Batman Villains in the New 52: Talia al Ghul

Posted by russia599 (93 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman Villains in the New 52: Talia al Ghul

Part five of my villain guides is going to be about the Daughter of the Demon, Talia al Ghul. She was once the World's Greatest Detective wife and the mother of Damian, his son. How has the New 52 changed this Femme Fatale and she has recently been popularized by The Dark Knight Rises so has this affected her at all? Tomorrow I'll finally be doing Mr. Freeze so stay tuned for that!

Talia returns

Talia al Ghul

Batman's true love has recently resurfaced in the New 52 within the pages of Batman Incorporated as the ruler of the terrorist organisation known as Leviathan. Talia is back and she is evil as ever and has started off her reign of terror with placing a half-a-billion bounty on her son's head which led to Batman having to pretend he was killed by the assassin Goatboy. It was only recently discovered last year that Talia was the head of Leviathan, they had been stalking and challenging Batman Inc. as well as abducting children and turning them into bloodthirsty killers. Now in the New 52, Leviathan are replacing hundreds of people and not just children. Leviathan members are preaching their way of life to mostly children to bring about a new line of members, Talia was also seen in the pages of Red Hood and the Outlaws helping Jason Todd, I didn't really understand why she she made this cameo appearance it was just kind of pointless.

Ruler of Leviathan

Her appearance hasn't really changed at all, she still wears white dresses, she still has brown hair etc. But they did an issue on her origin story, how she grew up under the influence of R'as and her brief romance with Bruce Wayne. She now appears to have some sort of vendetta against her father, she seems to be angry because R'as gave her everything she asked for but she wanted a mother. I think that Batman Incorporated is amazing and it is by far one of the best Batman titles currently and before reading the New 52 version read volume 1 of Batman Inc.

In verdict, I see nothing wrong with what they've done to Talia and I'm happy to see Morrison writing her so well. They haven't really changed much put Talia is honestly one of my favourite reboot characters along with Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze.

Reboot Rating: A-

Recommended Reading: Batman Incorporated: Issues #1- end of the series.

#1 Posted by SupBatz (1781 posts) - - Show Bio

It's all a matter of taste with Talia I suppose. It seems to be down the middle where some people like this version of Talia who is more ruthless and malevolent. I, personally, prefer a Talia more true to her earlier appearances. Not really a softie but definitely not as she is in Batman Inc. I prefer Talia when she is a very conflicted character who is often fighting with herself over whether or not to follow Batman's morals (fighting injustice and evil by a strict moral code) or her father's (purge the world of injustice and evil at all costs).

#2 Posted by russia599 (93 posts) - - Show Bio

@SupBatz: I agree, but I think I prefer the newer more ruthless Talia because we've seen Talia conflicted between Bruce and her father before for many years. The both of them have step by step destroyed her life in a way, Batman took her son away and her father never treated her like a daughter rather a heiress to his organisation, now she wants payback. But I did like the old Talia, yet I'm defiantly on board with Morrison's version on her.

#3 Posted by SupBatz (1781 posts) - - Show Bio

@russia599: Admittedly, I hadn't considered the idea that Talia's motivation is that she's looking to assert herself after years of being torn between Ra's and Bats. And while that is a very plausible argument for making Talia more ruthless, I don't like the way Morrison has approached it. She doesn't really have a lot in common with her pre-Morrison counterpart. I feel like I'm reading a completely separate character. If Batman Inc sought to use Talia as a main villain and to make her more villainous I just wish they had kept her at least a bit more true to character.

To be completely honest though, I haven't read all of Morrison's run on pre-Flashpoint Batman and Robin (I'm just not a bit fan of his Batman) so I haven't seen if there's been any sort of build-up to Talia's "transformation".

#4 Posted by russia599 (93 posts) - - Show Bio

@SupBatz: Now that you mention it, I don't believe that Talia was featured in his run of Batman and Robin and she was only just recently placed at the ending of the final pre-flashpoint Batman Incorporated by Morrison, but I'm not certain of that because only started reading Incorporated after the New 52 began.

#5 Posted by sinnersheart (4 posts) - - Show Bio

This is a bit dated, but I absolutely have to disagree with this opinion of post-reboot Talia. Not even post-reboot Talia, just Talia as Grant Morrison as written her.

Like SupBatz mentioned, it hardly seems like the same character. There's a way Morrison COULD have done this, and it could have worked. The Death and the Maidens arc, for instance, that no one remembers even though it was penned by the legendary Greg Rucka. The fundamental core of Talia's character is missing. I'm a Talia roleplayer on tumblr, and I recently wrote a post comparing Morrison!Talia to Talia. Should this post not work with images, here is the link.

  • The core of Talia’s character has always been a conflict between loyalties and loves. Every decision, every motivation up until Death and the Maidens (Greg Rucka) was love. Either love for Bruce Wayne or love for her father. On numerous occasions, Talia has spared Bruce’s life or put her own in danger for his sake. In Tower of Babel, for instance:
    • In this same arc, we see Talia’s first true fractures with Ra’s that are not based on Bruce. She specifically mentions that it “doesn’t sit well” that he commanded her to have “an active hand in assassination.” Talia has the capacity and ability to kill, but we rarely see her do it.

    • In “The Prison” (now in Batman Chronicles 8), we have what is our only story entirely from Talia’s point of view, and it does an excellent job of getting into her head. She wants to be free from Ra’s, and Bruce is both her love and hope for freedom.

    Talia constantly worried for Bruce’s health and safety, in every facet. She doesn’t want to see him harmed or killed, and is seen constantly putting his needs and wants above her own. She:

    • Fakes a miscarriage and breaks off their marriage to protect him. (Son of the Demon)
    • Has Ra’s spare his life/begs for Bruce on numerous occasions.
    • Constantly betrays Ra’s.
    • Saves Selina Kyle’s life in Hush.
    • Brings Jason Todd back to life against her father’s wishes, originally for Bruce’s sake. Then she has him trained and protects him from Ra's, AND stalls him from trying to go off and kill Bruce. (Red Hood: Lost Days)

    Talia has been shown to be highly emotional, romantic (and affectionate), and sentimental.

