First Impressions – TALON #0

Since “Night of the Owls” proved such an enormous success for DC, inevitably a spin off title was in order. That’s TALON #0; the beginning of an adventure starring one of the Court of Owls’ infamous assassin/agents, the Talon.

So obviously given the villainous nature of the Talons in general, how does one go about making a comic about one that doesn’t involve going around and killing people because the Court says so? By making him a renegade Talon, of course. Such is the case with Calvin Rose, our protagonist for the duration. Locked in a dog kennel by his father and left for dead (for reasons not explained), Calvin developed a skill at escaping through the act of breaking out of that. He honed the penchant into a short career as an escape artist for Hale Circus. But as we learned in the Court of Owls saga, Hale Circus acts as a kind of training and collecting ground for potential Talons by the Court.

The Court raises the young Rose into a budding killer, a rare breed that concentrates on infiltration rather than straight up fighting. Though Calvin can do that too, as we see him perform his first act of homicide at his masters’ request: putting down an older Talon. It’s here we learn a bit more about the Talons as a whole; they come into the “program” as it were not knowing what to expect, and by their old age just obey because they literally cannot live any other life. The Court of Owls doesn’t suffer to lose one of their own.

So naturally, when Calvin refuses to kill his first innocent target, and flees his masters, the Court won’t let him go that easily. Though he may run far and prepare to wriggle under every crack he needs to, he can’t have a normal life, not without yet more Talons coming to either kill him, or remind him he’s never escaped the Owls’ service.

While much of what I described happened over the course of Calvin’s life, the main thrust of the story occurs roughly five years before the nebulous “present” of the DC universe…roughly the time when the Justice League came into existence. How about that? It’s almost as if everything needs to fit into some huge puzzle that is the New 52 continuity.

I jest, the point being that I suspect what remains of the Court after the whole Night of the Owls fiasco will be reaching towards Calvin Rose again. Intent on forcing him to do some dirty deeds. And the main thrust of the series will revolve around him either acquiesing to their demands, or more likely fighting them off. It’s all speculation on my part.

TALON #0 was written by Scott Snyder, meaning its quality is top notch. Strangely enough it’s drawn by James Tynion IV; it’s strange because it reminded me a lot of Greg Capullo, the artist for most of the main Batman series. There are distinct differences, but I found it difficult to tell that someone besides Capullo drew it. And Tynion did a great job, no question. He’s also the guy who did the art on BATMAN ANNUAL #1, so he knows what he’s doing.

In summation, I liked this issue. The narrative of the series itself doesn’t commence until issue one, but it’s good to get the introductions out of the way first. Although part of what we just read will undoubtedly wind up in issue one, simply as a courtesy to those who missed this. If the book as a whole remains consistent with this quality, we’re in good hands.

Meaning once again, I have another series to follow. If nothing else DC, you’re getting good at hooking me into buying more of your books. That’s half the Third Wave you’ve got me with. Glad I didn’t read the new Phantom Stranger ongoing or that Team Seven thing. Why would I want to read a book with Grifter in it? If I didn’t read his ongoing, why would I read a book about a team he’s on?

Any opinions about TALON #0? Do you think the Court of Owls needed more panel time? Does this guy seem just a little like a Drizzt Do’Urden rip-off? Leave your comments below.

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