The Talons Strike!
Written by: Scott Snyder
Pencilled by: Greg Capullo
Inked by: Jonathan Glapion
Colored by: FCO
Lettering by: Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Published by: DC
Cover Price: $2.99
Note : This review is for the digital version of the comic available from DC Comics on Comixology
Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!
Summary (contains spoilers): Last issue, Batman managed to escape the Court of Owl’s labyrinth, but as this issue starts it’s clear that Batman’s mind is no where near recovered from his horrifying experiences. He manages to make it back to the Batcave, to discover that Alfred found Talon’s dead body and brought it to the cave. At first Batman is terrified by Talon’s prescence, but decides to cut him open and figure out what makes Talon tick.
While Batman is recovering from his injuries, the Court of Owls seems to be preparing other Talons to go out and take back the city for good.
Nightwing comes down to check on Batman, and Batman reveals that Talon’s body seems uniquely suited to be able to return to life, as long as certain preparations are made (which explains how come the previews for The Night of The Owls shows Talons stretching back 250 years). As long as the bodies are kept cold, they won’t regenerate. Each Talon seems to have a tooth marked with unique Court of Owls’ markings. Batman also reveals that this particular Talon is William Cobb, Nightwing’s Great Grandfather.
Nightwing freaks out that Batman was planning on hiding this from him. Batman backhands him, knocking out a “Court of Owls” tooth, revealing that Nightwing was supposed to be a Talon as well. I have already seen online a lot of people misunderstood that scene, but I thought it was pretty damn cool. Amazed we haven’t seen a meme yet about Batman being able to knock out a single tooth with a blow.
Batman admits that he’s seen the real Gotham City now, and it isn’t the place he always thought it was. Nightwing basically tells him to get over it, and stop looking at the Court of Owls as anything other than a new set of bad guys to be taken down.
The issue ends with a mass of Talons setting off into Gotham to take the city back.
Review: Snyder keeps ratcheting up the danger of this book. This issue was actually the first real “calm” issue of Batman since Relaunch, with not a lot of action happening, but the tension was still pushed to the max on each page. Even in the end, when Nightwing is playing the voice of reason (that you usually expect from Batman), you can’t help but think that Dick is just being naive, and that the Night of the Owls is going to be one of the worst things that ever happened to Gotham City…and that is after earthquakes, plagues, and No Man’s Land.
There is always a big risk involved in retroactively adding elements to a character like Batman and a setting like Gotham City. You’d think after seventy years of comic stories, there would have been some hints about the Court of Owls before now. But Snyder has done it masterfully. It is very easy to just accept it as new information, and let it recolor how we’ve always seen the world of Batman. This is not an easy trick. I also like how well it seemed to integrate into other things going on in Bat-titles like Nightwing and Birds of Prey.
On top of the brilliant writing, Greg Capullo and the entire Batman art team deserve a lot of credit for making this book so great. The image of the owl attacking a bat that started the comic really gave me a viseral reaction, something I am more expecting to get from Animal Man or Swamp Thing than Batman!
The most disturbing image of this comic to me might just be Batman’s bloodshot eye. The art keeps forcing you to focus on that image, and for some reason, I felt real uncomfortable every time I looked at it. This is just really powerful imagery, and Capullo really knows how to keep twisting that knife.
It’s strange, because there is really nothing in this story that couldn’t have been told with DC Relaunch, but at the same time, I can definitely see how Relaunch opened the doors for this kind of storytelling. Batman has usually been the “superheroic” Batman stories, and dark, more philosophical tales like this usually ended up pushed to a more secondary Bat-title like Legends of the Dark Knight or Shadow of the Bat. Snyder and Capullo have really changes the way I look at Batman, and the result is one of DC (or anyone else’s) best comics. Highly recommended!!
Final Score: 9.0 – Even when Snyder slows down the pace, Batman is still one of the most intense comics I’ve ever read. This Talons story really is becoming one of the most important stories in Batman history, and I am excited to see how it plays out from here.
Tags: Batman, DC Comics Relaunch, Dick Grayson (Robin I / Nightwing), Greg Capullo, Scott Snyder