    (Above, quote, “I love you. I believe you love me. If this is true, our only chance at happiness - at peace - is being together. I offer you all that I am. I will forsake my father. I will live with you wherever you say, under any conditions you choose.”)

    It is not to say Talia is perfect. She can be arrogant and enormously selfish, and she’s no doubt twisted by her upbringing. But this Talia:

    Is not at all what we see in Batman and Son and Batman Inc:

    Morrison presented us with a Talia al Ghul who:

    • Is so obsessed with an heir in the way Ra’s was that she RAPES Bruce. Their sexual encounter under his pen is not born out of love, but by Talia drugging Bruce (Talia age at the time in the New52 timeline is also dubious)
    • Would put a bounty on her son’s head - the son that she’s been seen fighting tooth and nail for, and who is a testimony to the love between herself and Bruce Wayne.
    • Would replace the son that she loves and stopped Ra’s from killing (by possessing his body), with a clone.
    • Is so insanely jealous of Bruce’s other love interests that she keeps up with celebrity gossip concerning him over Damian’s health, and had one of them (Jezebel Jet) decapitated.
    • Cared so little for her son that she didn’t even meet him until he was eight, reducing him to a tool that he never was supposed to be (see Son of the Demon, where he was meant to come from/be inspired by, but Morrison admitted to never reading it - a PIVOTAL TALIA STORY, BEFORE writing her)

    It's simply not Talia. Even when she acted in a villainous capacity (as in The Society during Villains United), she wasn't particularly villainous and was still worked to undermine Lex Luthor, helping both Superman and Batman take him down - and this is after she'd asserted her independence from both Ra's and Bruce. Even when Talia was angry with both of them (and left Ra's, finally) in Detective Comics 750, she wasn't vengeful. She just wanted to be left alone. Asserting a position of power has never been one of her desires - even at LexCorp, she loathed being CEO.


    Peter Tomasi started to repair the damage with Batman and Robin #0. Talia raised Damian and in her sentimentality, keeps a cape and cowl in a hope chest at the foot of her bed. She embraces her son and pushes him to greatness and trains him how to survive and protect himself, as she was by Ra’s.

    But there’s a lot of damage to undo if we can ever hope to see Talia al Ghul as she’s supposed to be, and has been, for decades. Even when she WAS written as a more harsh character, she was never an outright villain. And even though it's plausible and could be done, Morrison hasn't backed it up with progression or emotional depth to Talia. She's being used simply for his plot, without respect or regard to how she's been written for almost forty years.

    I would rather her be killed off than to continue to see Grant Morrison butcher her.

#6 Posted by SupBatz (1781 posts) - - Show Bio

@sinnersheart said:

    And even though it's plausible and could be done, Morrison hasn't backed it up with progression or emotional depth to Talia. She's being used simply for his plot, without respect or regard to how she's been written for almost forty years.

I agree with everything you said especially this part. Morrison has made some great contributions to Batman. But he has also done some harm - particularly when it comes to Talia, a character who I once really liked.

And unfortunately I have a feeling that Morrison will just kill her off when he's done with her. Thus preventing any writer from every restoring her to the way she once was.

@sinnersheart said:

Peter Tomasi started to repair the damage with Batman and Robin #0. Talia raised Damian and in her sentimentality, keeps a cape and cowl in a hope chest at the foot of her bed. She embraces her son and pushes him to greatness and trains him how to survive and protect himself, as she was by Ra’s.

Also, while Tomasi's Talia is a step in the right direction, it's definitely not the Talia I want to see. She may have been slightly less....Morrison and a bit more sentimental/caring towards Damian but she was still ruthless and villainous and obviously using everyone/thing around her toward her own ends.

#7 Posted by sinnersheart (4 posts) - - Show Bio

@SupBatz: I agree on both points. I think, in part, Tomasi is tied down by Grant Morrison's interpretation, since it's the current one. If he was able to write her without bowing to that influence, I think it would be fantastic. I spoke to someone who, in turn, mentioned the fan's dissatisfaction with Morrison!Talia at a con before Batman and Robin #0 came out - and he agreed. I would trust him to take her on if independent from Morrison's continuity.

I'm almost certain she's going to die in Batman Inc 8.

At least she's Al Ghul, and someone, somewhere, will be able to bring her back via Lazarus Pit (which we actually haven't seen much of in the past few years, have we?). I've already written and send feedback to DC regarding Talia and how she's been written by Morrison, and so on. Of course, their listening is something different entirely.

#8 Posted by SupBatz (1781 posts) - - Show Bio

@sinnersheart: Tomasi is pretty much hit or miss when it comes to writing. He'll either knock it out of the park or he'll write a bland story. I think I'll agree that, freed from constraints when writing Talia, he'd writer her better than Morrison.

I haven't been keeping up with Batman Inc lately but there's a lot of speculation going around that Morrison might kill off Talia and/or Damian. Like you pointed out, the Lazarus Pit could pretty much solve all these problems in a few years. Hopefully then Talia will be somewhat more traditional. And you're right, I can't even remember when we last saw the Lazarus Pit. Heck, Ra's hasn't even been around in any major capacity in a long time.

Kudos for writing DC. Their listening is highly unlikely, but it's the best anyone can do to get their opinions heard ^^.

#9 Edited by entropy_aegis (15456 posts) - - Show Bio

@sinnersheart said:

This is a bit dated, but I absolutely have to disagree with this opinion of post-reboot Talia. Not even post-reboot Talia, just Talia as Grant Morrison as written her.

Like SupBatz mentioned, it hardly seems like the same character. There's a way Morrison COULD have done this, and it could have worked. The Death and the Maidens arc, for instance, that no one remembers even though it was penned by the legendary Greg Rucka. The fundamental core of Talia's character is missing. I'm a Talia roleplayer on tumblr, and I recently wrote a post comparing Morrison!Talia to Talia. Should this post not work with images, here is the link.

