Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Talon 3, originally released January 2, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: Trust is both extremely hard to gain and to easy to lose. One can work for years to gain the trust of another simply to lose it all in a single encounter. The main characters of Talon, Calvin and Sebastian, have both been put in a position where they need to build trust between one another. In the world they live in, dealing with the enemies they deal with, that can be a very hard thing to do. It’s funny then that series writer James Tynion IV also finds himself in the position of building a trust with his audience. Getting new comic book characters to catch on with audiences is tough, especially considering all of the well-established characters that are out there. Convincing your audience that you have an interesting character with a story worth telling is essential for the success of said characters. Even having Scott Snyder (who is, admittedly, very hot right now) on board with a story credit doesn’t guarantee success, so it’s important that Tynion quickly builds trust with his audience and convinces them to stick around for the long haul. As for myself, I’m not sure if Tynion has convinced me quite yet, but this issue certainly goes in the right direction.
The issue begins six years ago in New York City, where Calvin explains to Casey Washington that he intends to leave the city in order to protect Casey and her daughter Sarah. Calvin is sure that an evil Talon knows where he is and he wants to lead him away from Casey. Casey protests, saying that they should fight the Talon, but eventually relents. It’s implied that Calvin and Casey were involved for over a year and that they were doing something to work against the Court. In the present day, we find Calvin back in New York for various reasons. Calvin wants check on Casey and Sarah, but Sebastian wants Calvin to rob Hudson Financial, a bank the Court uses for funding.
Against Sebastian’s objections, Calvin has set up a meeting with Casey on the Brooklyn Bridge when he is attacked and knocked out. He awakens in front of two toughs who turn out to be working for Casey. Since Calvin left, she’s been building up quite the resistance against the Court, helping innocent people escape their evil clutches and gathering the best covert operatives from various organizations, including the League of Assassins, along the way. Calvin wants her to leave, knowing that the Court knows her location and fearing that it will stop at nothing to get retribution for his actions against them, but Casey refuses. She wants to prove to Calvin just how strong they’ve become by helping him and Sebastian rob Hudson Financial. In exchange, Sebastian will fund Casey’s organization with the stolen funds. Calvin sneaks into the bank while Casey’s team creates a distraction that allows Calvin and Sebastian the access they need to begin one hell of a funds transfer. Calvin begins to escape through the window when he’s suddenly stopped by one of the most intimidating Talons to date, Felix Harmon AKA “The Gotham Butcher.”
So, Calvin and Sebastian still aren’t quite on the same page with the whole “let’s take out the Court of Owls” thing. While it’s important to both characters that the Court be taken out, Calvin has a living, breathing stake in things with Casey and Sarah. With that, his immediate goal is to ensure their protection. On the other hand, Sebastian has already lost everyone he cared about, making his immediate goal the eradication of the Court. This is causing a clear divide between the characters and is hindering their trust quite a bit. Calvin also seems to have lost some of the trust with Casey since he left her on her own. Unless of course, she just has a funny way of showing trust.
While it’s clear that Casey no longer trusts Calvin as she once did, she is still willing to work with him and even wants to earn his trust by helping him rob the bank. Which, incidentally, is my favorite part of this issue. I really enjoyed seeing what Casey has gotten up to these past few years. It’s pretty incredible to see all that she’s accomplished and the company that she’s gathered. I love the idea that she’s rescued people from such groups as the League of Assassins and that is probably just the beginning! The concept of an organization whose sole purpose is helping to rescue from evil groups like the League is extremely promising and could very well be a book of its very own. I only hope that Casey and her crew continue to be an ongoing part of Talon.
Guillem March continues to illustrate in his unique style. I’m still not quite sure where to pin him. While some characters are drawn fairly realistically, like Calvin, others look more like cartoons, like this guy.
While it does make for some fun diversity, it can be a bit of a distraction. One thing is for sure though, March definitely has his own style that is easy to follow and full of detail. Take a look at the following panel.
Is that dude reading Jughead?!? I’m not sure, but I love that it’s there! He could have easily drawn some colored squares to show that it was some kind of magazine or something, but instead he went the extra mile and gave us a comic within a comic! Similarly, take a look at this.
That’s a PAINTED CEILING. March could have easily just made that a regular old white ceiling but he chose to go the extra mile instead. While I may not be the biggest fan of all of his character designs, his overall style and attention to detail is really growing on me.
All in all, I think this book is doing the right things. I’m starting to trust Tynion’s ability more and more with each issue and with the introduction of Casey Washington’s “anti-evil organization organization,” I’m really starting to get on board with this book in ways I may not have been before. So Drew, how about you? I’m really starting to enjoy the various elements of this book like Casey’s group (boy, do they need a name). Is your interest in this book growing too?
Drew: The thing that fascinates me the most about this series is the difficulty I have pinning it down. Is it going to be about a former Talon on the run from the Court? Will it be a two-against-the-world buddy drama? Will it be a jet-setting case-of-the-week procedural about taking the Court down? Each issue, I think we’ve settled into exactly what the series is going to be, but Snyder and Tynion keep pulling the rug out from under me. This issue alone cycles through spy novel intrigue, Ocean’s-style high-tech heist, and monster movie, but I no longer suspect any of those to be the status quo for this title.
I personally find the “not knowing what each new installment will bring” paradigm to be thrilling, but I know it’s not for everyone (hence the low ratings for Community). I suspect that this is simply part of the series finding its legs, and that things will start to solidify (hopefully incorporating all of these elements into its DNA), which is kind of exciting in its own right. Then again, I remember saying the same thing about Green Lantern: New Guardians, and that series still hasn’t settled into any kind of formula.
I enjoyed your thoughts on trust, Mik, but I think Tynion is aiming for something even subtler here. It’s not that Casey doesn’t trust Calvin — I don’t think she would want to be part of his plan if she didn’t — but that she resents him for leaving. Or maybe (inelegantly): she trusts him with her head but not her heart. Their disagreement over his leaving is interesting — he’s ostensibly doing it to protect them, but she’s convinced they can weather the storm together. It’s not entirely clear that she hasn’t been the target of the Court since then, or if she would have been if Calvin had stayed, but it does seem like she’s equipped to take care of herself.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is the first suggestion we’ve gotten that Casey was more to Calvin than the person he decided to save from the Court, right? I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this development. Don’t get me wrong — I like that Calvin has reason to come back to New York and interact with the crack team Casey has put together — I’m just not sure this personal touch makes Calvin a more sympathetic character. It’s a weird objection, because I’m generally a fan of these more personal connections, but since I was already on board with the idea of “Calvin taking down the Court for the sake of saving people,” the addition of “…people he CARES ABOUT” actually makes his mission less heroic.
But is Calvin a hero? With only four issues, we’re still learning his motivations, let alone how he handles profound moral dilemmas. It may be a while before I’ll really recognize something as feeling more or less like what Calvin would do. In that light, bringing in more people (and more people with a personal connection to Calvin) is a great idea — we can only learn so much about his character through interactions with other Talons and Sebastian. I certainly hope Casey and her covert squad are permanent additions.
I’m with you Mik, I’m not sure I’m a die-hard fan just yet, but I totally agree that this series has a lot of promise. That’s not the most conclusive sentiment, so I’ll just point out how huge the Gotham Butcher must be. Even if Calvin is somehow super short, this guy is clearly coming at about eight feet tall, right?
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