TALON #0

STORY: James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder
ART: Guillem March

It’s got to be his costume. For a while now, I’ve been inexplicably averse to Talon, a series that spins out of Scott Snyder’s “Court of Owls” arc on Batman that quickly turned a large part of the Batman mythos – Gotham City itself – onto it’s head. The Court represented everything Bruce doesn’t know about his hometown, and that’s a frightening venture for the man labeled Gotham’s Son. Honestly, I don’t know why I was so skeptical about Talon. Perhaps it was the fact that another series had been cancelled to make way for one more Batman-related title. Maybe it was the relative freshness of the Court of Owls as a concept that made me question it’s ability to act as a premise for a stand-alone series. But like I mentioned above, I think it’s just his costume. Like the other three “Third Wave” titles beginning this month, it’s difficult to gauge Talon‘s effectiveness as an ongoing title because this “Issue Zero” is technically the series’ first, meaning there’s no ‘issue one’ to base a prequel story upon. It’s a bit wonky, but the system worked for The Phantom Stranger, so why can’t it work here too?

Talon #0 introduces Calvin Rose, the only person to ever escape the Court of Owls (besides Batman, I’m assuming we’re meant to know). Rose is an escape artists, able to free himself from even the most binding of situations, which is an interesting way to make his escape from the Court all the more believable. Though a lot of information is given in the pages of this prequel issue, it’s obvious that this series is going to be well-paced, balancing Rose’s personal journey to use his abilities to protect people with a focus on the Court and it’s many facets throughout. At the end of the issue, it’s evident how well James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder have crafted this story. Snyder is just co-plotting, so his influence is only slightly felt while Tynion’s impressive writing style shines through from the first page.

Predictably, the story of Talon #0, “The Long Run”, takes place five years in the past, when Calvin Rose first escapes the Court and strikes out on his own, always on the run. Tynion does an admirable job conveying Calvin’s growing uncomfortableness over the Court’s violent methods and murderous ways. Of course, there are some points that could have been slowed down/sped up, but in the end, Tynion gets his point across. Calvin’s personal ethics get in the way of the Court’s desires, and he ends of saving the lives of a mother and daughter he was specifically assigned to kill. Talk about walking off the job, huh?

Talon #0 does an adequate job introducing readers the Calvin Rose and the world we’ll be following each month going forward, and while this series is technically tied to Batman (who I’m sure we’ll be seeing at some point soon), it’s already created it’s own mood and tone that differs from the Dark Knight’s – while Batman is about the pain and the fear, Talon seems to be about hope and moving forward. Calvin Rose is already interesting and already has my sympathies. With a traumatic (but not too traumatic) childhood, a similar training regiment to Batman, and a conscience that beats out any Court of Owls brainwashing, Calvin might just be one of the more interesting characters in the ‘New 52’ so far.

GRADE
A
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