  • The core of Talia’s character has always been a conflict between loyalties and loves. Every decision, every motivation up until Death and the Maidens (Greg Rucka) was love. Either love for Bruce Wayne or love for her father. On numerous occasions, Talia has spared Bruce’s life or put her own in danger for his sake. In Tower of Babel, for instance:
    • In this same arc, we see Talia’s first true fractures with Ra’s that are not based on Bruce. She specifically mentions that it “doesn’t sit well” that he commanded her to have “an active hand in assassination.” Talia has the capacity and ability to kill, but we rarely see her do it.

    • In “The Prison” (now in Batman Chronicles 8), we have what is our only story entirely from Talia’s point of view, and it does an excellent job of getting into her head. She wants to be free from Ra’s, and Bruce is both her love and hope for freedom.

    Talia constantly worried for Bruce’s health and safety, in every facet. She doesn’t want to see him harmed or killed, and is seen constantly putting his needs and wants above her own. She:

    • Fakes a miscarriage and breaks off their marriage to protect him. (Son of the Demon)
    • Has Ra’s spare his life/begs for Bruce on numerous occasions.
    • Constantly betrays Ra’s.
    • Saves Selina Kyle’s life in Hush.
    • Brings Jason Todd back to life against her father’s wishes, originally for Bruce’s sake. Then she has him trained and protects him from Ra's, AND stalls him from trying to go off and kill Bruce. (Red Hood: Lost Days)

    Talia has been shown to be highly emotional, romantic (and affectionate), and sentimental.

    (Above, quote, “I love you. I believe you love me. If this is true, our only chance at happiness - at peace - is being together. I offer you all that I am. I will forsake my father. I will live with you wherever you say, under any conditions you choose.”)

    It is not to say Talia is perfect. She can be arrogant and enormously selfish, and she’s no doubt twisted by her upbringing. But this Talia:

    Is not at all what we see in Batman and Son and Batman Inc:

    Morrison presented us with a Talia al Ghul who:

    • Is so obsessed with an heir in the way Ra’s was that she RAPES Bruce. Their sexual encounter under his pen is not born out of love, but by Talia drugging Bruce (Talia age at the time in the New52 timeline is also dubious)
    • Would put a bounty on her son’s head - the son that she’s been seen fighting tooth and nail for, and who is a testimony to the love between herself and Bruce Wayne.
    • Would replace the son that she loves and stopped Ra’s from killing (by possessing his body), with a clone.
    • Is so insanely jealous of Bruce’s other love interests that she keeps up with celebrity gossip concerning him over Damian’s health, and had one of them (Jezebel Jet) decapitated.
    • Cared so little for her son that she didn’t even meet him until he was eight, reducing him to a tool that he never was supposed to be (see Son of the Demon, where he was meant to come from/be inspired by, but Morrison admitted to never reading it - a PIVOTAL TALIA STORY, BEFORE writing her)

    It's simply not Talia. Even when she acted in a villainous capacity (as in The Society during Villains United), she wasn't particularly villainous and was still worked to undermine Lex Luthor, helping both Superman and Batman take him down - and this is after she'd asserted her independence from both Ra's and Bruce. Even when Talia was angry with both of them (and left Ra's, finally) in Detective Comics 750, she wasn't vengeful. She just wanted to be left alone. Asserting a position of power has never been one of her desires - even at LexCorp, she loathed being CEO.


    Peter Tomasi started to repair the damage with Batman and Robin #0. Talia raised Damian and in her sentimentality, keeps a cape and cowl in a hope chest at the foot of her bed. She embraces her son and pushes him to greatness and trains him how to survive and protect himself, as she was by Ra’s.

    But there’s a lot of damage to undo if we can ever hope to see Talia al Ghul as she’s supposed to be, and has been, for decades. Even when she WAS written as a more harsh character, she was never an outright villain. And even though it's plausible and could be done, Morrison hasn't backed it up with progression or emotional depth to Talia. She's being used simply for his plot, without respect or regard to how she's been written for almost forty years.

    I would rather her be killed off than to continue to see Grant Morrison butcher her.

Can you please name a story where Talia was the main character,prior to Morrison coming around? the best one I can think of is Son of the Demon and a short back up in a Batman Chronicles issue,other than this she's never really had any.Morrison has put Talia under the spotlight,now she is a major character.Your post sums up perfectly why comics are drowning in a pool of stagnation,fans are unable to let go of the past.How many times is Talia gonna betray Ra's? how many times is she gonna offer Batman her love only to be rejected? it was cliched.

As for Death and the Maidens,frankly I'm astounded that you actually like it.There Talia was repeatedly brainwashed and tortured by Nyssa in to becoming Nyssa's perfect soldier/lackey.Devoid of any emotion except for Nyssa herself,that Talia hated Bruce Wayne to the point where she said she'd no longer call him beloved and pulled a gun on him.All for what? just to build up this new character who gets shoehorned in to continuity and goes on to replace an iconic Batman adversary.Nyssa was the female equivalent of Hush,no wonder she got offed so quickly.

Also Red Hood:Lost Days...um that's a good Talia story? the same one where she slept with Jason Todd(someone who was almost like a son) in order to turn him against Batman,and keep in mind this was before the events of the Hush storyline so Ra's was fully alive at that time,so either Talia lied or the writer screwed up big time.

Grant has given Talia enough development for me to consider her turn to villainy organic,he didn't just turn her evil without any explanation.Talia felt rejected,she now wants to prove that she can be better than both Bruce and Ra's as well as any other men whom she has met (Luthor,Bane).As you mentioned she has betrayed Ra's(and Luthor) many times just for Bruce but he being Batman and all just couldn't settle with her.The last issue of Batman INC had Talia saying"If I'm especially evil will I be your number one enemy?" she also made fun of capes,gadgets,traps, gimmicks etc she has also chosen Gotham.Now what does all this indicate? she's hurt emotionally and now she's finally putting her training,education and resources to heal those emotional scars.Taking away Gotham,making fun of the Batman/Joker dynamic indicates that.

