Talia al Ghul

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Talia al Ghul
Talia.jpg
Talia al Ghul.
Art by Andy Kubert.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceDetective Comics #411 (May 1971)
Created byDennis O'Neil,
Bob Brown
and Dick Giordano
In-story information
Alter egoTalia al Ghul
Team affiliationsSecret Society of Super Villains
LexCorp
League of Assassins
Leviathan
PartnershipsRa's al Ghul
Notable aliasesTalia Head
Abilities
  • Expert at hand to hand combat and in the use of weapons
  • Utilizes her father's Lazarus Pits to restore life and heal wounds
  • Business administration
 
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Talia al Ghul
Talia.jpg
Talia al Ghul.
Art by Andy Kubert.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceDetective Comics #411 (May 1971)
Created byDennis O'Neil,
Bob Brown
and Dick Giordano
In-story information
Alter egoTalia al Ghul
Team affiliationsSecret Society of Super Villains
LexCorp
League of Assassins
Leviathan
PartnershipsRa's al Ghul
Notable aliasesTalia Head
Abilities
  • Expert at hand to hand combat and in the use of weapons
  • Utilizes her father's Lazarus Pits to restore life and heal wounds
  • Business administration

Talia al Ghul (Arabic: تاليا الغول‎) is a fictional character in the DC Comics universe, daughter of the supervillain Ra's al Ghul, a love interest of Batman, and the mother of his son Damian Wayne, the fifth Robin. She has appeared in over 200 individual comics issues.[1]

The Talia character was created by writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Bob Brown.[2] The character's creation and depiction was inspired by other works of fiction, such as the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and the Fu Manchu fiction.[3][4][5][6] The character first appeared in Detective Comics #411 (May 1971). She is most commonly depicted as a romantic interest for Batman, a villain, or a combination of the two. Her father, the leader of a worldwide criminal empire, considered Batman the man most worthy to marry Talia and become his successor.[7] Absent a spouse, Talia was considered as an heir to her father and his organization.[8][9][10] While Batman is uninterested in the criminal empire, he has often demonstrated romantic feelings for Talia.

Talia has saved the life of Batman or helped him on numerous occasions. The majority of her criminal acts have been committed at the behest of her father and motivated by loyalty to her father rather than personal gain. She had been depicted as morally ambiguous or an antiheroic figure.[11] Recent depictions have shown her to be more often an enemy of Batman and a supervillainess in her own right, such as leading the League of Assassins,[11][12] as part of the Secret Society of Super Villains,[13] and as the mastermind behind Leviathan.[14]

IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time List ranked Talia as #42.[15] She was ranked 25th in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.[16] Talia has been featured in various adaptations in other media, most notably the 2012 Christopher Nolan film, The Dark Knight Rises, where she was portrayed by Marion Cotillard.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Early years[edit]

The first Talia comic story appears in "Into the Den of the Death-Dealers!" in Detective Comics #411 (May 1971), written by Dennis O'Neil. In the story, Batman rescues her from Dr. Darrk, apparently the leader of the League of Assassins. It is eventually revealed that the League is just one part of Ra's al Ghul's organization, The Demon, and that Darrk apparently turned against Ra's after failing in a mission (the usual punishment for this being death). At the end of the story, she shoots and kills Darrk to save Batman's life.

Talia next appears in "Daughter of the Demon" in Batman #232 (June 1971). In the story, Dick Grayson (Robin) is kidnapped. Ra's al Ghul enters the Batcave, revealing to Batman that he knows Batman's secret identity and saying that Talia was also kidnapped along with Dick. Batman then goes with Ra's to search for Dick and Talia; in the end, it is revealed that Talia loves Batman and that the entire kidnapping is a setup designed by Ra's as a final test of Batman's suitability to be Talia's husband and his successor. Though Batman rejects Ra's offer, he nevertheless returns Talia's feelings. Ra's and Talia consider Batman to be married to Talia with only their consent necessary in DC Special Series #15 (1978) in the story "I Now Pronounce You Batman and Wife!".[17]

Talia is often depicted as being torn between devotion for her father and love for Batman. Art by Graham Nolan from the Batman & Spider-Man: New Age Dawning crossover. Published by DC Comics.

