Talia is such a great character is surprising how little we've actually seen of her lately. All that is clearly changing.
It's interesting that we pretty much know Talia's backstory but I can't recall actually seeing glimpses into her childhood. Grant Morrison leaves us in suspense after the first issue's cliffhanger ending in order to give us more on who Talia is and what makes her tick. She sometimes seems like a complex character and other times feels like she will always be in her father's shadow. What we're seeing is just how much there is to her. There is something to seeing Talia as a young child. Seeing the way she grew up and was raised. I really liked her character before but after this issue, I somehow like her even more.
Chris Burnham does a wonderful job with the art. I mentioned how kick-ass it was seeing young Talia in action and Ra's manages to look fierce and creepy at the same time. Seeing the different time periods fit together along with the flashback to early encounters with Batman was a treat.
On the surface it might seem like this is just a filler issue. That is far from the case. This isn't just a segue way to stall while the fate of a certain character hangs in the balance. This further pushes the story along in showing us what defines who Talia is. If anything, we have a better idea now than ever before. There were scenes tying back to Damian's earlier appearances in BATMAN #658 & 665. I'll admit, I did go back and compare the flashback scenes here with those earlier issues. I love that Grant actually used the same exact dialogue in a couple panels to really tie this story with the pre-New 52 issues.
As great as it was that Grant did go back to those issues, this is where I get nit-picky. In this issue we see a revisit to that not-so-magical night when Talia and Batman shared some special time together. We get to see a little more of the events leading up to it. Unfortunately the setting here and what we see in BATMAN #656 (page 20), don't match up.
While I do dig Burnham's art and the way he drew Ra's, there were a couple times he almost looked comical.
Having this issue not pick up after the first issue was a little frustrating. The event that occurred was mentioned but we haven't seen what happens next.
Grant Morrison continues to show us how he weaves the web of a story for Batman, Damian and Talia. By showing us more on Talia, even if there weren't many shocking/revealing moments, it made me love the character even more than before. Grant must keep all his past work in a handy nearby location as he always goes back and makes sure events that take place now can be traced back. The fact that we see when Talia actually gets her own 'secret headquarters under London' (as mentioned in BATMAN #656) was spectacular. It might be a little difficult trying to fit this series in with all the other titles (in terms of current continuity) but when the stories are this good and entertaining, it doesn't matter. This series and Snyder's BATMAN continue to deliver month after month. Readers often question what Morrison is doing but all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.