James Tynion IV, Graham Nolan, Miguel Sepulveda
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
This issue continues the crossover with this month’s (last week’s) Birds of Prey, which was yet another lackluster attempt at keeping boring characters in the spotlight alongside Batgirl. If you missed the first part by Christy Marx, that’s okay because, well, nothing really happened. It was the typical “let’s fight!” followed by the obligatory “let’s team up!” between Calvin and the Birds’ own Talon, Mary Turner. And although it is nice to see some genuine editing, what with the usage of asterisks and editorial notes, which I’ve always loved, this issue is definitely not new reader friendly. At all. There’s references to Birds of Prey, Talon, Batman, and even an obscure one to Detective Comics. That might be asking a lot for a reader who might genuinely be interested in a spin-off character and may not actually read all of the Batman titles like yours truly.
Calvin’s story continues with him and Mary trying to fake out the Court of the Owls, which, of course, will not end well for him. Or her. But this is his story, so we flash immediately to the conversation between him and the Grandmaster, a brief kiss between him and Casey, him being dropped out of Santa Prisca air space, and Casey plotting her escape. This whole thing seems a little rushed, as have issues in the past, and series writer James Tynion IV is really starting to make me think he has pacing problems. Both this title and Red Hood and the Outlaws (also written by Tynion) are really starting to lose their steam, and I think the main reason behind this is the fact that there is no real sense of place throughout both books. It’s almost as if they are written in checklist format, meaning, stuff happens, then more stuff happens, etc. This is okay if it’s a fill-in issue every now and then, but for the whole series? Enough build up already. Give me the actual story!
Overall, gripes aside, this was a slight improvement over last issue. But it’s still missing something. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I know that it will get better. After all, it’s an interesting premise, a new character, and the scene with Bane in this issue was enough for the price on the cover. Not to mention the return of Bane co-creator, Graham Nolan, providing layouts for Miguel Sepulveda’s finishes. I’m just hoping that the risk I’ve been taking by keeping with this book after Scott Snyder’s departure on co-plotting is worth the reward I’m hoping we get with the final battle between Talon and Bane.
My Rating: 3.5/5
I agree – it was good but not great. I was hoping for more of a crossover with the Birds of Prey (which I actually did really enjoy in comparison to many of the previous issues of that series). Instead we got a brief showing of Mary and then… nothing else. It was kind of a letdown for me.
I'm really holding out hope that Tynion gets his act together. Talon and Red Hood should be two of the stronger titles in the Batman line but are falling almost completely flat these last few issues.
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