Review: Talon #5

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Churning

I've really been enjoying Talon, and the preview for this latest issue looks promising. The last issue appeared to be a turning point as Calvin met his arch nemesis and finally partnered up with Casey Washington and her daughter Sarah. I also expect, based on solicits, for Sebastian Clark to be a traitor by April, so I'm eager to see how things play out in this issue. Does Talon #5 deliver a thrill a minute, or has this escape artist ran out of tricks?

In this issue, Batman and Nightwing try to track down Talon, Calvin, Sebastian and Casey plot the next step of their attack, and The Butcher lives up to his name.

Expanding, Building, Constructing

Talon pretty much does exactly what I wanted it to do by expanding on the universe it has already created. Unlike Teen Titans where there seem to be infinite loose ends, everything in Talon appears to be done with great care and purpose. Writer James Tynion IV (former writer of Batman and Detective Comics and current writer of Talon) continues to move the ball down the field going...somewhere. It's not completely clear where yet, but I'm confident this series is going good places.

Casey Washington continues to grow as a character, and I greatly enjoy her. From the way the trio of main protagonists were talking in this issue, it sounds as if Casey might be entering the field herself which could be fun, but this raises questions as to her abilities and whether or not she will need to adopt a persona of her own. We learn a lot more about her history and her connection to the Court of Owls in this issue which adds a lot of intrigue to her past and sets up for a perfect challenge for Talon and his team which will, based on future covers, be the focus for the next two issues. Casey's daughter, Sarah, does not get as much development, but we do see a little of her, and it will be interesting to see how this odd family develops. If I am right about Sebastian Clark's coming betrayal, it could be very interesting to see Calvin, Casey and Sarah on the run without a support network.

The Butcher

One of my complaints about the last issue was that The Butcher felt like a pretty typical, villain but it seems like we might be getting a little more from him in this issue. He made a couple of gestures which imply that he might be breaking from the Court, and really, why wouldn't all the talons be going their own way? What do they owe the Court of Owls at this point? This is an aspect of the entire Court of Owls structure which really needs some clarification. Back to the Butcher though, he shows some signs of being a more interesting villain, but if there is more to him than simple bloodthirsty killer, that aspect of his personality has not been fully revealed yet. For the moment, I cannot help but think of Venom every time I see him based on some of his physical characteristics, the mass, pointed teeth, and gaping leer, and in terms of the way he interacts with people using a menacing, mocking tone.

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The Broken Scene

I have one real complaint about this issue, and that was everything on page 6. This scene is just plain broken, and spending three minutes on this nearly wordless page did not help clarify the confusion. Basically, Calvin is training as an escape artist by...you know what? You don't need a play by play. Here are the problems. Calvin's training would kill him if he messed up in the slightest. The comic panels are not constructed in a way that conveys the action well because it took me several rereads to understand what was supposed to be happening. Finally, the scenario was way too specific to be of any use in practical training. Unless this is preparing for a specific trap known to be coming later, this whole setup is ridiculous. In fact, I cannot think of an instance where a villain is likely to hang Calvin upside down in a straight jacket over a narrow beam and a floor of nails while various mechanical swords slice him apart while a waiting trapeze perch looms ten feet away, so if this exact scenario pops up later, that makes this scene even more stupid.

Bat Droppings

1. Batman and Nightwing are in this issue, but they are not used in the way I expected. Still, I suspect at least one of them will play a role in the next couple issues.

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2. At first, I thought Grayson was being a dick (pun intended) via being short with Bruce because he was upset over the events of Death of the Family, but after rereading the scene, I think he was just saying, “Hey Bruce, this is not my case, so I really don't care. I'm leaving. Bye,” which makes Grayson seem his usual fun self.

3. Seriously, Sebastian Clark just looks way evil. If he is a hero, he will be the most evil looking hero of all time.

4. The setup for the next issue looks awesome! I love how Tynion IV is continuing to incorporate death traps without overdoing them. (forgetting page 6) Good work, James.

Predictions

I made some predications in an article the other day about the future of Talon, and I said I was going to keep record of how well or how poorly I did, so here we go. Spoilers since I will be talking about relevant events from the issue. You can click Here for my prediction article.

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It was a pretty mixed bag this week with me batting about fifty percent, but the half I got right were fairly easy. First, Butcher, unknown to Talon, is still on Calvin's trail. Calvin does infiltrate a Court's secret base, and it is an important base, and he is captured by talons. Oh, and there is an important water scene. On the other hand, the job Talon pulls, or tries to pull, is not a bank job, and he is not taken to Gotham after being captured by the Court. Also, Calvin doesn't seem particularly ticked off about The Butcher trying to kill him and the Washingtons.

Conclusion 9/10

Talon continues to be a fun ride. If you are looking for a high quality adventure series, look no further. This is a fair jumping on point for the series if you are interested.

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