Also you made a mistake here,Talia became a member of the Secret Society well after betraying Lex,she was not evil at that time.

I like this Talia,she has control and power that very few women in comics have.Even Deathstroke referred to her as my "my lady" or we can have a Talia that is very much a 2nd rate Bond Girl(Severine) who helps her lover and then gets kicked aside cause that exactly what happened in Tower of Babel and the Detective comics annual.

#10 Posted by sinnersheart (4 posts) - - Show Bio

@entropy_aegis said:

Can you please name a story where Talia was the main character,prior to Morrison coming around? the best one I can think of is Son of the Demon and a short back up in a Batman Chronicles issue,other than this she's never really had any.Morrison has put Talia under the spotlight,now she is a major character.Your post sums up perfectly why comics are drowning in a pool of stagnation,fans are unable to let go of the past.How many times is Talia gonna betray Ra's? how many times is she gonna offer Batman her love only to be rejected? it was cliched.

As for Death and the Maidens,frankly I'm astounded that you actually like it.There Talia was repeatedly brainwashed and tortured by Nyssa in to becoming Nyssa's perfect soldier/lackey.Devoid of any emotion except for Nyssa herself,that Talia hated Bruce Wayne to the point where she said she'd no longer call him beloved and pulled a gun on him.All for what? just to build up this new character who gets shoehorned in to continuity and goes on to replace an iconic Batman adversary.Nyssa was the female equivalent of Hush,no wonder she got offed so quickly.

Also Red Hood:Lost Days...um that's a good Talia story? the same one where she slept with Jason Todd(someone who was almost like a son) in order to turn him against Batman,and keep in mind this was before the events of the Hush storyline so Ra's was fully alive at that time,so either Talia lied or the writer screwed up big time.

Grant has given Talia enough development for me to consider her turn to villainy organic,he didn't just turn her evil without any explanation.Talia felt rejected,she now wants to prove that she can be better than both Bruce and Ra's as well as any other men whom she has met (Luthor,Bane).As you mentioned she has betrayed Ra's(and Luthor) many times just for Bruce but he being Batman and all just couldn't settle with her.The last issue of Batman INC had Talia saying"If I'm especially evil will I be your number one enemy?" she also made fun of capes,gadgets,traps, gimmicks etc she has also chosen Gotham.Now what does all this indicate? she's hurt emotionally and now she's finally putting her training,education and resources to heal those emotional scars.Taking away Gotham,making fun of the Batman/Joker dynamic indicates that.

Also you made a mistake here,Talia became a member of the Secret Society well after betraying Lex,she was not evil at that time.

I like this Talia,she has control and power that very few women in comics have.Even Deathstroke referred to her as my "my lady" or we can have a Talia that is very much a 2nd rate Bond Girl(Severine) who helps her lover and then gets kicked aside cause that exactly what happened in Tower of Babel and the Detective comics annual.

I don't think you want to open this particular can or worms with me, but alright.

Stories in which Talia was featured heavily (heavily meaning had significant speaking roles, purpose, or appearances:)

  • Bane of the Demon, Legacy
  • The Demon Laughs
  • Birds of Prey (now in tpb 7 [Perfect Pitch] and 8 [Blood and Circuits]). Primarily in 31-35 (in which Dinah is dating Ra's), again in 47-49, and then later in five more issues in the later 80s and 90s.
  • Parts of Tower of Babel, and then Detective Comics #750, in which she was heavily featured.
  • Son of the Demon
  • The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul (yes, I know Morrison had a hand in it, but she was not written as a heinous bitch)
  • Red Hood: Lost Days
  • Villains United
  • Death and the Maidens
  • Elseworld's Finest 1 and 2
  • Black Lightning Year One (issues 3 and 4)
  • Gotham City Sirens, 17, 18, and 19
  • President Luthor Secret Files 0

Not to mention Silver Age Talia, in which she was involved in several meaningful stories. And I'm missing some from this list, too, that are more recent. Annuals and issues of Superman and so on.

Now we're going to actually talk.

It's ridiculous to accuse fans such as myself as being to blame for the "stagnation" of comics. This isn't pre-New52 versus New52. Morrison was writing Talia badly before the New52. And there's plenty about comics right now that I DO like, and have been actively reading. But not Morrison. So you can't make accusations like that when you don't know my standings with the rest of the industry. This is only about Talia.

Yes, I liked Death and the Maidens. I LOATHED the artwork, but the story itself was solid. Pivotal for Talia, actually. This is the point at which she "becomes evil," and Death and the Maidens occurred while Talia was still CEO at LexCorp. So no, I'm not mistaken. And I liked Nyssa, as a character. I would not at all call her a Hush clone. In her torturing of Talia, she makes her a surrogate for her own daughter, and her suffering under the Nazis is reflecting in her treatment of Talia. It's actually finely crafted and subtle, and you have to pay close attention to see it all weave together. You're also equating that entire nine issues to a single moment at the end. But throughout the arc, Talia confides in Nyssa and she's certainly not emotionless. What happens to her is horrible and psyche-shattering, but just because I love a character doesn't mean I automatically hate when bad things happen to them. It wasn't just the advent of Nyssa, but it changed Talia, too. She'd already broken from Ra's and, in most ways, Bruce, by that time. But this was most definitely Pre-Society and pre-Infinite Crisis (the beginning of the Villains United trade recaps Death and the Maidens) and it opened to doors for a more villainous Talia. Outrightly villainous? No. But more than she had been. It was a shift.

