Batgirl Annual: Thoughts on the Talon
I don’t know what to think of the Talon Mary in the Batgirl Annual. Her voiceless assassin shtick reminds me too much of Cassandra Cain. It’s as if Gail Simone had wanted to use Cass but editorial rejected her. It is upsetting to see this reminder of DC editorial’s refusal to let writers use some of their amazing characters such as Waly West, Stephanie Brown and the aforementioned Cass.
Mary is one of my darlings, one of my many beloved minor characters who I probably think about more than their creators do, so speaking as one of her few (read: likely only) fangirls, my two cents:
There are definitely some similarities, in the silence and the martial art skills, but I’d wouldn’t say they’re interchangeable. Main points to support this argument:
- Cass ‘spoke’ body language and didn’t understand any spoken language until the magic brain reboot in canon. Mary was fluent in English, and from what little evidence canon gives us, is at least semi-literate. Prior to the bombing, was very likely totally capable of speech. It was only the physical disfigurement from it that stopped her.
- She has some qualms about killing, based on her actions. But not Cass’ bone-deep revulsion towards it, if her actions during NotO are any indication.
- Cass is a martial artist first, when everything else is gone. Mary is…any number of things, unexplored in canon, likely a daughter among them, but at very least an aerialist before she is a martial artist.
Mary’s got her own history, skill set, and traumas, that are unique from Cass’ own.
(I was really rather irritated by the annual, as an aside. Up until the flashback to Mary as a child, she was so pale in it I thought they’d ret-conned her as white. Plus I feel like they made her more childish/animalistic in her second appearance than she was in her first. Which has a hell of a lot of unfortunate implications.
And on a strictly aesthetic level, I think they totally mishandled how her facial scarring was presented. She had an airborne bomb go off near her face, that’s going to cause more damage than the scarring they showed.
I’m not happy with what they did with Babs or Selina either, but Mary is one of my babies, and I am ridiculously protective of her for how minor a character she is.)