In the years since the character met Batman, Talia is repeatedly depicted as torn between loyalty to her father and her love of Batman. However, she has proven an important 'ally' in her way; most prominently, she encourages Batman to return to Gotham City when it is declared a "No Man's Land" (1999) following an earthquake, and he had lost his fighting spirit and did not believe he could save Gotham.

Son of the Demon[edit]

In the graphic novel Son of the Demon (1987) by Mike W. Barr, Ra's al Ghul successfully enlists Batman's aid in defeating a rogue assassin who had murdered his wife and Talia's mother, Melisande. Talia witnessed the murder as a young child. During this story line, Batman marries Talia and the prior marriage from DC Special Series #15 (1978) is referenced. They have conjugal relations which results in her becoming pregnant. Batman is nearly killed protecting Talia from an attack by the assassin's agents. In the end, Talia concludes that she can never keep Batman, as he will be continuously forced to defend her. She fakes a miscarriage, and the marriage is dissolved.

Talia later gives birth to the child. The child is left at an orphanage; he is adopted and given the name Ibn al Xu'ffasch which is Arabic for 'son of the bat'. The only other clue to the child's heritage is a jewel-encrusted necklace Batman had given to Talia which Talia leaves with the child.

It is referenced in three Elseworlds storylines: Kingdom Come, its sequel The Kingdom, and Brotherhood of the Bat feature two alternate versions of the child as an adult, coming to terms with his dual heritage.

Birth of the Demon[edit]

The graphic novel Batman: Birth of the Demon (1992) by Dennis O'Neil explains how her father met her mother at Woodstock and that she was of mixed Chinese and Arab descent. Talia's mother later dies of a drug overdose in this story.

Bane[edit]

Talia encounters Bane while she was on a mission in the Batman: Bane of the Demon prequel comic series (1998), written by Chuck Dixon. She brings him to meet her father, Ra's al Ghul. After Bane enters the League of Assassins, Ra's considers Bane a potential heir to his empire instead of Batman and wants his daughter to marry him. Initially amused by Bane, Talia later rejects the brute, regarding him as merely a cunning animal compared to the more cultured intelligence of his predecessor. After Batman defeats Bane in the Legacy comic series (1996), Ra's agrees that Bane was unworthy of his daughter (Detective Comics #701 and Robin #33), and calls off their engagement. Following Legacy, Bane has a nightmare in Batman: Bane (1997) of Talia (presumed to be deceased) betraying him and stabbing him and then embracing Batman. In Birds of Prey #26 (2001), written by Dixon, Bane continues to express his obsession with Talia. At the end of the story, Talia is pleased at the supposed death of Bane in one of her father's underground sanctums.

LexCorp[edit]

The Talia character was written to begin a new phase of her fictional life near the turn of the century. Talia, disillusioned with her father and his plans and using the name Talia Head for herself,[18][19] leaves him to run LexCorp as its new CEO when Lex Luthor becomes President of the United States. Although she seemingly supports Luthor, she secretly works to undermine him, anonymously leaking news of his underhanded dealings to Superman. In Superman/Batman #6 (March 2004), when the time comes for Luthor's downfall, she sells all of LexCorp's assets to the Wayne Foundation, leaving Luthor penniless and his crimes exposed to all.

Death and the Maidens[edit]

In Batman: Death and the Maidens (2003) written by Greg Rucka, it is revealed that Ra's al Ghul met a woman by whom he had a daughter named Nyssa during his travels in Russia in the 19th century. Ra's abandons Nyssa at a crucial time: she is tortured, her entire family is killed in a concentration camp during the Holocaust, and she is rendered sterile when Nazi doctors pour acid into her uterus. Seeking vengeance, Nyssa plans to use her considerable wealth and resources to kill Ra's by befriending, kidnapping, and brainwashing Talia, turning her into a weapon to kill their father. To this end, she captures Talia and kills and resurrects her in rapid succession in a Lazarus Pit, leaving Talia virtually broken from the trauma of dying again and again in so short a time as Nyssa asks Talia why her father is 'letting' this happen to her. Rendered apathetic by her time in the camp, unable to feel anything, Nyssa also plans to assassinate Superman with Kryptonite bullets she stole from the Batcave, hoping that, by uniting the world in one moment of tragedy, she would manage to rouse herself once more.

