoy seeing
I had my doubts about the series getting a 2nd ending with someone other than its original creator pulling the strings, but Tim Seeley’s finale was actually more fun and more satisfying.