Talia al Ghul (originally referred to as simply "Talia") is an occasional lover and enemy of Batman. The daughter of Ra's al Ghul, she is a member of the League of Assassins and a key member of Lex Corp. Talia was briefly married to Batman and is also the mother of Damian Wayne, Batman's biological son and the fifth Robin.
Co-created by Dick Giordano, Denny O'Neil and Bob Brown, Talia first made her debut in Detective Comics #411 (May 1971). Her role in stories have varied between antiheroine and villain, due to her divided loyalties to her father and Batman. Talia has also served as a member of various factions, including Leviathan and the Society.
In her youth, Talia traveled the world with her immortal father learning and adapting his intellect and skills which she proves to be more competent than any of Ghul's other children. She excels to the point in managing his criminal and legitimate operations, that she is eventually appointed as Ghul's primary secondary despite the fact that Ghul considers women to be inherently inferior to men. Ghul is supportive of his daughter though has commented that if possible, he would correct "that sole failing" in his child suggesting that he fears any possible distortion of her through chemical or biological modifications despite his aversion to her as a woman.
Falling For the Batman
Talia first meets the legendary Batman when he 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.
When Robin (Dick Grayson) is kidnapped, Ra's al Ghul enters the Batcave, revealing to Batman that he knows Batman's secret identity and claims that Talia was also kidnapped along with Dick. Batman then goes with Ra's to search for Dick and Talia; it is revealed that the kidnapping was a setup designed by Ra's as a final test of whether or not Batman is suitable as an heir. Over the years however Talia 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" following an earthquake, and he has lost his fighting spirit and didn't believe he could save Gotham.
The Red Hood
After Jason Todd's death at the hands of the Joker, Batman brought his body back to Gotham and buried him with the rest of the Wayne Family. However, several years later, during The Infinite Crisis, Superboy Prime trying to change reality, resurrects Jason with a reality-altering punch. Although Jason is returned to life, his body and mind are still broken from the Joker's attack. Some time later, he is discovered by the League of Assassins.Out of her love for Batman, 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 the Joker was still alive 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 become the second Red Hood.
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. However, Talia rejected the international brute, and after Batman defeated him, Ra's agreed that he was unworthy of his "only" daughter.
Talia, disillusioned with her father and his plans, leaves him to run LexCorp for Lex Luthor when 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. 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
During his travels in Russia in the 18th century, Ra's al Ghul met a woman by whom he had a daughter named Nyssa. Ra's abandons Nyssa at a crucial time: she is tortured, and her entire family is killed in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. 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 captured Talia and, using a Lazarus Pit, killed and resurrected her in rapid succession, leaving Talia virtually broken from the trauma of dying again and again in so short a time. 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 wanted 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. Both sisters consider Batman to be their enemy.
Talia is revealed to be one of the core members of the third Secret Society of Super Villains (along with Lex Luthor (secretly Alexander Luthor, Jr. in disguise), Black Adam, Doctor Psycho, Deathstroke, and Calculator). Talia mainly acts as a recruiter in the Society and is charged with bringing in new members. She is also in control of both the League of Assassins and the H.I.V.E Institute at this time (though how she gained control of H.I.V.E. at all is unknown). In issue #6 she duels with Scandal Savage (who she sees as an equal because of their fathers)during the Society's assault on the Secret Six, and despite having less protective gear and uses only a sword while Scandal wields her Lamentation Blades, Talia gains the upper hand and has Scandal in a death strike until she knocked unconscious by Scandal's mole in the Society and her lover, Knockout.
This is revealed to be part of one of Nyssa's plans to take over the planet and bring about world peace and equality. Nyssa explains why she and Talia are working with the villains of the Society to Batgirl (Cassandra Cain).
""Vast stockpiles of food rot, while people starve. Millions die from curable diseases, while drug companies rake in the billions. Our environment chokes on our waste, becoming so toxic that life fails. It's genocide by greed, apathy, and neglect. These are the real crimes. Something must change. The Society's plans are vast... they will succeed. I can't stop them. When the world gets a true taste of violent oppression, and their heroes lie dead and broken -- apathy will die. That's when you'll lead my league to sanction key society members. Leaving Talia and I to lead the revolution. A new world will be born, one of peace and equality. Millions of lives will be saved."—Batgirl #67
Nyssa fails to recruit Batgirl to her new League of Assassins, and the Society fails to achieve its goals.
One Year Later
After Nyssa's apparent death at the hands of Cassandra Cain (who usurps control of The League of Assassins), Talia becomes the new Demon's Head. However, the League of Assassins has apparently splintered and Cassandra Cain has gained partial control.