While Batman is successful in preventing the assassination of Superman, he is unable to stop Nyssa from killing Ra's. This, in turn, is actually part of a greater plan concocted by Ra's, who wants to ensure that his daughters would accept their destinies as his heirs and take up his genocidal campaign. Realizing and accepting this, Nyssa and Talia become the heads of The Demon, with Talia disavowing her love for Bruce Wayne as another result of her torture at Nyssa's hands (both sisters then consider Batman to be their enemy). Talia from then on became more often Batman's enemy than an ally.[17]

The Society[edit]

In Countdown to Infinite Crisis, it is revealed that Talia is one of the core members of the Secret Society of Super Villains (the others were Lex Luthor (secretly Alexander Luthor, Jr. in disguise), Black Adam, Doctor Psycho, Deathstroke, and Calculator). This is revealed to be part of one of half-sister Nyssa's plans to take over the planet and bring about world peace and equality. After Nyssa is killed by Batgirl Cassandra Cain, Talia assumes head leadership of the League.[11][17]

Under the Hood and Red Hood: The Lost Days[edit]

During the "Death in the Family" (1988) storyline, Jason Todd, the second Robin, is murdered by the Joker in Ethiopia. He was later revived as a character, and in Under the Hood (2005), he is discovered by the League of Assassins. In "Lost Days", out of her love for Batman and the desire of making Batman love her again, Talia takes Jason to her father and Jason spends months in the care of the League of Assassins. Although his body recuperates, Jason's mind is shattered.

Seeing no other way to help him, Talia takes Jason down to the Lazarus Pit and throws his body in while her father regenerates himself. Jason is fully revived in body and mind. Immediately afterward, in order to spare Jason her father's wrath, she aids the boy's escape.

Livid at the fact that Batman failed to avenge his (Jason's) death by killing the Joker and that Batman had done nothing more than imprison him again, Jason pursues his own brand of justice. In order to stall him from killing Batman, Talia agrees to finance Jason and aid him in his training, so that he can then become the second Red Hood.[20][21]

Batman & Son[edit]

The concept of Talia and Batman having a child from Son of the Demon is reinterpreted into continuity in the story Batman & Son (2006), written by Grant Morrison. Their son is grown in an artificial womb and named Damian. He is raised and trained in the League of Assassins. Talia introduces him to Batman as part of a grand scheme involving ninja man-bats and the kidnapping of the British Prime Minister's wife. Morrison said he relied on his shaky memories of Son of the Demon before writing so he "messed up a lot of the details" such as Talia drugging Batman before sex.[22]

R.I.P. and Final Crisis[edit]

During the Batman R.I.P. storyline, Talia and Damian become aware of the Black Glove's plot against Batman and begin devising a plan to help save him. They arrive at Wayne Manor just in time to save Commissioner James Gordon from being killed by assorted booby traps created by the Black Glove. This is referenced in issue 39 of the old 52. She offers to join forces with Gordon to save Batman. She and Gordon arrive too late, however, and are informed by Robin that Batman went missing and may be dead following a battle with Doctor Hurt.

Furious that her love may be dead, she sends out her ninja bats to murder Jezebel Jet, who plays a major role in trying to kill Batman. Soon after it is revealed Batman did not die, but survives only to be captured by Darkseid during the Final Crisis and then apparently murdered by the New God.

Following Batman's apparent death, Talia apparently decides to leave Damian in the hands of his adopted brother Dick Grayson, who later takes on the role of Batman, and selects Damian to succeed Tim Drake as Robin.

In Final Crisis, she is placed on the new Society's inner circle by Libra. Despite Talia's interaction with the new Society she still behaves lovingly and almost devoted to Batman.

It is revealed in Gotham City Sirens #2 that Talia has trained Catwoman to resist even the most intense psychological coercion to reveal Bruce Wayne's secret identity.

Following an operation in which Damian's spine is replaced, it is revealed that Talia inserts an implant into his spine that allows her or anyone she chooses, including Deathstroke, to control Damian's body remotely. She intends to use this device to force Damian to kill Dick Grayson, whom she perceives as holding her son back from his potential.[23] After Grayson frees Damian, Talia reveals to her son that she has begun cloning him after realizing that the Boy Wonder has completely sided with his father's circle during their confrontation. She is too much of a perfectionist to love her son after he has defied her in such a manner, and is no longer welcome in the House of al Ghul.[24]

Batman Incorporated[edit]

