BLACK TALON

Real Name: Thibodaux Boudreaux

Identity/Class: Human magic-user

Occupation: Former houngan (voodoo priest)

Group Membership: Led a cult

Affiliations: His cult; the zombies he raised;
    formerly the
Duck Deity

Enemies: Duck Deity, Howard the Duck, Mammy Tuba, Beverly Switzler

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Formerly le Mort Bayou (the Dead Swamp), New Orleans, Louisiana

First Appearance: Howard the Duck II#9 (March, 1981)

 

 

 

Powers/Abilities: The Black Talon could perform magical spells, such as forming constricting energy rings (Crimson Bands of Cyttorak?) or raising the dead as zombies under his command.

History:
(Howard the Duck II#9 (fb) - BTS) - The man who would become the Black Talon studied under Mammy Tuba, proving to be one of her more advanced students.

(Howard the Duck II#9 (fb) - BTS) - After the defeats of two other Black Talons (Drew and Barone, see clarifications), the new Black Talon went to Mammy Tuba, seeking advice. She told him that his predecessors had failed because they worshipped a chicken deity (see comments). She told the new Black Talon that he would have better luck with Ducks.

 

 

 

 

 

(Howard the Duck II#9 (fb) - BTS) - The Black Talon led his cult to sacrifice a number of ducks to the Duck Deity. He also performed a large number of prayers and ate a lot of duck dinners in the Duck Deity's name.

(Howard the Duck II#9) - During the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, the Black Talon spotted Howard and Beverly and pointed out his intended sacrifice victim to his cultists. The Cultists incorrectly assumed the Talon had meant Beverly, and abducted her instead. The Talon arrived to perform the ceremony and was furious at the mistake, having intended to sacrifice the talking duck to reach the great Duck Deity that ruled the Talon's destiny. Still, he had already donned his sacrificial costume and so decided to proceed anyway.
    Howard was assisted in tracking down the Black Talon with the aid of Mammy Tuba, who also briefly enhanced his magical powers, and he arrived just in time to stop the sacrifice. The Black Talon cast a spell sending constricting bands around Howard, who used one of Mammy Tuba's "voodoo dolls" to cause the Talon great pain, disrupting his spell. Howard rushed to the altar to free Beverly, but the Talon called upon the great Duck Deity to reanimate the people who had died in the swamp, thus calling forth zuvembies (zombies) to stop Howard. As the zombies approached, Howard cast a wishbone at them and then responded with a primal quack (subconsciously accessing one of Mammy Tuba's spells), and the magic bone and the quack summoned forth the zombie ducks (with maybe a zombie goose or two thrown in for good measure). The zombie fowl took revenge on their slaughterers, attacking both the cultists and the human zombies.
    Finally, the Black Talon called upon the Duck Deity, "Hear me, of great Duck Deity! 'Tis I, Black Talon--your servant who always saves you the tender parts! Manifest yourself to the disbelievers! Appear in all your mallard magesty and fowl fury! Waddle forth!" Great mists issued from the swamp, and the Duck Deity indeed appeared, but then thanked Howard for opening the dimensional doorways to him. Furious at the Black Talon for preying upon the ducks who were his sacred people, the Duck Deity revealed that the Black Talon's sacrifices were essentially suggestions of cannibalism, a moral affront for which he had waited a long time to punish the Talon. The Duck Deity grabbed the Black Talon and apparently struck him down with a magical blast, casting him back into his egg-podium deal and leaving him "poached."

 

 

Comments: Created by Bill Mantlo, Gene Colan, and Alfredo Alcala.

    Of course, the other Black Talons did not worship a chicken deity, they worshipped the likes of Damballah (more a snake god; though actually, in some cases they actually--wittingly or not--served Damballah) and the other African/Voodoo Gods. The chicken (more specifically the rooster, IIRC) is a potent sacrifice in voodoo magic.

    This Black Talon needs a name to distinguish him from the others: How about Thibodaux Boudreaux?