Batman's son, from Son of the Demon is reintroduced to continuity in the story Batman & Son, written by Grant Morrison. However, in this version, the child (called Damian) was not abandoned or retrieved from his adoptive parents, instead he was partially raised by The League of Assassins. His mother gives him back to Batman, as part of a grand scheme involving ninja man-bats and the kidnapping of the British Prime Minister's wife. Batman is unsure whether this is his son, but he attempts to deal with the spoiled, hot-tempered child anyway. Damian, effectively raised to be an assassin, kills a costumed villain known as The Spook and nearly kills Tim Drake, the newest Robin. Shortly afterwards, father and son confront each other on a ship which is destroyed by a torpedo.
Damian survived the explosion, and severely injured has to undergo a transplant of all his major organs.
Talia is prompted to read the history of Ra's al Ghul to Batman's son Damian by a mysterious figure from Ra's past: the White Ghost. Unknown to her, the White Ghost plans to use Damian as a vessel for Ra's return. However, Talia and Damian manage to escape before the plan is completed. After the escape, Batman confronts the White Ghost; he fights Batman, but accidentally ends up falling into a Lazarus Pit.
R.I.P. & Final Crisis
During the Batman R.I.P. storyline, Talia and Damian learn of the Black Glove's plot against Batman and begin devising a plan to help save him. Mother and son arrive at Wayne Manor just in time to save Commissioner Gordon from one of the Black Glove's deathtraps that had claimed another officer's life. Talia and Damian agree to join forces with Gordon to save Batman. Unfortunately, they are too late and arrive on the scene of Batman's apparent death, learning from Robin that Batman went missing and may be dead after fighting Doctor Hurt after Batman crashes Hurt's helicopter. Furious that Batman may be dead, Talia sends her assassins injected with the Man-Bat formula to murder Jezebel Jet (who played a major role in Batman's death), which they accomplish.
Following Batman's apparent death (It was later revealed Batman survived the crash only to be captured by Darkseid and apparently killed by the New God during the Final Crisis storyline), Talia leaves Damian in the hands of his adopted brother Dick Grayson. Once Dick becomes the new Batman, Damian is selected by Grayson to succeed Tim Drake as Robin. During Final Crisis, she is placed in the new Society's inner circle by Libra, though despite Talia's role in the Society she still behaves almost devotedly to Batman.
It is revealed that in Gotham CIty Sirens #2 that Talia had trained Catwoman to never reveal Bruce Wayne's secret identity even under the most intense psychological coercion.
Following an operation in which most of Damian's internal organs and bones are replaced, it is revealed that Talia inserted an implant into Damian's spine that allows her or anyone she chooses (in this case the assassin Deathstroke) to remotely control her son's body. She intends to have Deathstroke use Damian to kill Dick Grayson, who she sees as holding back her son's potential, though this fails when Grayson utilizes the implant's two-way connection to electrocute Deathstroke. After Grayson frees Damian of her control Talia reveals that she has begun cloning her son upon realizing that Damian has completely sided with his father. She is too much of a perfectionist to forgive her son for defying her like this, and tells Damian he is no longer welcome in the House of al Ghul.
Talia's recent role has become more antagonistic towards Batman while her son has begun to side more with Batman, an unusual development as she and Damian now parallel Talia's devotion to Batman while defying her father, though Talia appears to be less forgiving to Damian than Ra's was to her.
Talia has now formed the Leviathan, a shadowy organization meant to counter Bruce's "Batman Incorporated" project. Talia declares war on Batman and places a $500,000,000 bounty on her son's head. Her loyal clone of Damian, known as The Heretic, stabs Damian through the chest and delivers the killing stroke to her son.
After killing The Heretic she confronts Bruce in the Batcave and is killed by Kathy Kane. After Talia's death she was buried. Bruce came back to Wayne Manor and found the graves of Talia and Damian empty, their bodies having been stolen by Ra's and the League of Assassins. Talia is later resurrected at Nanda Parbat after multiple failed attempts on Themyscira and Apokolips, though is briefly amnesiac.
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First meeting Batman during her debut story, Talia fell in love with him in their first meeting. Due to this, she has . During the Son of the Demon storyline, the two were briefly wed, though this was alluded after he nearly died protecting her. Through the relationship, they have sired a son: Damian Wayne. In some continuities, their child has gone by various other names, includingIbn al Xu'ffasch and Tallant Wayne.