In Batman Incorporated, written by Grant Morrison, Talia is revealed to be the mastermind behind the Leviathan, a shadowy organization formed to oppose Bruce's "Batman Incorporated" project. She places a bounty of US$500,000,000 dollars on Damian's head, and declares war on Batman.[25][26] In Batman Incorporated Vol. 2, #2 (2012), a Talia origin issue, she puts her father, Ra's al Ghul, under house arrest for opposing her plan and takes his men away with her.[27] She claims to Batman that her agents have infiltrated all of Gotham's infrastructure and that she is providing the poor with purpose by arming them and giving them slogans to chant, as well as an enemy to fight. Talia says Batman must choose between saving Gotham from suicide or saving their son Damian from a death sentence.[28] Her clone of Damian, known as the Heretic, stabs Damian through the chest and delivers the killing stroke to her son, a move that leaves Batman devastated.[29] After the Heretic's final loss against Batman, Talia kills him, destroys Wayne Tower, and challenges Batman to a duel to the death in the Batcave.[30] There, Talia poisons Batman and he apologizes for not being able to love her the way she wants and admits defeat. Talia asks Batman to beg for the antidote but he does not respond. Jason Todd arrives at the Batcave and offers Talia the Oroboro trigger, a device that would trigger the destruction of seven cities and that she claims would provide a new source of energy for the world. When she attempts to activate the device, Jason reveals that he has double crossed her and that the weapons the device would trigger had already been disarmed. Talia is then shot and killed by Spyral agent Kathy Kane, buried, and her body later disappears from the grave site along with that of Damian.[31] Morrison's writing of the Batman, Talia, and Damian saga drew from his own personal experience as a child of divorce.[32] The end of Batman Incorporated marked the end of his seven year run on the characters.[33]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Talia has been written to be an Olympic-level athlete, having been trained in many forms of martial arts.[11][17] She was educated in the arts and sciences, and she holds advanced degrees in biology, engineering, and business as an MBA.[11][34] She is also quite proficient with most hand weapons. Often underestimated, Talia is also an excellent hand to hand fighter.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Film[edit]

Live action[edit]

Marion Cotillard as Talia al Ghul (under the guise of Miranda Tate) in The Dark Knight Rises (2012).

Animated[edit]

Video games[edit]