I personally like the Jason/Talia pairing in Lost Days, so that's not a point against it. Judd Winick wrote Talia well. We see her breaking away from Bruce sexually (in trysts with Nameless Minion and Jason at the end), but in a way that wasn't desperate. She's not standing around, watching the flower of her youth rot on the vine while Bruce dallies with other women. Jason is NOT Talia's son, no matter what. She hardly paid him mind when he was Robin (I can think of one Silver Age issue in which they teamed up) but even so, she never had regarded him or any other Robin as a son apart from her actual, biological son. There were maternal elements to their relationship when Jason hadn't been in the Lazarus Pit, yes. However:

  1. Talia’s first concern in hearing that Jason had died was Bruce’s emotional response. This is expected. However, when she’s vouching on Jason’s behalf to Ra’s, and Ra’s is so incredibly harsh to her (ranting how bringing Jason back to Bruce would not make him love her, etc), she still chooses to help Jason. She sees what he could be and refuses to accept him as nothing more than the brain-damaged boy everyone else sees.And, for some reason, when she strikes him, despite fighting back on every other occasion..Jason does not fight Talia.
  2. They bond on the cliff-side in that beautiful scene, when Talia can just say how she feels and thinks and worries for Bruce. Has she been able to do such a thing before this point? Ra’s certainly wouldn’t humor her. For once, she has someone to really talk to, even if he won’t talk back. Talia really finds her care for Jason here - and we get to see it, and see some of her more intimate thoughts.
  3. Look at her “letter” to Jason (Lost Days #1). “I had other reasons. Despite my search for the answers, you remain a mystery. You were dead, Jason. Murdered. Buried. And mourned. But you returned to this world. A miracle. And then you wandered into my view. Fate is commanding your life in a way that I can barely fathom. I judge what I have done as not so much intervening on fate’s behalf, but as stepping out of its way. You were meant for something, Jason. Only time will tell what that is. But you should know, more than any other reason - I have done this for love. And I hope that will guide you into what you will become.”
  4. What love is Talia referring to? The natural inclination is to say she’s still doing this for Bruce. And maybe she is. Perhaps it is for her lingering love for him. I wouldn’t go as far as to say she’s telling Jason she loves him. But love is her motivation, either way.
  5. Talia takes an absolutely monumental risk in putting Jason in the Lazarus Pit. She knows full well that Ra’s will see it as a betrayal, and it’s said that, if she were anyone else, he would have killed her. Ra’s implies a slow torture, referring to death as a blessing. It was a huge deal for Talia to revive Jason Todd. Ra’s was only going to send him away. He was going to be cared for and remain a brain-damaged mute. It’s not as if Ra’s was going to kill Jason - but Talia still saw the potential in Jason to outweigh the consequences.

To quote a Talia scholar of sorts,

She and Jason are quite alike and this title seems to subtly emphasize their similarities. They both have had problematic relationships with father figures (two of them, in Jason’s case), they are both emotionally hard because their upbringing requires them to be, they both feel that the Bat-family’s principles must be rejected, and they both, after having put their faith in Bruce, have found their faith unrewarded. She’s a strong, hot woman and he’s a strong, hot man. They actually make quite a good team.

In short, when Talia goes to bed with Jason, she isn’t fucking her adopted son. She isn’t fucking a man her father has approved for her. Most importantly, she isn’t fucking Bruce. Instead, she’s fucking a man to whom she feels she can relate, a man whom she feels understands her. In her discussion with Jason, ending with the repetition of her admonishment that he “cross the line” Bruce laid out for him, she, too, finds she must cross a line. We should note that (hooray for good art!) it’s she who pulls him in for their kiss, proving her active agency in what’s about to happen between them. We may all gasp over the fact that she’s (again! twice in this title!) going for a man who isn’t Bruce, but we should also appreciate that. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing more of her relationship with Jason and even the assassin in the future. In fact, I’m hoping for it.

As for the writing, I'm fairly certain it was a slip-up on the writer's part with the continuity (the arc did, after all, span several years), and the death Talia is referring to is Death and the Maidens (and that would explain Talia's rather weird behavior.) She wasn't with Ra's at all in the arc after she revives Jason, and she wasn't constantly with him. And during Hush, she WAS at LexCorp. But continuity is a weird thing - but that's still not really a point against Talia.

Morrison has written Talia and vengeful and bitter, and no, there has not been significant buildup. Even in the issue about her (Vol. 2, issue 2) we saw very little of her thoughts and motivations in a real, meaningful way. And he reinstated the damn RAPE that he once recanted. Morrison wrote this "date rape" element in in Batman & Son. Quote Morrison, though “For a long time, [DC] said [Son of the Demon] was out of continuity. Now it’s just kind of out of continuity. I didn’t actually read it before I started writing this. I messed up a lot of details, like Batman wasn’t drugged when he was having sex with Talia and it didn’t take place in the desert. I was relying on shaky memories. But now we have this new “Superboy punch” continuity [after Superboy Prime attacked the fabric of the universe during Infinite Crisis]. People still don’t realize how important that single punch was to cover everyone’s ass.”

And then we get to Batman Inc, and Talia has drugged Bruce for sex AGAIN. After this statement.

None of your point about Inc are leading me to see her as a "better" Talia. She's not even the same character. And this problem goes back to before the New52. It started with Grant Morrison, who is notorious for writing characters as vehicles for the plot that he wants, no matter what it does to their characterization, and for writing women and insultingly dimensionless. Ask hardcore Lois Lane fans how they felt about her portrayal in All Star Superman sometime. Quoting a Lois Lane fan from tumblr,

I see everyone is rightfully pissed off and frustrated with the way Grant Morrison continues to treat Talia in Batman Inc. Questioning when he became such a complete and utter asshole when it came to writing women….why he thinks it’s ok to disrespect and misunderstand a complex woman in such a way etc. Completely distorting continuity and in the process throwing a complex woman under the bus.

I agree with you.

But I got news for you….the fans of Lois Lane called this YEARS ago. After he did some really misogynist shit with her in All Star Superman and then everyone and their mother proclaimed it the greatest comic book ever written. Meanwhile, the people who loved Lois Lane were standing in the background like, “Uh…yeah. He really fucked up with Lois. Really bad. To the point that it’s insulting. Hello??”

Then, he started writing Action Comics and basically regulated the only other person in Action #1 besides Superman himself to being less important than Jimmy Olsen and several other MEN in the story. He took a role in the narrative that had BELONGED to a woman and basically wrote it out. Then, he literally gutted the Clark/Lois/Superman triangle—the entire backbone of every Superman origin story. Then he implied in an interview that “strong” women shouldn’t be married. And when Lois did show up on page (which is incredibly rare) he butchered her there too by making her out to have no motivation other than getting headlines and ignoring her own personal pursuit of justice that had been ingrained in the character since the 1930’s.