    You know, I've heard of deities for bats, muskrats, rabbits, turtles, swans, owls and a lot of different creatures, but I don't think a duck-deity has ever come into play. It could be because the only cultures to revere animistic totems (African and Native American) just don't revere the duck as a noble creature, only one to be purposely hunted for sport. Ducks would not be hunted as consistently as they are hunted for food if they were protected by a certain deity. The closest "water fowl" are swans (Aphrodite) and storks (a sign of good luck in Japan). I really don't think there's a duck god off the top of my head, but I do have books listing gods by their totems and ducks are known as well by mallards, duck-bills and such; maybe I'll be surprised, but I might have to extend it to GENERAL WATERFOWL.
    I checked all my books concerning African/Voodoo gods and didn't find anyone whose animistic totem was a duck or any water fowl in general. I would have thought that a pantheon with figures like Anansi (spider) and Damballah (serpent) would have more animal totems.
    Instead, I found the following figures with duck/goose totems:
Geb (Egyptian), Sequana (Celtic) and Brahma (Hindu). The Aztec god Opochtli represents god of the catch which sounds like the hunting of small noble animals, but that's not likely of use to you. Sorry I wasn't of much help.
    I think the Marvel character in general is just a bit nuts in the head.
--Will U
   
Geb would certainly fit with the Egyptian appearance of the Duck Deity.

There is an entry for all Black Talons in Mystic Arcana: The Book of Marvel Magic. This version's real name was revealed in that entry.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Black Talon should not be confused with:

The Duck Deity has no known connection to:

Mammy Tuba has no known connection to:


Duck Deity

 

    An unidentified god (see comments) who was the patron to ducks, he watched from his own realm with anger as the dim-witted Black Talon sacrificed ducks to him in an effort to gain power and support. Ultimately the presence of Howard the Duck enabled the Duck Deity to breach the dimensional wall and manifest himself on Earth. Expressing his extreme displeasure at the Black Talon's sacrifices, which were essentially suggestions of cannibalism, a moral affront for which he had waited a long time to punish the Talon. The Duck Deity grabbed the Black Talon and apparently struck him down with a magical blast, casting him back into his egg-podium deal and leaving him "poached."

 

    Both Mammy Tuba and the Black Talon referred to the Duck Deity as a Dark God, but since they didn't really understand the Duck Deity at all, I wouldn't put too much stock in that.

 

--Howard the Duck II#9 (9(fb) - BTS

 

 

 

 


Mammy Tuba

 

 

    A voodoo priestess (mambo) based out of a grass shack on the edge of le Mort Bayou, she was the former teacher of the future Black Talon. After the defeats of Drew and Barone, his former student came to her for advice, and she instructed him to focus on ducks instead of chickens like the other Black Talons. She kept a menagerie of animals, apparently granted enhanced intelligence and the ability to speak by her magic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.     When she spotted Howard getting himself into a world of trouble on the streets of New Orleans, she swiftly recognized certain powers within Howard and rescued him, pretending that he was one of her menagerie. She brought him back to her shack, where she used her Clairvoyant Cauldron to reveal Black Talon's cultists as the ones who had kidnapped Beverly. Knowing that Howard would not be able to stand up to the Black Talon or his cultists without help, she gave him a number of magic items to help him. She also stared into his eyes: unable to fully awaken powers not ready to manifest themselves, she was nonetheless able to briefly nudge them from their nap.

 

--Howard the Duck II#9 (9(fb) - BTS, 9

 

 


Clairvoyant Cauldron

 

    Used by Mammy Tuba to view distant events, she waived it's normally required payment because she sensed that he sought one who meant a great deal to him. With a mystic pass of her hands over the frothy soup contained within, an image of the Black Talon's cultists holding Beverly was revealed.

--Howard the Duck II#9

 

 

 

 


Mammy Tuba's other magic items

 

    Including her magic spell book "Do Do That Voodoo That You Do So Well," a "voodoo doll" able to be used to cause pain in others by sticking pins in it, and the wishbone of a duck, which was supposed to be feared by "the dark guard and his servant when wielded by one with powers such as she sensed in" Howard.

--Howard the Duck II#9

 

 

 

 

 


images: story pictures, not counting ads
Howard the Duck II#9, cover (Duck Deity)
    p4, panel 3 (Mammy Tuba and menagerie)
    p5, panel 5 (Clairvoyant Cauldron)
    p6, panel 7 (magic items)
    p7, panel 2 (Mammy Tuba face)
    p8, panel 4 (Black Talon full body)
    p11, panel 2 (Black Talon atop poached egg stand)
    p14, panel 3 (Black Talon face)


Appearances:
Howard the Duck II#9 (March, 1981) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Alfredo Alcala (inks), Lynn Graeme (editor)


Last updated: 05/12/12

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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