by Ryan Rigley
If you haven't already had the pleasure of seeing "The Dark Knight Rises" in theaters, then you might want to turn away from today's round of reading suggestions. We're getting into spoiler territory in a big way. Last chance to turn around!
Still with us? Good. We're talking about Talia al Ghul, the secret villain of "Rises." In the comic books, Talia is one of the many women that Batman has fallen for over the years. They've actually shared an on-again/off-again romance for quite some time now. At one point, they were even set to marry each other! But things didn't work out quite the way they had hoped, mostly due to the fact that she's the daughter of one of Batman's greatest enemies. Keep on reading for five of the greatest comics featuring Talia!
"Birth of the Demon"
This three part Ra's al Ghul story focuses largely on the connection between the Caped Crusader and the immortal villain. However, "Birth of the Demon" also features Talia's origin story, detailing how Ra's met her mother at Woodstock and how she later dies of a drug overdose. We see a young Talia traveling the world with her father, learning the art of hand to hand combat and how to use an array of weapons. Unlike in "The Dark Knight Rises," Talia was basically born into a life of luxury.
"Daughter of the Demon"
After Robin is kidnapped, Ra's al Ghul shows up in the Batcave and announces that he knows Batman's secret identity and that Talia has also been kidnapped. The two of them decide to work together and travel to Calcutta in search of their lost compatriots. At the end of the story, it is revealed that the whole thing was a test orchestrated by Ra's to see if Batman is worthy of Talia, who has declared her love for him.
"Son of the Demon"
Batman finds himself working alongside Ra's al Ghul once more in order to solve the murder of one of Gotham's most prominent scientists. During the course of this story, Batman and Talia share a much more in depth romance. Eventually, Talia becomes pregnant with Batman's child and the two of them become engaged. But when Talia notices that Batman has become too recklessly protective of her, she lies to him about having a miscarriage and they solemnly decide to part ways.
"Death and the Maidens"
In this story it is revealed that Ra's al Ghul had another daughter, Nyssa, whilst in Russia during the 19th century. Unfortunately for her, she is abandoned by the Demon leaving her entire family to be executed in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. Nyssa later kidnaps and brainwashes Talia by way of killing and resurrecting her in the Lazarus Pit several times, in rapid succession, with the hopes that Talia will aid her in killing Ra's al Ghul.
"Red Hood: Lost Days"
Taking place after the events of "A Death in the Family," Jason Todd is resurrected by Talia al Ghul with the hopes of gaining Batman's affection. She proceeds to train the former Robin and in turn helps him get his memories back despite her father's disapproval. Talia then sends Jason around the world, setting him up with a different mentor in every country he visits. After confronting Talia once more, the story culminates in a showdown between Jason Todd and the man who killed him: The Joker.
What are your favorite Talia al Ghul stories? Let us know in the comments section or hit us up on Twitter with your suggestions!