And again, the women who love Lois Lane were like, “Umm..guys….Morrison has a problem writing complex women. He does not GET them. He over simplifies them in a very insulting way and just doesn’t seem to care about treating them with value.” And again…people yelled back, “No…Morrison is amazing! He can do no wrong! Bow down to the Morrison god etc etc.”

And now, I see, he’s pulling the same shit again with Talia in Batman Inc. Writing her out of character to suit an agenda. Taking a woman who is VERY complex and writing her one note. And he doesn’t seem to give two shits.

And all I can say to you as a fan of Lois Lane is….I’m deeply sorry. I feel for you. I could have called this years ago. Morrison may have a huge fanbase and a huge following. But I wouldn’t trust him with a female character I liked if my life depended on it. PARTICULARLY if that female character has to interact with a MAN.

You're free to like what Talia you want to, but I'm also free to disagree with you, and, as someone who has been reading and collecting Talia comics as much as I'm able and investing myself in her character, to think that's is a horrible interpretation and, in fact, not even the same character.

#11 Posted by entropy_aegis (15456 posts) - - Show Bio

@sinnersheart said:

@entropy_aegis said:

Can you please name a story where Talia was the main character,prior to Morrison coming around? the best one I can think of is Son of the Demon and a short back up in a Batman Chronicles issue,other than this she's never really had any.Morrison has put Talia under the spotlight,now she is a major character.Your post sums up perfectly why comics are drowning in a pool of stagnation,fans are unable to let go of the past.How many times is Talia gonna betray Ra's? how many times is she gonna offer Batman her love only to be rejected? it was cliched.

As for Death and the Maidens,frankly I'm astounded that you actually like it.There Talia was repeatedly brainwashed and tortured by Nyssa in to becoming Nyssa's perfect soldier/lackey.Devoid of any emotion except for Nyssa herself,that Talia hated Bruce Wayne to the point where she said she'd no longer call him beloved and pulled a gun on him.All for what? just to build up this new character who gets shoehorned in to continuity and goes on to replace an iconic Batman adversary.Nyssa was the female equivalent of Hush,no wonder she got offed so quickly.

Also Red Hood:Lost Days...um that's a good Talia story? the same one where she slept with Jason Todd(someone who was almost like a son) in order to turn him against Batman,and keep in mind this was before the events of the Hush storyline so Ra's was fully alive at that time,so either Talia lied or the writer screwed up big time.

Grant has given Talia enough development for me to consider her turn to villainy organic,he didn't just turn her evil without any explanation.Talia felt rejected,she now wants to prove that she can be better than both Bruce and Ra's as well as any other men whom she has met (Luthor,Bane).As you mentioned she has betrayed Ra's(and Luthor) many times just for Bruce but he being Batman and all just couldn't settle with her.The last issue of Batman INC had Talia saying"If I'm especially evil will I be your number one enemy?" she also made fun of capes,gadgets,traps, gimmicks etc she has also chosen Gotham.Now what does all this indicate? she's hurt emotionally and now she's finally putting her training,education and resources to heal those emotional scars.Taking away Gotham,making fun of the Batman/Joker dynamic indicates that.

Also you made a mistake here,Talia became a member of the Secret Society well after betraying Lex,she was not evil at that time.

I like this Talia,she has control and power that very few women in comics have.Even Deathstroke referred to her as my "my lady" or we can have a Talia that is very much a 2nd rate Bond Girl(Severine) who helps her lover and then gets kicked aside cause that exactly what happened in Tower of Babel and the Detective comics annual.

I don't think you want to open this particular can or worms with me, but alright.

Stories in which Talia was featured heavily (heavily meaning had significant speaking roles, purpose, or appearances:)

  • Bane of the Demon, Legacy
  • The Demon Laughs
  • Birds of Prey (now in tpb 7 [Perfect Pitch] and 8 [Blood and Circuits]). Primarily in 31-35 (in which Dinah is dating Ra's), again in 47-49, and then later in five more issues in the later 80s and 90s.
  • Parts of Tower of Babel, and then Detective Comics #750, in which she was heavily featured.
  • Son of the Demon
  • The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul (yes, I know Morrison had a hand in it, but she was not written as a heinous bitch)
  • Red Hood: Lost Days
  • Villains United
  • Death and the Maidens
  • Elseworld's Finest 1 and 2
  • Black Lightning Year One (issues 3 and 4)
  • Gotham City Sirens, 17, 18, and 19
  • President Luthor Secret Files 0

Not to mention Silver Age Talia, in which she was involved in several meaningful stories. And I'm missing some from this list, too, that are more recent. Annuals and issues of Superman and so on.

Now we're going to actually talk.

It's ridiculous to accuse fans such as myself as being to blame for the "stagnation" of comics. This isn't pre-New52 versus New52. Morrison was writing Talia badly before the New52. And there's plenty about comics right now that I DO like, and have been actively reading. But not Morrison. So you can't make accusations like that when you don't know my standings with the rest of the industry. This is only about Talia.

Yes, I liked Death and the Maidens. I LOATHED the artwork, but the story itself was solid. Pivotal for Talia, actually. This is the point at which she "becomes evil," and Death and the Maidens occurred while Talia was still CEO at LexCorp. So no, I'm not mistaken. And I liked Nyssa, as a character. I would not at all call her a Hush clone. In her torturing of Talia, she makes her a surrogate for her own daughter, and her suffering under the Nazis is reflecting in her treatment of Talia. It's actually finely crafted and subtle, and you have to pay close attention to see it all weave together. You're also equating that entire nine issues to a single moment at the end. But throughout the arc, Talia confides in Nyssa and she's certainly not emotionless. What happens to her is horrible and psyche-shattering, but just because I love a character doesn't mean I automatically hate when bad things happen to them. It wasn't just the advent of Nyssa, but it changed Talia, too. She'd already broken from Ra's and, in most ways, Bruce, by that time. But this was most definitely Pre-Society and pre-Infinite Crisis (the beginning of the Villains United trade recaps Death and the Maidens) and it opened to doors for a more villainous Talia. Outrightly villainous? No. But more than she had been. It was a shift.

