Story by JAMES TYNION IV/Art by MIGUEL SEPULVEDA and SZYMON KUDRANSKI/Colors by JEREMY COX/Letters by DEZI SIENTY/ Published by DC Comics
It is a special feeling to sit down with an issue of any comic book and feel so completely wrapped up in each character, whether primary or secondary, that a satisfied sigh escapes your lips. Riding that satisfied feeling, you feel compelled to flip back to the beginning and experience it all again. James Tynion IV and his artistic team achieve this in Talon #10 as Calvin Rose infiltrates Bane’s Santa Prisca compound.
For several issues, Calvin Rose has been on an emotional roller coaster. He’s lost the people he cares for to the Court of Owls and been forced to become a Talon again. On top of that, the Court has forced him to stop Bane in his attempt to wipe out the Court of Owls and take over Gotham City. In this issue, Tynion mixes action, suspense, and violence to bring the story to an emotional boiling point.
The cover drawn by Migul Sepulveda and Rain Beredo sets the tone for the issue with its sinister image of Bane holding a blood splattered owl mask. The detail and shadowing used to portray Bane instills a sense of power that foreshadows the brutality within the issue.
Tynion’s development of Casey and Sarah Washington’s interrogation and torture at the hands of the Court of Owls lends a clear sense of horror to the comic. The dialogue between Casey and the massive Butcher brings a horror element into the story like a slow tide. The best horror movies play on a victim’s grasp on hope of survival. As the Butcher circles a tied up and beaten Casey, he taunts her with that fleeting sense of hope. “Oh, yes…but if your boyfriend survives this little suicide mission in Santa Prisca, I wouldn’t be able to slit your throat right in front of him,” goads the Butcher. Casey then tries to remind him that the Court had promised her survival in a previous issue. To this the Butcher responds, “They say all sorts of things, Casey. Don’t you see that now? This is where your story ends.” This leaves the reader feeling unsettled as Tynion transitions to the main storyline.
While there is a lot going on individually with the Court of Owls and Bane in this issue, it is Calvin’s infiltration into Santa Prisca that takes center stage. Tynion builds a world, much like the island of Dr. Moreau, with animal hybrid warriors protecting Bane from Calvin. While the central premise of the issue may be all-out combat, Tynion adeptly advances the continuing emotional turmoil that Calvin feels towards becoming a reanimated Talon. Calvin pushes his limits against the beast soldiers in Bane’s army just to keep his captive friends alive. This ties perfectly back into the suspense of the Butcher’s dialogue with Casey to slowly build up the conflict between Calvin and the Court.
Sepulveda’s and Kudranski’s art combined with Cox’s coloring provides an atmospheric compliment to each story thread within the book. Everything from the Butcher’s massive size, muscle definition, and Joker-like smile to Calvin’s pallid skin tone continually reminds the reader the Court of Owls, the Talons, and Bane are three of the most cruel and violent enemies in the DC Universe.
It isn’t often the lettering in an issue makes a noticeable difference in the success of a story line, but Dezi Sienty creates a clear tone for several characters through his renderings of the dialogue. This is most noticeable with the Butcher, the Talons, and Calvin. While all of these characters dialogue is presented in white on a black background, there are slight differences in the style of lettering. For the Butcher each letter is ragged and sharp, which imparts his tendencies for violence. The Talons have lettering that is similar to that of the Butcher, however, it is more diminutive. Calvin’s dialogue is presented in a manner that is closer to that of the humans—simple block style lettering—yet it is still otherworldly.
From the suspense and emotion presented in the dialogue, to the attractive, atmospheric art and lettering, in issue #10 Talon is quickly becoming a comic book that deserves to be appreciated and enjoyed.