batwatch's Talon #8 - Don't be Afraid of the Dark review

BatWatch Review: Talon #8

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Talon has been on a whirlwind adventure all of which leads the grave, or so it would seem. Bane snapped his neck in the last issue, and he appeared dead in the preview as well, so will he be resurrected as a talon or has he managed to cheat death completely. Only reading will tell.

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Does Talon #8 deliver another excellent issue or is this where the series finally falls apart?

In this issue, Casey Washington is captured and tortured and Calvin Rose gets a new lease on life.

Give My Creation...Life!

The results are in. Calvin Rose does indeed become a resurrected talon of the Court of Owls. The only chance of reclaiming any of the resources Calvin and Sebastian Clark stole from the Court rests in Calvin's broken frame, so the Court boots him up once more.

I'm not completely sure how I feel about this. Calvin has felt like a very likable and relatable character, and all other resurrected talons have been standoffish and seem less than human. I would hate to see Calvin lose his humanity. Also, this change makes Calvin metahuman which doesn't fit very well into the Bat Family. Calvin can now, presumably, break through metal doors and resurrect from just about anything just like other talons. It's a little disconcerting, and it seems to take away the vulnerability that makes the Bat characters such underdogs.

However, it looks like James Tynion IV (current writer of Talon, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and Batman) is handling this concept in the best possible way. (Spoilers) Talon stills seems like his old self in terms of personality which is a relief, and the powers, though a big change, are not to the level of someone like Superman or Green Lantern who are essentially unstoppable. It does still upgrade his challenge level though. Why bother being stealthy anymore when he could accomplish most tasks with brute strength and endurance? Part of the answer might come in the form of a new substance that breaks down a talon's healing ability, but that would only make Talon vulnerable to very specific types of attacks mostly controlled by the Court of Owls. I admit, I'm still a little concerned how this powerset will affect the tone and flow of the story, but as for this particular chapter of the story, it was handled well, and I'm willing to bet Tynion can keep things exciting.

Superb Sepulveda

Miguel Sepulveda (former artist of Red Lanterns and current artist of Talon and cover artist for Red Lanters) is the new artist for the book replacing Guillem March, and though I thought much of March's work on Talon was grant, I think Sepulveda (former cover artist for Gotham City Sirens, Catwoman, Huntress, and Azrael and interior artist for Batman and Batman and Robin and current cover artist for Talon) has already won me over as the superior artist. My problem with March is that while some of his panels looked great, some looked a little odd. His characters did not always look quite right, and how characters moved from one place to another in action scenes was not always clear.

Sepulveda's work is not as extravagant as March's in some places, but it's very good, and it's a lot more consistent in terms of quality. I don't know that anything made my jaw drop in artistic wonder, but the art told the story and told it well, and that's all I really want. It's slick where it needs to be slick, brutal where it needs to be brutal, and when the story demands an army of a hundred warriors be on panel at once, they are all drawn in quite nicely. It's good stuff.

The one thing about the art that did strike me as...surprising was the size of the Butcher. He felt like he went from being about twice as big as any real human to being about three times as big. It's not really a fault, but it did stick out to me.

Bat Droppings

1. I'm not sure how the Butcher found Casey. This might be a plot hole.

2. Here's a quick question, what is the point of wearing masks in the Court of Owls if everybody knows the name of the Grandmaster?

3. It looks like the Butcher ripped out one of Casey's eyes, but maybe that is just her eye swollen shut. Either way, her battered appearance is a good way to show Talon and readers that the Court is not messing around.

4. During his resurrection, Tynion and Sepulveda managed to go over the plot thus far in just a couple of pages. It's a nice way to get new readers on board without actually spelling everything out.

(Spoilers until Conclusion)

5. Calvin is once more acting as an agent for the Court. Interesting. I'm curious how long the series will stay in this vein before Calvin is able to find an out. With the conflict with Clark and Bane, the hostage situation with Casey, and the indoctrinating of Sarah, the series has set up a lot of future plots to explore.

6. It was cool how the issue ended with the same scene as Birds of Prey #20 only with reversed perspective. Instead of being on the ground looking up, the panel is framed from higher up looking down.

Conclusion 10/10

I'm loving this series. I have a few teeny, tiny nitpicks, but the overall quality is fantastic as I'm kept guessing every issue. It seems odd to recommend people start reading the issue after the protagonist died, but this is actually the best jumping on point since issue #1. If you do not pick up Talon, you are doing yourself a disservice.

More Recent Reviews:

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For more news, reviews, and commentary for the entire Bat Family, check out

3 Comments Refresh
Posted by Extremis

Hey wonderful review. You summed it up nicely. I also would give this issue high marks, as you've already said, it continues to introduce new and interesting subplots. Especially that bit with Sarah being indoctrinated into the Court - that's some seriously messed up stuff!

I agree that Supelveda is a great fit for this title. Though I was sad to hear Guillem March would be leaving (considering all the great stuff he's done for Talon in getting it started), I must admit I was excited when i found out about Sepulveda being his successor just from some of the artwork of his I've seen. I love how he draws Bane thus far, and I might be the only person who feels this way but I actually like how enormous the Butcher is that he's created.

So with Calvin being resurrected and having all the healing/regenerative abilities as the others, do you think this harms his chances of becoming an Allie to the Bat family (That is, assuming these physical changes stay in place)? Because I gotta say, I was rather hoping he could become a long lasting character either in or working with the Bat family of characters.

Posted by JoeEddie

I bought this issue because of your review. Thanks!

Edited by BatWatch


Glad I could be of help.

@extremis: I was very disappointed to see Sepulveda leave after just a couple of issues. I thought his work was great, but the new guy seems like he might do alright. Who is that? Oh yeah, Simeoni. I think he might work well for the series.

I'm guessing that Sarah will remain captured by the Court even while Casey makes it to freedom. That will leave the unfinished business with the Court while giving Talon the freedom to do something apart from the Court if they go underground.

On second thought, that's a stupid thought because Calvin would never rest until retrieved Sarah. Maybe she will be freed but retain some indoctrination?

Regardless, it's been a fun series, and I look forward to seeing what comes next.

I'm not sure about Talon being a lasting member of the Bat Family. His series has not been selling well, and there have not been any efforts to give Talon any boosts unless you count the Bane story in 'Tec 900. Calvin has some serious ties to Gotham and he might be on the verge of getting a team up with Bruce. His methods are still rather similar to Bruce's. Still, you are right in that it makes him feel less like a Bat with the powers. I'm not sure anybody else to get his own Bat Family title has ever had it unless you count Azrael's enhanced strength.

Considering the powers and the low sales, I think Talon will fade out by issue thirty unless DC does something to boost this series. Talon could become an independent character if he survives and continues to be separate from the Bat. Could be something like Question or Manhunter. is still active. (more or less) Brief personal crisis interrupting for the last few days, so if you like my thoughts and reviews, you can still check them out there.

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