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Comic Book Review: Batman #7 "The Talons Strike!"
In the first six-issue story arc, “The Court Of Owls”, Batman had to discover, and then fight against, an ancient shadowy organization called The Court of Owls. He also had to go up against its deadly assassin, Talon. Batman realizes The Court has been around for centuries and wants to kill him; they see him as a threat to their ancient control of the city, and an enemy of their established order. They capture, drug, and nearly kill him. After brutally defeating Talon, Batman escapes from their underground dungeon deep underneath Gotham City. In the aftermath of his ordeal, he’s damaged and questioning what he really knows about whom and what he is up against, Gotham City and his role as its protector.
In the beginning of issue #7 “The Talons Strike!” Bruce Wayne (Batman) is almost dead. He is thinking about the importance of visions. There are visions that people see before they die. They’re supposes to tell the person the truth about themselves. In his hallucination / vision, he’s sitting in a chair in front of the bat that has crashed through the window, which inspired him to first become the Batman. Bruce says. “Yes, father. I shall become a bat.” (This scene mimics the famous scene in “Batman: Year One”). In this vision, an owl swoops in and kills the bat.
Suddenly, there’s an electrical shock and Batman is brought back to reality. Someone in a welding mask with jumper cables in the back of a van is using a car battery to jumpstart Bruce’s heart. Batman demands to know who it is. She, Harper Row, says, “it’s me.” He recognizes her, but warns her to leave him alone. He runs out of her van and into the snowy night.
Somewhere in Gotham City, at a secret gathering of The Court of Owls, one of their Talons is being resuscitated and resurrected (a ’la Frankenstein’s monster) by The Court members. They are telling him that he has travelled through time to be awakened at this moment; and the time is soon.
Batman is in an underground sewer. He comes to a bolted metal door. Someone with a shotgun behind the door, tells him to identify himself. He replies, “It’s me”. The man with the shotgun is Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred Pennyworth. He is thankful that Bruce/Batman is alive. He was worried that Bruce was dead. He lets Bruce into the Batcave (this was a back way in). Bruce is shocked to see the Talon he fought, tied and secured to an examination table. Alfred informs him that he is dead and he corpse was found floating in the frozen water close to where they found Bruce’s Batsuit’s short homing beacon.
Alfred wants to gets Bruce much needed medical attention, but he doesn’t want it; he wants to examine Talon, now. At The Court Of Owls, two masked members are fitting their new Talon with his ancestral armor and weapons; telling him that the time is close to take back the city from The Court’s enemies.
Back at the Batcave, Dick Grayson (Nightwing) has come to see Bruce. He’s had an exciting time dealing with his own problem with Court of Owls. He wants to know what is going on and Bruce explains (the exchange between the two of them is identical to the scenes in Nightwing #7). Bruce tells him that Talon isn’t actually dead; there is Electrum in every cell of his body that allows him to regenerate and stay alive; essentially making him indestructible and immortal.
This is a medical/scientific process The Court of Owls has been doing to their entire Talon army through the decades. He says that every ten year The Court looks for new members. This one is named William Cobb and he is Dick Grayson’s great-grandfather. Dick was supposed to be the newest Talon, before his parents were killed. He shows him a false metal tooth with an owl insignia on it that he extracted from Cobb. He says that the frozen water slowed down the regeneration process, that’s why Cobb is immobilized. Bruce is keeping him at a low body temperature. So, he’s both dead and alive.
Dick doesn’t take the news about the connection between The Court, Talon/Cobb, and himself, well. He starts yelling at Batman. Bruce punches him and knocks out a metal tooth and shows him that there is the Court Of Owl insignia on it. Dick says it doesn’t matter; just because things aren’t the way Bruce believe they have been, doesn’t mean everything‘s changed. Things don’t have to be a certain way, just because, long ago, someone says so. The Court can be dealt with, they’re not indestructible.
Back at the Court of Owls, the owl-masked members give a motivational speech to an army of Talons while showing pictures of Batman. The enemy (Batman) and his people (the Bat-family) must be stop before they to take back Gotham. One Court member flings open the double doors of a large balcony and tells all the Talons that tonight they take back Gotham. Dozens of Talons fly out into the night to find and defeat Batman and the rest of the Bat-family.
This issue is the epilogue to the six-issue story “The Court of Owls” and a prelude to the upcoming “Night of the Owls” Crossover storyline throughout the Bat-family titles. Like in the first six issues, this issue continues with an engaging story. It’s more informational and moody than action, which just adds to ambience of the tale. The Court of Owls is still creepy, ominous and wickedly fascinating. The Talon was scary, but an army of them is quite frightening. The stakes are higher now. Batman is weary of The Court—frightened even. They have more weapons (Talons) then he realizes and now they have the element of surprise. This great story of the Court of Owls continues and the anticipation of the grander story to come is just as great.
More Comic Book Reviews By Edgar Arkham
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