Robot 6

The importance of Talon, the New 52’s first new, non-legacy title

Although we’ve seen many new titles in DC Comics’ New 52, there really haven’t been new characters. Sure, we’ve been introduced to new versions of old favorites or new additions to larger, historic franchises, when you’re talking about wholly new concepts, with no years of built-up awareness, then the New 52’s titles are rather … old. That is, until September’s Talon series.

Talon spirals out of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman story arc “Night of the Owls,” in which Bruce Wayne discovers a centuries-old secret society named the Court of the Owls has been operating under his nose. The new series follows Calvin Rose, a member who goes rogue and tries to stay one step ahead of the organization. This isn’t a new character carrying the legacy prefix of Bat-something, Super-something or continuing the legacy of an entrenched hero like Green Lantern; Talon is a new character, cut from a new cloth. And that’s important.

DC and Marvel have been chided (and rightfully so) by fans and pundits for their inability to create new characters with new titles to join established stalwarts like Spider-Man and Batman. But just as Hollywood studios find it easier to produce sequels and retreads, the superhero universes of DC and Marvel create new feature characters largely by riding on the coattails of established ones. What would Daken or X-23 if they weren’t the children of Wolverine? Would Batwoman have as much impact if she didn’t share the Bat-emblem? And just look at the recent switch-up of Thunderbolts to Dark Avengers, to better align itself with the more recognized “Avengers” mantle.

And while Talon isn’t completely new, as he springs out of an organization introduced in recent Batman comics, he’s by far the closest thing to new DC or Marvel’s superhero universes have seen in some time. Let’s see how it works.

News From Our Partners

Comments

17 Comments

Why would creators make something completely new if DC or Marvel is just going to end up owning and profiting off it?

this issue will be done by issue #10

Sorry but this is a spin-off of Batman and a rather obvious reworking of Azrael – there’s nothing new going on here.

“Sorry but this is a spin-off of Batman and a rather obvious reworking of Azrael – there’s nothing new going on here.”

Ssh!

They thought no one would notice!

Certainly having Snyder as part of the creative team can’t hurt. But the premise of the Talons played itself out fast. He and Tynion have their work cut out to make this one exciting.

Still, I hope it takes off.

@Pcabezuelo: didn’t notice at first but you’re right. Ancient order of assassins, taking up the mantle, going rogue, hits all the beats, and rather than being marginally related to the Bat-universe, these Talons are actually (like the movement of Thunderbolts to Dark Avengers) much closer.

The name is actually legacy too.

The last Talon running around the DCU was the one who joined the Teen Titans during the “One Year Later” gap. He looked like Robin and was revealed to be the sidekick of Owlman on Earth-3. So not only did Court of Owls give the Nu52 a Thomas Wayne Jr as Owlman, it also recreated Talon.

And the person under the mask is Dick Grayson’s great-grandfather.

Once you start looking at it, there’s really nothing new here. This is not a critique of the comic that I haven’t seen yet, but so far everything has been seen before. It’s harder to say “Talon isn’t completely new” than it is to say “Talon isn’t completely a remake.”

@ Adam Tartar Actually this Talon is named Calvin Rose not William Cobb. Cobb is in cryogenic with the rest of the captured Talons.

Jake Earlewine

August 1, 2012 at 2:59 pm

A character named Talon! Yeesh! Maybe next they’ll give us a character named Toe-Nail or Finger-nail!

However, I do applaud anytime DC or Marvel tries to come up with something new, instead of putting retreads on an old character.

My problem with this whole “Court of Owls” concept is that it makes Batman look like a freaking dummy. Bats is supposed to be one of the cleverest guys in the whole DC universe, yet he’s not bright enough to know this Court of Owls has supposedly been operating in Gotham for hundreds of years? Puh-lease!

This reminds me of Ennis’ Hitman #5. “Enter Nightfist! He will punch you with his fist!”

Yes, he’s even bursting out of a Batman cover, for heaven’s sake.