Miscellaneous[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Talia al Ghul appearances masterlist. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
  2. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Before Batman first encountered one of his greatest adversaries, Ra's al Ghul, he met his daughter, the lovely but lethal Talia [in a story by] writer Denny O'Neil and artist Bob Brown." 
  3. ^ O'Neil, Dennis, ed. (2008). Batman Unauthorized: Vigilantes, Jokers, and Heroes in Gotham City. Smart Pop. p. 20. "The mysterious Ra's al Ghul was introduced at this time as well, his daughter and Batman-love interest Talia and his Himalayan headquarters both directly inspired by the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service." 
  4. ^ Klaehn, Jeffery, ed. (2006). Inside the World of Comic Books. Black Rose Books. p. 129. "Mike W. Barr: I have made the point elsewhere that the relationship between Batman, Ra's and Talia is basically that of James Bond, Draco, and his daughter, Tracy, from On Her Majesty's Secret Service." 
  5. ^ Morrison, Grant (2012). Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human. pp. 147–148. "Together Adams and O'Neil created two classic and abiding Batman antagonists, in the forms of international crime lord Ra's al Ghul and his sexy daughter Talia, who updated the Fu Manchu exotic villain archetype into the fashionably seventies world of ecoterror." 
  6. ^ Anders, Lou (2009-05-15). The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu. Karamaneh and Fah lo Suee. "O’Neil combined the two women, added a touch of On Her Majestry’s Secret Service, and viola, Ra’s al Ghul and Talia are born."
  7. ^ Batman Villains Secret Files & Origins #1 (1998). "'The Detective,' as Ra's al Ghul calls the Batman, is his most worthy opponent, and the one man most deserving of wedding his beautiful daughter Talia and inheriting the Demon's empire."
  8. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey Books. p. 179.  "Head, Talia. Talia was the younger daughter of Ra's al Ghul, considered heir to his empire despite her independent streak."
  9. ^ Superman/Batman Secret Files #1 (2003). "She is the daughter and sole heir of immortal international eco-terrorist Ra's al Ghul, the so-called 'Demon's Head.'
  10. ^ Batman Villains Secret Files and Origins (2005). "The siblings killed their father, only to discover that it was his plan all along to forge Nyssa into his successor. Nyssa and Talia now have all of Ras's empire under their control."
  11. ^ a b c d e Greenberger, Robert (2010). The Essential Superman Encyclopedia. Del Rey Books. pp. 117–118. 
  12. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey Books. p. 180.  "Additionally, after Batgirl killed Nyssa, Talia took control of the League, setting herself up as one of the most dangerous people on Earth."
  13. ^ Batman Villains Secret Files and Origins (2005). "With Talia also at the core of the super-villain organization known as the Society..."
  14. ^ Phegley, Kiel (2012-08-06). The Bat Signal: Grant Morrison Builds On The Past For "Batman Incorported". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2012-12-16. Grant Morrison: "One side has a supervillain army with assassins and Man-Bats and genetically engineered troops."
  15. ^ "Talia Al Ghul is Number 42". IGN. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  16. ^ Frankenhoff, Brent (2011). Comics Buyer's Guide Presents: 100 Sexiest Women in Comics. Krause Publications. p. 24. ISBN 1-4402-2988-0. 
  17. ^ a b c d Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey Books. p. 180. 
  18. ^ Batman Villains Secret Files and Origins (2005). "..Talia eventually distanced herself from both men and, taking the English translation of her surname, 'Head', as her American last name, became CEO of LexCorp."
  19. ^ Newman, Nick. Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials - President Luthor: Secret Files and Origins #1 "Luthor parks in front of an apartment and heads up alone. Ringing a doorbell, the accompanying door opens to reveal Talia. She lets him in and tells him not to call her Talia Al Ghul. Her name is Head, pronounced Heed."
  20. ^ Red Hood: The Lost Days 1-6 (2010)
  21. ^ Batman Annual (vol. 1) #25 (March 2006)
  22. ^ Cotton, Mike; Collins, Sean (2006). "Son of a Bat!" (182). Wizard Magazine. p. 38. 
  23. ^ Batman and Robin #11 (April 2010)
  24. ^ Batman and Robin #12 (May 2010)
  25. ^ Truitt, Brian (2012-06-19). "New 'Batman Incorporated' issue is 'one for the girls'". USA Today. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  26. ^ Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes #1 (December 2011)
  27. ^ Batman Incorporated Vol. 2, #2 (June 2012)
  28. ^ Batman Incorporated Vol. 2, #6 (January 2013)
  29. ^ Batman Incorporated Vol. 2, #8 (February 2013)
  30. ^ Batman Incorporated Vol. 2, #12 (July 2013)
  31. ^ Batman Incorporated Vol. 2, #13 (August 2013)
  32. ^ Truitt, Brian (2013-04-01). "Grant Morrison recalls life and death of Damian Wayne". USA Today. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  33. ^ Truitt, Brian (2013-07-28). "Sunday Geekersation: Grant Morrison switches superheroes". USA Today. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  34. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey Books. p. 179. 
  35. ^ Marion Cotillard And Joseph Gordon-Levitt Cast In Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises”. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
  36. ^ Bedard, Kelly (2012-01-06). "Exclusive Interview: Joey King". My Entertainment World. Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  37. ^ Ryan, Mike (2012-07-22). 'The Dark Knight Rises': Batman Begins, Again. The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
  38. ^ Jensen, Jeff (2012-07-21). Batman. Bane. Catwoman. That ending! Time to talk about 'The Dark Knight Rises' -- but only if you've seen it.. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
  39. ^ McWeeny, Drew (2012-08-27). "Our second look at 'The Dark Knight Rises' digs into the bad and the ugly". Hitfix. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  40. ^ Warner, Kara (2012-07-28). 'Dark Knight Rises' Femme Fatales: An Appreciation. MTV. Retrieved 2012-12-14. "Back to Cotillard as Talia al Ghul and that moving reveal ... how great is that moment? While she reveals her true self as the cold, calculating killer maestro behind the madness, she is doing so whilst lovingly fixing Bane's busted mask, causing that aforementioned tear."
  41. ^ Wigler, Josh (2012-07-27). 'The Dark Knight Rises' Again: Tips For Your Second Viewing. MTV. "The big twist of 'Rises' centers on the transformation of Marion Cotillard's character from Wayne Enterprises CEO Miranda Tate to League of Shadows heir and terrorist Talia al Ghul."
  42. ^ http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0000208/quotes

External links[edit]