Did Casey Washington survive her injuries suffered at the hands of the Gotham Butcher? Batman and Calvin Rose team-up to take down the Court of Owls; how long can their alliance last? And the secret history of the Gotham Butcher is revealed!
The past several issues of Talon have been plagued by inconsistent art that was often detrimental to James Tynion IV’s writing. Talon #12 manages to break that streak as artist Emanuel Simeoni joins the book. His art is moody and atmospheric, really shining alongside Tynion’s writing in the darker scenes with the Gotham Butcher. This issue also has what I think is some of Tynion’s best writing on the title. His exposition during the scenes with the Gotham Butcher is incredibly compelling and coupled with Simeoni’s art they manage to create some striking scenes.
Talon #12 takes place shortly after the previous issue with Calvin Rose and his allies back in Gotham City. Rose and Batman head to the Court of Owls base where Calvin was resurrected by Court Grandmaster Jean Wycliffe in Talon #9. After coming up short (aside from a message from the Gotham Butcher written on the wall in blood) they head back to Wayne Enterprises to check up on Casey Washington. Their team-up is short lived, however, because Batman doesn’t completely trust Calvin Rose and, due to his previous experiences with the Court of Owls and their Talons, he has good reason.
Last issue, Casey’s right arm was crushed during another savage beating by the Gotham Butcher; one that may have taken her life had Batman not shown up. Bats brings her to Wayne Enterprises where Lucius Fox—a friend of Casey’s father and Batman franchise mainstay—has to amputate her arm. Casey, who is in good spirits despite her injuries, manages to be more focused than Calvin and refuses to allow him to sulk or lose sight of their primary goal, to rescue Casey’s daughter from The Court of Owls.
Casey is a strong character. She’s resilient and constantly claws her way back up from the bottom each time she’s knocked down. She’s a character that’s easy to latch onto and root for. The dialogue exchanges between Casey and Lucius are quite enjoyable, and it would be interesting to see what sorts of things Casey could create with Wayne Enterprises resources. Although the focus often shifts back to Calvin Rose, Talon should spend more time on the team/ensemble dynamic because that’s where this series often tends to shine the most.
Despite his heavy presence in this issue, we haven’t really learned much about the Gotham Butcher. His backstory and history have potential from the small glimpses we’ve read. After all it’s not every day someone gets a moniker like the ‘Gotham Butcher’. Tynion gives a great explanation of the Butcher’s past and present interspersed throughout the issue. The present-day segments offer some big developments for the Butcher, while the flashbacks helped to flesh out his backstory, showing us more of his fabled bloodlust and even how he got his name.
While Simeon’s art is good, there are a few minor problems. Some pages had perspective issues, while faces often looked odd. Neither of these are severe issues, but the art simply looked odd at times.
Tertiary characters Anya, Joey, and Edgar are sort of being wasted. We haven’t learned very much about them, but the little we’ve learned has been surprisingly fun. These characters are interesting and I want to know more about them, but they keep ending up in the background instead of being fleshed out.
This issue was also somewhat difficult to place, timeline-wise. The beginning and middle of this issue must have taken place after Talon #11, during the middle of Villain Month issue Batman #23.4: Bane, but before “Trinity War”. The ending though would have to take place after Batman #23.4: Bane and Forever Evil #1 because [spoiler] Sebastian Clark, who was seemingly killed in the last issue, says he travelled from Santa Prisca to Gotham as a stowaway in one of Bane’s boats. [/spoiler] There isn’t really any indication given as to the timeline change. Most readers wont have a problem here, but if you’re obsessed with trying to figure out the timelines it will make you wonder where Talon fits into the greater DCnU.
After a couple of shaky issues, Talon rebounds strong. This was a transitional issue, tying off some loose threads from the previous month, setting the scene for the next few issues, and deepening the mythology of the Court of Owls.