I personally like the Jason/Talia pairing in Lost Days, so that's not a point against it. Judd Winick wrote Talia well. We see her breaking away from Bruce sexually (in trysts with Nameless Minion and Jason at the end), but in a way that wasn't desperate. She's not standing around, watching the flower of her youth rot on the vine while Bruce dallies with other women. Jason is NOT Talia's son, no matter what. She hardly paid him mind when he was Robin (I can think of one Silver Age issue in which they teamed up) but even so, she never had regarded him or any other Robin as a son apart from her actual, biological son. There were maternal elements to their relationship when Jason hadn't been in the Lazarus Pit, yes. However:

  1. Talia’s first concern in hearing that Jason had died was Bruce’s emotional response. This is expected. However, when she’s vouching on Jason’s behalf to Ra’s, and Ra’s is so incredibly harsh to her (ranting how bringing Jason back to Bruce would not make him love her, etc), she still chooses to help Jason. She sees what he could be and refuses to accept him as nothing more than the brain-damaged boy everyone else sees.And, for some reason, when she strikes him, despite fighting back on every other occasion..Jason does not fight Talia.
  2. They bond on the cliff-side in that beautiful scene, when Talia can just say how she feels and thinks and worries for Bruce. Has she been able to do such a thing before this point? Ra’s certainly wouldn’t humor her. For once, she has someone to really talk to, even if he won’t talk back. Talia really finds her care for Jason here - and we get to see it, and see some of her more intimate thoughts.
  3. Look at her “letter” to Jason (Lost Days #1). “I had other reasons. Despite my search for the answers, you remain a mystery. You were dead, Jason. Murdered. Buried. And mourned. But you returned to this world. A miracle. And then you wandered into my view. Fate is commanding your life in a way that I can barely fathom. I judge what I have done as not so much intervening on fate’s behalf, but as stepping out of its way. You were meant for something, Jason. Only time will tell what that is. But you should know, more than any other reason - I have done this for love. And I hope that will guide you into what you will become.”
  4. What love is Talia referring to? The natural inclination is to say she’s still doing this for Bruce. And maybe she is. Perhaps it is for her lingering love for him. I wouldn’t go as far as to say she’s telling Jason she loves him. But love is her motivation, either way.
  5. Talia takes an absolutely monumental risk in putting Jason in the Lazarus Pit. She knows full well that Ra’s will see it as a betrayal, and it’s said that, if she were anyone else, he would have killed her. Ra’s implies a slow torture, referring to death as a blessing. It was a huge deal for Talia to revive Jason Todd. Ra’s was only going to send him away. He was going to be cared for and remain a brain-damaged mute. It’s not as if Ra’s was going to kill Jason - but Talia still saw the potential in Jason to outweigh the consequences.

To quote a Talia scholar of sorts,

She and Jason are quite alike and this title seems to subtly emphasize their similarities. They both have had problematic relationships with father figures (two of them, in Jason’s case), they are both emotionally hard because their upbringing requires them to be, they both feel that the Bat-family’s principles must be rejected, and they both, after having put their faith in Bruce, have found their faith unrewarded. She’s a strong, hot woman and he’s a strong, hot man. They actually make quite a good team.

In short, when Talia goes to bed with Jason, she isn’t fucking her adopted son. She isn’t fucking a man her father has approved for her. Most importantly, she isn’t fucking Bruce. Instead, she’s fucking a man to whom she feels she can relate, a man whom she feels understands her. In her discussion with Jason, ending with the repetition of her admonishment that he “cross the line” Bruce laid out for him, she, too, finds she must cross a line. We should note that (hooray for good art!) it’s she who pulls him in for their kiss, proving her active agency in what’s about to happen between them. We may all gasp over the fact that she’s (again! twice in this title!) going for a man who isn’t Bruce, but we should also appreciate that. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing more of her relationship with Jason and even the assassin in the future. In fact, I’m hoping for it.

As for the writing, I'm fairly certain it was a slip-up on the writer's part with the continuity (the arc did, after all, span several years), and the death Talia is referring to is Death and the Maidens (and that would explain Talia's rather weird behavior.) She wasn't with Ra's at all in the arc after she revives Jason, and she wasn't constantly with him. And during Hush, she WAS at LexCorp. But continuity is a weird thing - but that's still not really a point against Talia.

Morrison has written Talia and vengeful and bitter, and no, there has not been significant buildup. Even in the issue about her (Vol. 2, issue 2) we saw very little of her thoughts and motivations in a real, meaningful way. And he reinstated the damn RAPE that he once recanted. Morrison wrote this "date rape" element in in Batman & Son. Quote Morrison, though “For a long time, [DC] said [Son of the Demon] was out of continuity. Now it’s just kind of out of continuity. I didn’t actually read it before I started writing this. I messed up a lot of details, like Batman wasn’t drugged when he was having sex with Talia and it didn’t take place in the desert. I was relying on shaky memories. But now we have this new “Superboy punch” continuity [after Superboy Prime attacked the fabric of the universe during Infinite Crisis]. People still don’t realize how important that single punch was to cover everyone’s ass.”

And then we get to Batman Inc, and Talia has drugged Bruce for sex AGAIN. After this statement.

None of your point about Inc are leading me to see her as a "better" Talia. She's not even the same character. And this problem goes back to before the New52. It started with Grant Morrison, who is notorious for writing characters as vehicles for the plot that he wants, no matter what it does to their characterization, and for writing women and insultingly dimensionless. Ask hardcore Lois Lane fans how they felt about her portrayal in All Star Superman sometime. Quoting a Lois Lane fan from tumblr,

I see everyone is rightfully pissed off and frustrated with the way Grant Morrison continues to treat Talia in Batman Inc. Questioning when he became such a complete and utter asshole when it came to writing women….why he thinks it’s ok to disrespect and misunderstand a complex woman in such a way etc. Completely distorting continuity and in the process throwing a complex woman under the bus.

