It was less than a year after I started collecting comics that Todd McFarlane took over as the primary artist on Amazing Spider-Man. I was a fan of his exaggerated cartoonish drawing style from the get go. Now, I love the more traditional look of Spider-Man developed by artists like John Romita Sr. but when I was a kid I didn’t appreciate the greats like Romita and Kirby the way I should have (I’m still not a big fan of Ditko – I really should check out more of his stuff). Romita’s art style was so synonymous with Spider-Man that to this day I view Romita’s version as the “default” Spider-Man. But when I was a kid Romita and his ilk’s drawing style struck me as old fashioned. When McFarlane came onto the book with his crazy poses, large eyes, and masses of webbing, it felt new and fresh.
I bought all of Todd’s Spidey books and when he left Marvel to start Image Comics I loyally followed him. He put out Spawn issue 1 in 1992. I was there to pick it up the day it came out and I’ve bought every issue since. That’s over 20 years of faithfully buying Spawn every month. I’ve stuck with it through its ups and down. Todd found himself stretched too thin to continue writing, drawing, and inking the book by himself quite early on into the series because he had branched out into other ventures such as starting his toy company. He decided to stop drawing the book. This left some very big shoes to fill. Expectations were high when he handed off the art chores to a relatively unknown artist named Greg Capullo. Most people probably weren’t familiar with Greg at all but I knew him from his work on Marvel’s C-list title, Quasar.
I was sad to see Todd leave Spawn but I appreciated that Capullo seemed to be doing his best Todd McFarlane impression with his pencils. Their similar styles made the transition relatively painless. Capullo stayed on the book for years and his artwork kept improving along the way. When anniversary issues would come out with multiple covers drawn by various artists I would find myself choosing Capullo’s covers over McFarlanes.
Capullo left Spawn in 2004 and in 2011 he took on the high profile gig of re-launching Batman for DC as part of their “New 52” initiative. I like Batman but I’ve never felt compelled to collect his comics. That’s mostly because I grew up strictly a Marvel kid (Spawn was the exception) but I did collect Batman for a couple of years in the early 200s. That was spurred on by superstar artist Jim Lee taking on the role of series artist. After Lee left I lost interest and stopped collecting.
Well here it is some 10 years later and I find myself collecting Batman once again because another superstar artist is tackling the pencils (Scott Snyder’s scripting doesn’t hurt either). Capullo has obviously developed a fan base over the years as DC Direct has launched a whole series of Batman figures based on his artwork, like they’ve done in the past with bigwig artists like Jim Lee, Alex Ross, and Ed McGuinness (That’s McGuinness’s Batman below).
The first wave of Capullo style figures included Batman, Nightwing, Riddler, and a Talon. As much as I like Greg’s art I didn’t feel the need to add another Batman to my collection but I did pick up this Capullo inspired Talon. A Capullo Talon is the only Talon you’re gonna get as it’s a brand new character and this is his first ever figure.
Snyder and Capullo’s initial story arc told the tale of a secret society, the Court of Owls, that ran Gotham City from the shadows. Even Batman wasn’t aware of their existence, though he had heard rumors of them as a child. It may seem a little implausible that The Court could have operated under Batman’s nose all these years, what with him being the world’s greatest detective and all, but Snyder spun a convincing yarn.
The court itself consisted of a bunch of upper crust aristocrats who attended clandestine meetings while dressed in tuxedos and creepy round owl masks to conceal their identities. When they needed some dirty work done they sent their enforcers, the Talons; an army of reanimated super-soldiers in cold storage which are thawed out as needed, kind of like the Winter Soldier.
One of the Talons, Calvin Rose, betrayed the Court and got his own spin-off series for a while where he battled other Talons such as the sadistic Gotham Strangler. When I heard DC Direct was releasing a Talon figure I was hoping for the Calvin Rose version. I read the entire series and was a fan of the character. But as I discovered when images of this figure first hit the net DC Direct had opted for this nameless Talon which was the lead baddie in the main Batman book. I’m still very pleased with this figure but I hope to get a Calvin eventually. I actually like the idea of the Court of Owls so much that I would buy a bunch of these guys and build a small army.
This figure really captures Capullo’s style and yet it’s generic enough that it can be displayed with any other DC figure and not look out of place. I’m very impressed at how well the sculptors managed to translate him from the drawing board into 3 dimensions. He’s got plenty of sculpted details such as belts, blades, and buckles. The base color is a very nice matte black and then there are gold and silver highlights that add a bit of flair. It’s a great looking figure.
He comes with a few different blades for accessories, and even a replica of the white owl mask worn by members of the Court which is a nice touch, but what this dude really needs is a display base. My Talon is constantly falling over and taking all the surrounding figures down with him. I finally gave up and just sat him down on the edge of the shelf.
DC Direct has come a long way in terms of articulation. Their figures used to be stiff as boards but now they have plenty of joints. Unfortunately the joints clearly aren’t stiff enough as my DC Direct Harley Quinn is always toppling over as well.
One last thing I want to mention is the packaging this guy came in. It was a very sleek window box with some Greg Capullo artwork on the side and his name prominently displayed. It looked so nice it was almost a shame to open it. 9 out of 10.