In which Bane prepares for his war against Gotham; Sarah Washington undergoes reprogramming, and Casey attempts to flee from the clutches of the Court of Owls!
The issue starts off with little Sarah Washington getting the Clockwork Orange treatment as the Court of Owls attempts to reprogram her while the Gotham Butcher forces her mother, Casey, to remotely watch the brainwashing. Even if Calvin or Casey manage to rescue Sarah, they might be too late—she may never be the same.
Meanwhile on Santa Prisca, Calvin Rose gets put through the ringer by Wolf-Spider. Don’t let the name fool you though, as he’s really not much of either, just a willing participant and Bane’s Venom Program. Despite a vicious beating that would have left a normal person unconscious or dead, Calvin is left virtually unharmed. Calvin finds that the sensation of pain is all but a thing of the past for him and coupled with his regeneration death seems to have been a boon for him in many ways. The fighting, which took up a large portion of this issue, was enjoyable to read. It was well paced and brutal, with each artist giving a great a sense of motion and flow to the action.
Two big things from the last issue come into play here. Firstly Casey makes use of the pick that Calvin passed to her before his mission to Santa Prisca, which the Butcher reveals was intended as a suicide mission, and makes her escape from the Court of Owls. Secondly she’d used a receiver hidden in her tooth to send messages to Edgar, Joey, and Anya. I’d thought she was sending them to help rescue her but it turns out they were actually sent to back up Calvin. That was a pleasant surprise and I’m glad to see them back in this book. This is a book that I think can benefit from having a bigger and more defined cast of characters so I hope the three of them are around for some time.
Bane, who has undergone another outfit change, continues to prepare for his war against Gotham City. He’s used Sebastian Clark as a means to finance his army and refuses to let anything get in the way of his mission. He has his men board their ships, and heads off to take care of one last obstacle before setting sail for Gotham.
This issue could have benefited greatly from some inner monologues on Calvin’s behalf. There wasn’t a single line of internal dialogue from Calvin this issue. What always tethered me to Calvin as a character was how he reacted to things, what he’s thinking and how he feels about what’s going on around him, and without that I had a very hard time being engaged by this issue.
The art was also a hit or miss this issue. Each artist had some beautiful pages or panels, but some were very lacking. I enjoyed Michael Sepulveda’s art in his previous issues but felt that some panels were too messy and that a couple had small issues with perspective while Syzmon Kudranski had some very visually striking panels while others were very bare.
The biggest problem that this issue had was that it failed to engage or connect with the reader, who was treated as a third-party spectator as opposed to being in the head of the protagonist. This style of storytelling created an uncomfortable disconnect. The most successful scenes concerned Casey Washington. That’s not to say this was a bad issue. While others may enjoy this issue more, I found Talon #10 underwhelming. Hopefully next month’s issue will be more engaging and, with luck, showcase the big rematch between Calvin Rose and Bane.