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Talent #4

Posted: Tuesday, December 5, 2006
By: Steven G. Saunders



Writers: Christopher Golden & Tom Sniegoski
Artists: Paul Azaceta, Ron Riley (colours)

Publisher: Boom! Studios


So this is the comic Iíve been hearing people rave about. You know, I kind of hate it when I hear loads of great things about a book and it fails to deliver in the manner expected. Iím not saying Talent is a bad series. Oh, no. No way. Itís pretty good, actually. Itís just not as awesome as many people say it is. At least, thatís how I feel about itÖ

I havenít read the first issue, but I read issues #2, #3 and #4 one after another (this way I donít look like a complete idiot if I screw something upÖ yeah, yeah, real funny). The plot itself is pretty damn cool; and, if I dare say, original. Nicholas Dane is a passenger on a flight that explodes. He survives and ends up in the hospital (once again, I didnít read the first issue; correct me if Iím wrong). A couple of guys attempt to whack Dane while heís trying to figure out how the hell he survived. Said guys get their asses kicked by this rather unassuming fellow, who has no prior knowledge of fighting. This, of course, is strange. Later, Dane is labelled a terrorist (because he survives a plane exploding in midairÖ personally, Iíd be inclined to label him a circus freak, but thatís just me). Nicolas Dane runs, probably because heís afraid of going to Gitmo or the Negative Zone or something. Canít say I blame him. What?

Anyways, Mr. Dane begins to discover that he has memories that arenít his and that he can do stuff he was unable to do before. ďInteresting,Ē was my first thought. Various characters are brought into the mix as itís revealed that Dane is harbouring the talents and last wishes of those who perished in the plane crash. He also discovers that someone (a flight attendant, presumably) is talking to him, telling him thatís heís supposed to be an agent for ďthe Balance.Ē Along the way, some folks start hunting him, including a cute sociopathic couple by the name of Payne & Abel. That pretty much brings us to issue #4. I donít want to get too detailed, as you may not have read this issue.

Now, I want to take a few seconds to go over some things. First off, for those of you who gripe about ďdecompressionĒ and how itís ruining comics, then Talent is for you! Talk about compression. Yeesh. Sometimes there are so many words in a panel/ on a page that the picture(s) become merely incidental. Not that Iím complaining, because I really disliked the art. Not my bag, really. Itís too simple for me; not that I mind simple & very basic illustrationsÖ I just guess I was expecting something a bit better (or more alluring, maybe). I suppose it could have been worse; I mean, I donít feel the art detracts from the excellent story in any way, but the lines are thick, the colours light and forgettable, the characters are hardly noticeable in any way and basically... well, I canít remember. I didnít hate the illustrations, if thatís any consolation. I think they were going for a certain style here (ďold lookĒ?) and it didnít really jive with me. No worries, though, as many of you may really like it. In addition to all that, I was left feeling this should have been spread out over at least six issues. Itís not just the whole ďcompression vs. decompressionĒ bullshit, either. I just wanted to see the story play out over a longer period of time. Of course, Iím sure thereís some good reason why Talentís first run was four issues. My guess is that itís a budgetary thing.

Okay, so with all that noise aside, Talent #4 is quite fun and satisfying if youíve been following the series. We get more insight into the cabal of Cardinals that pursue Dane, discover some things about the two agents hunting him, and Krause continues to be a really cool villain. Nicolas Dane manages to tie up some loose ends for his ďmemoriesĒ: he finds out just how much of a balancing force he really is, and in the end we are left with an opening to more of his adventures. All in all, a great closing issue, technical gripes aside.

This title has a great story, and I certainly hope they do more with it. I know it says ďThe EndĒ on the last panel of the final page, but more with this storyline would be great. Also, though I felt the ending was good, it did leave a lot of elements to be explored in the future with Dane, Payne & Abel, the Cardinals, the ďbalanceĒ and so on. Overall, I think this is a terrific story marred by some technical problems and ho-hum art (but, like I said, thatís just my opinion; I try not to let it detract form the overall score too much). I donít think this is the ďgreatest thing EVERĒ like Iíve heard some people say, but I still recommend it, especially if one is in the mood for a good adventure tale with a supernatural twist. A lot of things are left unexplained, and so the writers did something right when they made me want to know whatís going to happen next and why. Regardless of how my intro paragraph sounds, I still like Talent quite a bit.

To sum up my ramblings, Talent #4 is a good closer to a mini-series that has a marvellous story and fine characters hindered a bit by some ďover-compression,Ē needing to be a couple more issues, and lacklustre (but not bad, mind you) art. Itís worth a read, if you ask me.



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