I agree with you.

But I got news for you….the fans of Lois Lane called this YEARS ago. After he did some really misogynist shit with her in All Star Superman and then everyone and their mother proclaimed it the greatest comic book ever written. Meanwhile, the people who loved Lois Lane were standing in the background like, “Uh…yeah. He really fucked up with Lois. Really bad. To the point that it’s insulting. Hello??”

Then, he started writing Action Comics and basically regulated the only other person in Action #1 besides Superman himself to being less important than Jimmy Olsen and several other MEN in the story. He took a role in the narrative that had BELONGED to a woman and basically wrote it out. Then, he literally gutted the Clark/Lois/Superman triangle—the entire backbone of every Superman origin story. Then he implied in an interview that “strong” women shouldn’t be married. And when Lois did show up on page (which is incredibly rare) he butchered her there too by making her out to have no motivation other than getting headlines and ignoring her own personal pursuit of justice that had been ingrained in the character since the 1930’s.

And again, the women who love Lois Lane were like, “Umm..guys….Morrison has a problem writing complex women. He does not GET them. He over simplifies them in a very insulting way and just doesn’t seem to care about treating them with value.” And again…people yelled back, “No…Morrison is amazing! He can do no wrong! Bow down to the Morrison god etc etc.”

And now, I see, he’s pulling the same shit again with Talia in Batman Inc. Writing her out of character to suit an agenda. Taking a woman who is VERY complex and writing her one note. And he doesn’t seem to give two shits.

And all I can say to you as a fan of Lois Lane is….I’m deeply sorry. I feel for you. I could have called this years ago. Morrison may have a huge fanbase and a huge following. But I wouldn’t trust him with a female character I liked if my life depended on it. PARTICULARLY if that female character has to interact with a MAN.

You're free to like what Talia you want to, but I'm also free to disagree with you, and, as someone who has been reading and collecting Talia comics as much as I'm able and investing myself in her character, to think that's is a horrible interpretation and, in fact, not even the same character.

Um Birds of Prey? the same one where

"You are no longer my father,now I must kill you" yeah real complexity all right,that arc was all about Ra's and Dinah and the other one where she was fried crispy.

Bane of the Demon/Legacy? what exactly did she do here? This was Bane's story.

Gotham City Sirens Talia was even worse than Morrisons Talia.

Villains United was about the Secret Six.

In Resurrection she was completely powerless.

Death and Maidens was about Nyssa.

Red Hood was about Red Hood duh.

And same goes for Black Lightning.

Demon Laughs? the first big team up between Ra's and the Joker,Talia doesn't even factor in to it.

I'll give you President Luthor.

Tower of Babel was about Batman,JL and Ra's.

I asked you for a list of Talia centric stories all you did was bombard me with all the arcs featuring Talia that you could think of,Talia is almost irrelevant in some of these(Villains United,Black Lightning).A lot of these stories were about some other character and Talia was used to build them up(Bane of the Demon,Lost Days,Death and Maidens,Resurrection).I have read all of them save Elseworlds finest and I dont really see them as Talia stories.Incorporated is about Talia,is she a sadistic,unlikeable villain? yes but it's her story,INC #2 could be considered Talia Year:One.

I wasn't referring to the New-52 when I made my stagnation comment,comic fans(not just you) just want to read the same stories over and over again,Talia betrays Ra's,Ra's gets angry bla,bla everything goes back to normal.

Death and Maidens was pointless,Nyssa was pointless.That's what I disliked about the story,they set about to replace Ra's but not with Talia but with another daughter who just shows up conveniently when Bane and Batman managed to destroy most of the Lazarus pits.The story itself I have thought was pretty good.But again Talia was just Nyssa's sidekick,not her own character.

I liked the first issue of Lost Days a lot but this series went downhill immediately after that,you mentioned the "nameless minion" seriously WTF who was he? did he manage to live on? did he die? was he an assistant?adviser?guard?friend? what was his relationship with Talia? he could have been something like TDKR Bane but nope it's just some nameless minion who has sex and then IMMEDIATELY disappears and is never mentioned again EVER.You might think it sexually liberates Talia but looking at it technically it was crap writing and the writer in question has done it more than once.

Jason is not Talia's son but he was still a kid when she first found him and barely an adult when they had sex,looking back their relationship was never shown to be romantic until they slept and Talia's reasoning being "he killed my father"(false).This is the same story where some random Russian guy in London screams"I know where Joker is" to Jason...LOL WUT? dumb just dumb.It was a badly written series,it had plot holes,continuity lapses,leaps of logic and was just fan service for Jason fans nothing more.I also dont understand this risk you keep bringing up,what risk? risk would have been had something happened wrong or if it could have happened wrong.Nothing happened here,Ra's got angry and that's it.

Still Like I said I DO agree that Lost Days#1 had a really good interpretation of classic Talia. Likewise continuity IS a point against Talia and I'm baffled that you so casually dismissed something so integral to story telling in the same post where you go on about how Morrison screwed up on Son of the Demon.Talia's sex with Jason completely depends on the continuity which doesn't add up,so how is this good writing?

I admit I was very disappointed with the rape thing especially when Morrison admitted to making a mistake,but to repeat it is kinda low on his part.It's not even a mistake now,so I sympathize with you on this.

I'm also not sure what your friends rant on Lois Lane has anything to do with this,Catwoman and Stephanie Brown were amazing in INC and Talia herself is far from weak,seems like all he/she is doing is trying to rally Talia fans to his/her cause.Talia and Lois under Morrisons pen are nothing alike so unless this person can actually provide examples I'm calling BS.

Oh and Talia scholar eh,I have read almost everything with her excluding only Elsewords Finest and some BTAS spinoff comics,would you consider me a scholar too? this is a serious question,I'm not mocking you or the other person.

Overall I like Morrisons Talia,she's boss IMO,no one f#cks with her,not Ra's,not Batman.

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