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To celebrate the release of a certain thunder god’s movie this weekend, Thor’s Day graduates to a daily feature this week only! Enjoy the next five days of 80s superhero goodness!
After a fill-in artist at work last issue, Walt Simonson was clearly still behind on his schedule as Mighty Thor 356 features an entire filler issue by Bob Harras and Jackson Guice. It wasn’t like the publisher tried to hide the fact either as the Bob Layton/Jackson Guice cover even had Hercules declaring Walt Simonson “on vacation”.
When DC announced that they’d be re-launching their entire comic book line with new number ones and a fresh ‘updated’ look and feel for the characters not everyone was happy. There are still plenty of people who are not happy. A lot of people would tell you that they liked the DCU just the way it was and didn’t want to see it change. Others would tell you that they were enjoying what was happening with their favorite character at that moment and worried what might happen with them in a re-launch. Still others would tell you that they feared that their favorite(s) might not even get a book in the relaunch.
Many worried about the fate of Wally West, Cassandra Cain, The Green Lanterns (Which would be the primary), and Barbara Gordon (once it was stated that she’d be Batgirl again). Jean Paul Valley is not a character we hear a lot about in the relaunched new52 DC. He hasn’t even made a guest appearance or shown up as a supporting character to the best of my knowledge. That’s a shame.
If you don’t know Jean Paul was once Batman. Bane broke Bruce Wayne’s back and Bruce pulled a fast one on everyone. Instead of asking Dick Grayson to fill in form him Bruce asked Jean Paul Valley, Azrael to stand in with the cape and cowl. Jean Paul was a reformed assassin who had killed for the Order of St. Dumas. More than just killed Jean Paul was conditioned to follow orders and kill. Kill well through genetic modification and extreme mental conditioning from birth. Before he could be fully activated by the Order however Jean Paul struck out on his own and Batman took him under his wing the way he does (or did back in the day).
With the Court of Owls storyline I see the perfect opportunity to re-introduce Jean Paul into the new52. The Court of Owls, a secret organization devoted to controlling Gotham City by keeping those with power in line, produce conditioned assassins called Talons to do their bidding. The Talons are picked up at an early age and developed, both mentally and physically, into the perfect killing machines. What’s more, they seem to be “long lived” as a tad zombie-fied and extremely hard to kill. The Talons have recently declared war on the Bat and his birds all over Gotham. Batman has proven his ability to shut down the internal system of a Talon.
Who knows how many splinter factions of the Court of Owls are out there, the clandestine organization is centuries old….