REVIEW: “Talon” #13

(DC Comics, 2013)

Review by Shawn Warner

Written by James Tynion IV
Artwork by Emanuel Simeoni
Color Artwork by Jeromy Cox
Letters by Taylor Esposito

Like most Talon readers I have been having a love/hate relationship with this book for the past few months.  I love the story James Tynion IV told with Scott Snyder back in the beginning but I hate the inconsistency that seems to be plaguing the book of late. Tynion’s narrative has been rambling, convoluted and just plain boring; it feels like he is chasing his own tail trying to recapture the spark that fueled earlier plots. With Tynion leaving the book after next issue it is only logical that he’d want to tie up any significant plot threads left unresolved at this point and that’s what this issue is all about. However he may be valuing closure at any cost over a satisfying and rational ending as he has put lots of elements into play and set threads on a converging trajectory that would feel more coherent given a longer time to resolve.

Talon has become the least new reader friendly title in the New 52 and this issue is no exception, there hasn’t been a jumping on point since the first issue but a conclusion is very near for those of us who have been along for all the thrills and spills. Calvin and Casey continue their frustrating quest to find Sarah who is being manipulated and brainwashed by the Court. Sebastian Clarke struggles to regain control of the Court from Wycliffe while Felix Harmon’s bloodlust for Calvin Rose threatens to boil over. The conflict between Rose and The Butcher is a definite highlight of this issue and while the art of Emanuel Simeoni has been pretty mediocre at best he has put together his best issue yet with this fight scene one of the better moments artistically. His portrayal of The Butcher as a gargantuan monster works quite well but his size seems to fluctuate from panel to panel creating a disturbing inconsistent effect. However, all things considered this is definitely Simeoni’s crowning issue on this title.

Tynion runs into some trouble with the accelerated pace of his narrative in this issue especially where Sarah is concerned. Her speedy journey from missing her mommy to blood-thirsty would-be killer is just a little too much to be believable and yes, I know this is a comic book but there has to be some sense of credible human behavior. Perhaps in his haste to bring resolution Tynion forsook practicality in favor of alacrity which is understandable when you realize there is another writer waiting in the wings to come on and tinker with your ideas.

Talon #13 is far from perfect but it is an improvement over past missteps, it goes a long way to bring some sense of fulfillment and completion to the narrative that we have been invested in for thirteen issues. Writer James Tynion IV is doing his best to exit on a high note and to be loyal to the characters that have populated the pages of this book for better or for worse for over a year now. There are lots of questions needing answers but I would rather have some of them left up in the air for future writers to contend with (if the book is not cancelled) than to have Tynion sacrifice a solid conclusion.

I would love to see this title go on to garner critical acclaim and reach a large readership because I believe in these characters but the way DC swings the axe I don’t think that is a likely outcome. This issue restored my hope (3/5) however I’m afraid it may be too little, too late. I do recommend picking up the trades and reading the whole story of Calvin Rose and The Court from the beginning, it’s a good read full of intrigue and excitement. So until next time, see you at the comic book store.

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Follow Shawn Warner on Twitter:  @shawnwarner629

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