Let Me Put on My Swami Hat
I am now going to try something never before attempted on BatWatch which will probably result in disastrous consequences. I will now predict the future of Talon!
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A month or so ago, I analyzed the success and failures of various Batman spin offs and used that analysis to say that Talon will probably be a successful series, (Click Here if you would like to read that) but I'm not talking about that sort of long term prediction. Instead, I'm going to use interviews, solicitations, covers, knowledge of narrative structure, common sense and gut instinct to try to guess where Talon will be going over the next six months.
Let's kick this pig and get some predictions on the record so I can be proven a moron six months from now!
Where Are We Now?
Though Talon has continued to be a solid selling book, (32,000 last month) there is a good chance many of you are not following it for budget reasons, so lets do a real quick recap. Talon's protagonist is Calvin Rose, an escape artist who worked very briefly as an assassin/talon for the evil organization The Court of Owls. When the Court sent Calvin to take out his first real targets, Casey Washington and her daughter, Sarah, Calvin had a change of heart, extracted the two from immediate danger, and abandoned his post with the court. After living in hiding for years, Calvin heard that the Court had been destroyed by Batman's recent conflict with the group, but when Calvin returned to Gotham to confirm the Court's destruction, he was nearly killed by an active talon still loyal to the Court of Owls. Thankfully, Calvin was rescued by Sebastian Clark, a man who was once a member of the Court who rejected their ways and now wants to dismantle them. Clark urged Calvin to actively fight the Court of Owls, to use, metaphorically, their own Talon to rip them apart, and thus Calvin paired up with Clark and began targeting Court resources.
After Talon and Clark destroyed one large stockpile of their treasures, the Court resurrected one of their ex-talons who had been “retired” early due to his excessive violence. This bloodthirsty talon, Felix Harmon, tracked Calvin down to New York where Calvin was attempting to destroy another cache of Court wealth. Harmon beat Calvin badly, but Talon managed to escape and head back to Casey Washington's safe house. Casey, the lady Calvin rescued years ago, created a base of operations which networked together an underground railroad for ex-super villain thugs, but this was compromised when Harmon followed a tracker he had placed on Calvin to the facility. Talon managed to stall Harmon for time while Washington's gang escaped and then blew the escape tunnels burying Harmon, but in the crisis, Washington was separated from her underground organization, and both Casey and Sarah are now teamed with Calvin and Sebastian Clark.
The Immediate Future
Talon #5: Ticked off now more than ever, Calvin is eager to finish off the Court, so he continues targeting their financial institutions, but he does not realize that Felix Harmon is still active and tracking him despite having an entire tunnel and river collapse on him last issue. Calvin's next attack, a bank job, goes wrong when Talon is attacked and captured by Felix and other Talons who take him back to their secret base in Gotham. Possibly, Calvin allows himself to be captured so he can discover the location of the talons' base. Also, there must be some sewer/water scene somewhere in this upcoming issue because it is on both variant covers.
Talon #6: Talon manages to escape from the talons and quickly puts a plan into place to kill the talons and eliminate their interference for good. We already know that Calvin has used lethal force at least once before, and Clark used lethal force to kill a talon as well, so it stands to reason that Talon would be willing to eliminate the threat of talons permanently, but Batman, of course, would not approve, and while operating in Gotham City, Bruce finds what Calvin is planning and tries to stop him. Also, the solicits say that secrets about Clark will come to light and threaten everyone that Calvin holds dear, so that means that Clark will likely be revealed as a traitor. I've pretty much suspected him from the beginning. There were lots of signs not least of which was his creepy, owlish visage, but the biggest clue was in issue #2 when Clark sent Calvin to grab a Court artifact frequently used by the Court leader to signify his status. I believe Clark saw the turmoil in the Court after Batman's conflict and decided to seize the opportunity and eliminate the resources of other powerful Court members using Calvin as a tool for his power grab.
Talon #7: This issue is WTF Certified, and the visible part of the cover shows Court members standing around Talon's “dead” body, but with the gate fold cover, we know something must be lurking on the other side. My first thought was that it was probably Batman laying dead or crouching on the other side of the panel since we know from solicits that Batman will be in Talon #6. I thought maybe it would be a metaphorical representation of Batman's interference getting them both killed, but after further consideration, I think it is more likely to be Sebastian Clark standing triumphantly in some sort of Court of Owls regalia. Clark could be using the supposedly destroyed item from issue #2.
Talon #8: Honestly, I have no idea what might specifically happen in this issue. I think this will be the end of the arc where Talon beats Clark and hurts the Court bad enough to earn a short reprieve from their attacks, but the solicit says that this issue will lead into a crossover with Birds of Prey. We do know that the Court of Owls will be playing a small role in the next few issues of Birds because Mr. Freeze will be targeting Strix in an attempt to get vengeance on the Court of Owls, but beyond that, I do not see the connection. Forced to make a guess, I would say that perhaps Mr. Freeze will also target Talon because of his involvement with the Court, and from there is will be a typical superhero team up? However, I don't really understand why you need six superheroes to take down Mr. Freeze. He is not nearly that level of a threat.
Beyond the Solicits
Based on my predictions never being proven wrong, (of course, I never make any definitive predictions) I can say with full assurance that the Court of Owls will no longer be the main focus of Talon beyond issue #8. Furthermore, Calvin's alliance with Clark will be abandoned, so what will that leave for Calvin to do with himself? Will we see an ongoing series of Calvin Rose living happily ever after? I suspect not.
The obvious choice is that Talon will begin working as the primary field operative of Casey Washington's safe harbor organization for ex-villainous thugs. (a group which needs a name by the way. Maybe Harbor) This organization is actually ripe with potential, fresh story lines as opposed to the tired old, evil shadow organization which has been done a million times in slightly different forms. There are plenty of possible stories that could be told with Harbor, but I think the job Calvin might be best suited for in the rescue organization is to infiltrate, embed, and extract villains from various criminal organizations. Calvin obviously has the escape skills to handle that part of the job, and though I have not seen in manifested yet in comics, something tells me that Calvin can work as a pretty good con man, so infiltrating these organizations would not be difficult for him either. I think this setup would be perfect for Talon.
That's it for my predictions. I'll let you know as I review future issues of Talon how well I did in my predictions.