Talia's relationship with her father has often varied between loving to antagonistic. Though she has often assisted him, she has sometimes betrayed him to help Batman foil them or escape. Her mother is believed to have died when she was an infant due to an attack led by Quyan. Through her father, Talia has various siblings such as Nyssa Raatko and Dusan al Ghul.
Powers and Abilities
- Longevity & Slowed Aging: Extended lifespan through the use of Lazarus Pits.
- Businesswoman: Talia possesses an excellent head for business.
- Advanced Martial Artist and Hand-to-Hand Combatant: Talia excels in hand-to-hand combat and the use of weapons.
- High Intellect: Talia has a high intelligence.
- Master Manipulator: She is capable of controlling certain victims to her whim and is quite convincing and persuasive.
- Skilled use of Firearms:
In Other Media
DC Animated Universe
- Main article: Talia (DC Animated Universe)
Talia made her animated debut in Batman: The Animated Series, appearing in the episodes "Off Balance", "The Demon's Quest" and "Avatar". She was voiced by Helen Slater and was heavily based on her appearances in the Bronze Age. Talia also appears in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "The Demon Reborn", and the Batman Beyond episode "Out of the Past", where she is voiced by Olivia Hussey.
Talia first appeared in "Sidekicks Assemble!", voiced by Andrea Bowen. Talia assists her father in trying to create plants to destroy Coast City, but are stopped by Robin, Speedy and Aqualad. In "The Knights of Tomorrow!" (which is a book written by Alfred), she is replaced as Damian Wayne's mother by Selina Kyle/Catwoman.
In "Crisis: 22,300 Miles Above Earth!", Talia (having no lines) was shown harboring a crush on Batman and saved him after Ra's ordered his execution. Enraged at his daughter's betrayal, Ra's tied Talia and Batman to a rocket that was aimed at the Sun, but they were rescued by the intervention of the Justice Society of America and the Justice League International. Talia presumably escaped after Ra's is defeated by Batman.
Talia appears in the comic tie-in for Young Justice. She aids her father and Ubu in an attack on the Ferris Aircraft. Later on in the series, it was revealed that Talia is responsible for Matt Hagen's tranformation into Clayface. Having been seduced by him so he could gain access to the Lazarus Pit, she trapped him inside it for months after learning of his true motives.
- Teresa Palmer was to portray Talia al Ghul in Justice League: Mortal as one of the film's main antagonists. The film was never made.
- Talia had a non-speaking role in the animated film, Batman: Under the Red Hood. When Ra's al Ghul had a flashback to Jason Todd's resurrection in the Lazarus Pit, Talia was seen next to him. When Jason woke up inside the Lazarus Pit, he tried to escape, and Talia attempted to shoot him; however, Ra's had wanted Jason alive and stopped her from killing him.
- Main article: Talia (Nolanverse)
DC Animated Movies
- Main article: Talia al Ghul (DC Animated Movie Universe)
Talia appears in Batman: Dark Tomorrow as one of the main characters. Though aligned with her father, she assists Batman in infiltrating their stronghold. If the player successfully gets the true ending, Talia and Ubu flee with Ra's' body, resurrecting him in a Lazarus Pit.
LEGO Video Games
Talia appeared in DC Universe Online and was voiced by Ellie McBride. She was featured as the "alert" broadcaster for the villain missions.
- Main article: Talia al Ghul (Arkhamverse)
- The exact history of the New Earth Talia has not been revealed thus far. In several alternate reality versions such as the graphic novel Batman: Birth of the Demon (1992) explained how Ra's al Ghul met her mother, who was of mixed Chinese and Arab descent, at the Woodstock Festival. Talia's mother later died of a drug overdose. That version was contrast to the early history listed in Batman: Son of the Demon (1987), which stated that Talia's mother was named Melisande and was murdered by a former servant of Ra's named Qayin.
- Son of the Demon: Ra's al Ghul successfully enlisted Batman's aid in defeating a rogue assassin who had murdered his wife. Batman was nearly killed protecting Talia from an attack by the assassin's agents.
- Talia had a romantic encounter with Jason Todd during his post-resurrection recovery.
- Talia gave birth successfully. The child was left at an orphanage; he was adopted and given the name Ibn al Xu'ffasch. The only clue to the child's heritage was a jewel-encrusted necklace that was given to Talia which Talia then left with the child.
- The story used to be considered to be outside of the DC universe's standard continuity. The story had apparently been modified and was once more canon, however. It was 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, and coming to terms with his dual heritage.
- Talia was mentioned in Ra's al Ghul's Journals in the Batman Begins Novelization.