“Talon” #0 co-plotted by James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder, written by Tynion with art by Guillem March introduces new character Calvin Rose into the Batman mythos. Rose is the Court of Owls’ greatest living weapon and the most promising of its Talon assassins. He makes his first appearance in the debut issue of his ongoing series, penned by a relatively new writer to comics whose credits consist only of New 52 Bat-books.
While Tynion’s origin story isn’t the most original, it’s well-executed and the best I’ve read this month from DC. It has emotion, action and most importantly, character. What the original Azrael did for the Bat-verse in the 1990s and Hush in the early 2000s, Talon does in the modern day — he’s a completely original character thrust into the spotlight of an A-list character’s lore with the goal of generating fan interest.
Tynion’s script is on point. He puts a time stamp of 5 years prior to whatever’s coming next in the series, layering the issue with foreshadowing. He writes Rose’s special talent — escape — particularly well. Rose can get himself out of any situation and it’s no wonder, considering his time spent performing at Haly’s Circus. In a street level universe, this is a unique skill set that has plenty of opportunity for exploration as the series continues.
However, Rose is far from infallible as Tynion writes a relatable and realistic feeling of vulnerability to the character. He’s claustrophobic to the extreme, yet respectably keeps his panic in check. Tynion’s best line drives home the moment Rose becomes something more than just a Talon of the Court. It’s not worth spoiling, but with this line Talon becomes an endearing character whose past vindicates his present path. Despite the dark overtones, Tynion even evoked a laugh out of me during the final scene. Unfortunately, this scene also contained my only gripe in the entire issue: the narrative in the final panel is too cliche and feels out of place.
Guillem March’s art is excellent and easily some of his best work. Whether it’s Rose scaling a towering structure or minute details like the little owl faces staring on the Talon’s knife, March definitely brings his A-game to this issue. Tomeu Morey’s colors are the right fit for March, particularly popping with the look of March’s Talon costumes. He accurately sets the mood in each scene, paying attention to lighting and shadow.
Scott Snyder’s influence on this issue is evident to those familiar with his work, particularly the opening page and the visage of the creepy old man from the Court in the aforementioned scene at Haly’s. “Talon” #0 also falls in line with Snyder’s penchant for freaking readers out using children with a Court toddler who takes pleasure in seeing a man get his throat ripped out. It makes my skin crawl.
It’s impressive that in a “Batman” spinoff series, Batman never showed up and I didn’t even notice. Tynion has definitely made a strong addition to the “Batman” mythos with this issue. If you dig Snyder’s “Batman” or want an excellent standalone comic, this issue is a must-read and a strong addition to DC’s zero month of titles.