Fans complain that DC and Marvel don’t produce new quality characters. DC and Marvel complain that when they do, fans never buy the title. Fans then subsequently complain that the character wasn’t quality.

But sometimes, you gotta let the title keep going in order to smooth out the wrinkles. Not every superhero was a masterpiece right out of the gate. Some take time to develop and turn into quality characters. It’s a shame that the current assembly line model doesn’t allow for the possibility of taking risks, even if it pays off in the long run. Because the short term profits are always more important to the shareholders than anything else.

What I don’t understand is why they don’t take the opportunity to introduce new characters in the huge events they’re doing. Wouldn’t it generate interest to have a very important character introduced in AvX with a solo book after? But then you’d have to treat the event as a real story and not just fights setting the stage for a new stat quo…

They don’t introduce new or interesting characters because… Who in their right mind would be stupid enough to give up a great original character to work for hire anymore? Instead you get lame analogs of existing characters or lame legacy grandchildren of dead existing characters. If nothing else Kirby, Moore and all the other forefathers of comics taught us one thing ‘Want to own this character? Take the risk and publish it yourself or take the paycheck now and let go of the character.” I don’t want to create the billion dollar franchise for a crap page rate. So I stead “Hello Crazy Quilt’s Granddaughter, Ms. Insane Poncho! Instead of a hyno helmet, she has breasts and a gun! Franchise Hooooooooooo!

At least give the title a chance before completely writing the series off before it even has a chance to truly begin.It has a lot going for it,top of the list is Scott Snyder writing it.I will absolutely check out the Zero issue to see what I think about it.

There are no new characters. All the powers and background stories have been told. DCs idea of new is to make Alan Scott gay. That’s just, well, gay. I honestly have not seen much originality since Booster Gold, and that was about the characters motivation more than powers or backstory. I’ll give Talon a look and hope for the best, but 10 issues is my guess, too.

” They don’t introduce new or interesting characters because… Who in their right mind would be stupid enough to give up a great original character to work for hire anymore? ”

And therein lies the problem — first of all is the assumption that it’s going to be a ‘great’ character that’s going to spawn a multibillion dollar sub-empire. Really? Marvel and DC both have thousands of characters, only a minute fraction of which are really worth much outside of their storytelling value. If these creators really had the super-awesome-genius-next Spider-Man or Batman . . . why aren’t they over at Image or Dark Horse doing that character as a creator-owned book and rolling around naked in huge piles of money while waiting for the limo to come pick them up for the premiere of their $100 million blockbuster film? Did they forget where they buried their idea notebook or sketchbook in the back yard so no evil idea pirates would steal it?

The second fallacy is that the writers and artists have a great deal of say over what they get to do. Editorial has a lot of control over what content we see, and that goes up the food chain beyond the comics publishing arm. It’s also hard to find time to introduce new characters and develop them when you’re in an endless cycle of aftermath of previous event, set up next event, event, repeat ad naseum.

That’s kind of simplifying it, and I’m sure the truth is somewhere in between: creators are too willing to toe the company line and probably do have that ego in the back of their head of not ‘giving up’ a character, and editors are too worried about milking every last drop out of the existing line-up. I just get tired of the implications from editors that “we’re only doing events because you guys want them” or ” we tried this new thing and it failed and we’re blaming that on you as readers instead of looking at the material and saying, okay, maybe that wasn’t the best idea in the first place”.

The Big Two were a lot more fun when writers came up with their own ideas opposed to editors or ‘chief creative officers’. It’s funny how everyone goes on about how past creators have gotten shafted but the current ones have willingly let themselves be placed in conditions where they have very little say or power, and really are just cogs in the machine that get swapped in and out (unless you’re carrying a title like co-publisher) — at least there was a time when superstars did act a bit diva-ish and if you pissed off someone like Miller or Byrne they’d quit, and that was a big deal, because people were buying the book because of their work, not just the character.

Leave a Comment

 


Browse the Robot 6 Archives