Sebastian Clarke’s plan moves into action, John Wycliffe returns, the fate of Sarah Washington is revealed, and Calvin Rose comes face to face with the Gotham Butcher once more!
James Tynion IV really hit it out of the park with Talon #13. For more than a few issues now, we’ve been worried about the fate of Casey Washington’s daughter, Sarah, as The Court of Owls attempt to brainwash her. While we’ve only managed to see this in short glimpses here and there, this issue has a larger focus on the effects it’s having on her and it’s downright unsettling. Sarah’s brainwashing is chilling and will leave some readers shaken in juxtaposition to the optimism and hope that Casey holds onto. Casey has largely been the emotional crux of this series and Tynion does a marvelous job of making her relatable. This same connection leaves the reader with a feeling of hope that is slowly tainted and pulled away the more you see Sarah. The young girl is so far gone in many respects that it makes you wonder that if they save her, will she ever be the same (or can she be saved at all)?
The plot gets moving as multiple strands and threads clash in a mix of action, plot, and intrigue for what may be Talon’s best issue so far. Sebastian Clarke is putting his plan into action, and that means coming face to face with Court Grandmaster John Wycliffe while Calvin Rose and The Gotham Butcher fight once more. This series has been building up specifically to this point and it’s starting to pay off in full. While Tynion added and built upon Scott Snyder’s Court of Owls mythology, he’s done as much to define it as Snyder did in Batman. It’s only fitting that Tynion returns to familiar ground and makes several callbacks to both “The Court of Owls” arc and earlier issues of Talon, deeply rooting this issue in the mythology as the series begins to come full circle.
Amidst the action and chaos, Tynion still manages to find the quiet moments. The scenes with Calvin Rose and Casey Washington are heartwarming and feel so genuine. Anya, Joey, and Edgar stuck around for this issue, and their interactions with Calvin and Casey were great. Tynion still hasn’t given us much information about any of them other than a few small tidbits, but they still manage to be interesting, likable, and full of character. You get the feeling this group is forming a sort of rag-tag family, and the way that Casey (who gets a prosthetic arm that’s more awesome than you can imagine) and the crew rush in to help Calvin reinforces that. Tynion’s dialogue and character interactions are always a highlight. His characterization of the entire cast (that he really makes feel alive) is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the series.
The art in Talon #13 is a lot better than the last issue. Emanuel Simeoni does a terrific job and his shots of Amusement Mile and The Orchard Hotel are well done.
There’s a nice little shout out to Dick Grayson that will hopefully be followed up on in future issues. The connection that both Calvin Rose and Grayson have to Haley’s Circus, as well as their many similarities, is something that has too much potential to pass up.
None! This was pretty much a perfect issue.
There’s no doubt that Tynion is a good writer but here he shows the glimpses of a great one. He gets the mix of action, plot, and character just right to deliver an incredible and compelling issue that just may be his best work so far. Talon #13 pays off for long-time readers with a thoroughly captivating read that will leave you more excited for the next issue than anything else released this week.