This may not be the perfect ending for Talon, but it’s the one the characters deserve.
After 15 issues, James Tynion IV’s time on Talon has come to an end and there’s only one way to describe the situation Calvin Rose finds himself in at beginning of Tynion’s swan song: things are dire. Sarah Washington has been brainwashed by the Court of Owls and is so far gone that she’s almost unrecognizable. Calvin has been injected with a serum that will soon kill him, making things look far more grave and permanent for him than ever before. While Calvin has been brought to the brink of death many times before, and even pushed past it, he isn’t the type to give up without a fight. Joined by Casey Washington, Anya, Joey, and Edgar, he musters up whatever strength he has left for one final fight against the Gotham Butcher and miscellaneous Talons to save Sarah and stop the evil Sebastian Clarke.
Casey Washington is a character who strongly relies on her intellect and wit to gain the upper hand. However, she’s found herself so physically outmatched by the Butcher—who has beaten, battered, and tortured her—that she’s had no other choice but to run. She’s escaped his grasp numerous times through sheer willpower and quick thinking alone, much to the chagrin of the Butcher, and most recently when she lost her arm. But after upgrading her new weaponized robotic arm, Casey is no longer running. Their confrontation here is extremely cathartic and it’s great to see Casey bring the fight to the Butcher.
It’s a spectacular and stunning conclusion with some gruesome moments including, but not limited to, dismemberment and decapitation. There’s a panel almost halfway through where Calvin is disfigured in an attempt to stop the Talons that is truly a bit horrifying.
While Tynion’s penultimate issue brought things full circle, tying off and bringing together many long standing plot threads, Talon #14 manages to wrap up all remaining plots thread with a nice and gruesome bow in this powerful and action-packed issue.
Emanuel Simeoni’s art manages to damage this issue as a whole. It’s overly dark, muddy, rushed, and with a tendency to lack any sort of background in most panels. Inconsistency is one of the biggest issues with his art. Sometimes the characters are too static, sometimes the images are too flat with no depth, while bodies and facial expressions are occasionally distorted in a way that that could only be called wonky. While there are some striking and powerful images in Talon #14, his art generally detracts from this issue because all too often, he can’t really convey what was going on. Because of this, many of the more emotional scenes or actions sequences felt weightless.
Although this isn’t the end of Talon (that will be issue 17), it still feels like there’s so much left to be explored. Calvin’s world was rich and full of possibilities and although Tynion explored many of them, there’s still much that could have been done with these characters. Hopefully once Talon ends, the DCU won’t forget about these characters the way they have characters of other cancelled titles.
Many of the original series generated by the New 52 have ended up flying below the radar. Despite being a solid and enjoyable offering, Talon hasn’t garnered as much buzz or recognition as many other titles. While the book may have hit a slump recently, it found its footing again and rebounded even stronger in these last two issues. This hasn’t always been a perfect title, but it’s constantly interesting, with enjoyable characters that could keep you engaged even when the story couldn’t. In the end, it’s about the characters and their journey. As this chapter of their lives closes, a new one opens that is full of optimism and new possibilities for this ragtag group to explore. This may not be the perfect ending for Talon, but it’s the one the characters deserve.