This past Monday, I popped dinner in the oven and flipped on the tube. I was looking to unwind from the daily grind. I did the standard channel surfing game for bit and decided to check out what I had saved on the old DVR.
To my delight, I had an episode of Comic Book Men. I don’t go much for the “reality” shows, but I dig this one—as I’m a fan of Kevin Smith and the View Askewniverse.
This was a really cool episode because it had Katrina Law on it—the actress that plays Nyssa al Ghul on Arrow. She was at the shop buying a copy of BATMAN #232, “Daughter of the Demon.” It’s the first appearance of Ra’s al Ghul—be careful how you pronounce that around some people…it can lead to some serious arguments!
Anyways, Katrina explains that she wanted to get the book to sort of pay homage to her fictional dad on the show and as a cool keepsake for having the opportunity to play Nyssa.
Suuuuch a good looking book…
The Neal Adams and Dick Giordano art makes for a gorgeous cover. Published in 1971, the intentionally grainy image of Ra’s with his arm stretched out and eerie greenish-yellow hue cast about him is so cool. The dramatic under lighting gives the cover a classic horror feel to it, which gets two thumbs up from this guy.
Tonight, I found myself following the same routine as I did two days ago. Only this time, I grabbed dinner, turned on the tube and tuned into Arrow.
I was pumped to see Talia finally step out of the Russian backstory and into the present storyline.
Since it seems like we’re going to be seeing a lot more of Talia (at least I hope we will) and I just saw the actress that plays her fictional sister on Comic Book Men a couple days earlier, it seems like now would be as good a time as ever to write about the beautifully deadly Talia al Ghul.
Obviously, if your dad is the legendary Ra’s al Ghul, you’re going to grow up to be one of the baddest around. This is the case for Talia.
As the years passed, Ra’s believed the Lazarus Pit that he depended on for immortality would eventually lose its power. This realization had the feared eco-terrorist beginning to think about a suitable heir for his empire.
In his search for a replacement, Ra’s settled on Batman—the only man he saw as worthy to take up his mantle. But how would he get Bruce to agree?
Like any good dad, Ra’s conceived and executed a plan where he kidnapped then-Robin (Dick Grayson) and Talia as a means to draw the Dark Knight out of the shadows to rescue his partner.
Unbeknownst to Batman, this was all an elaborate setup by Ra’s to test whether or not he was worthy to take over for Ra’s and if he would prove to be an acceptable mate for Talia.
Of course, Batman comes through, successfully rescuing Robin and passing Ra’s tests. But despite being strongly attracted to Talia, Batman rejects her and Ra’s offer.
Over the years, Batman and Ra’s would continue to clash, with the caped crusader and Talia’s paths also constantly crossing. At odds due to her loyalty to her father and growing love for Batman, Talia decided to split and forge her own path.
She made a name for herself in the Metropolis business district where Lex Luthor took notice of her. When Lex was elected President of the United States of America, Talia became CEO of LexCorp and she ran it like a true al Ghul: cold, calculated and efficiently.
Eventually, she was tracked down by her half-sister, Nyssa, who kidnapped and tortured her. Nyssa hated Ra’s and wanted to obliterate him and knew she needed Talia’s assistance. Things escalated quickly when Nyssa killed and resurrected (via the Lazarus Pit) Talia over and over again—successfully brainwashing her. Nyssa then turned Talia loose on Ra’s and she succeeded in killing him. (Though, this being comics and these being the al Ghuls, he didn’t stay dead.)
Trained in many martial arts disciplines, Talia is also proficient in a number of small arms weapons. That aside, her greatest weapon is her brain. She’s incredibly bright and holds advanced degrees in a wide range of studies—biology, engineering, business and more.
She’s been tied to various criminal organizations over the years like the League of Assassins and Leviathan. She has appeared in numerous important story arcs in the DCU—most recently in BATMAN INCORPORATED, where she is revealed to be the mastermind behind the Leviathan organization that opposes Bruce’s “Batman Incorporated” project.
Oh, and on top of all that, she’s the mother of Damian Wayne—the son of Batman.
I like the direction Arrow is going with her and I think it’ll make for some cool moments with her having trained both Oliver and Adrian!
Until next episode,
Matt Ross covers Arrow as a part of the #DCTV Couch Club. Catch new episodes of Arrow Tuesdays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW.