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Talia Al Ghul

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/talia_al_ghul_poster.jpeg
Click here to see her "Classic" design 
Click here to see her design in The New 52 
Click here to see her design in Rebirth 

Alter Ego: Talia Head

Species: Human

First appearance: Detective Comics #411 (May 1971)

Talia Al Ghul (Arabic: Vanguard of the Demon) was created by writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Bob Brown and Dick Giordano. Talia's publication history extends back to the Silver Age of comics, making her debut in Detective Comics #411 that released in May 1971.


Talia is the daughter of Ra's al Ghul and was raised from birth to be part of his criminal empire, in both administration and combat. She grew up to be a shrewd leader and excelled in managing his criminal and legitimate operations and became his most skilled, loyal and trusted advisor which led to her being appointed as his primary heir, although her status as a woman still made her an unsuitable heir in his eyes and his ultimate goal for her is to find a suitable mate to give him true male-born heir, with the most famous candidate being Batman. While Batman is uninterested in Ra's plans, he has often demonstrated actual romantic feelings for Talia.
Talia is known for being one of Catwoman's primary competitors for Batman's Love Interest and oft-regarded as his second great love. And like Catwoman, being on opposite sides keeps them apart. Talia is often conflicted by her loyalty to her father and her love for Batman. She will often pick one over the other, only to change her mind again later. Ra's whole-heartedly approves of the relationship between Batman and Talia, but only insofar as it will produce him an heir should Batman himself comply. He finally got his wish when Batman and Talia had a one-night-stand (or
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she date-raped him, Depending on the Writer) and she gave birth to Damian Wayne, who was raised to take over the League of Assassins. However, Damian would reject these plans and defect from the House of Al Ghul to side with his father, thus becoming the fourth Robin. In other realities, Bruce and Talia's son is Ibn al Xu'ffasch, and he does take over for Ra's; in a mild twist, Ibn is a benevolent leader.
Talia is most commonly depicted in an Anti-Villain light or as an A Lighter Shade of Grey to her father, but Depending on the Writer she has also been depicted as a cruel and ruthless villain with little redeeming qualities. She's normally not above co-operating with Batman or other heroes if it would serve her own ends, and has firmer ties to the rest of The DCU villain community than her father, such as taking over for Lex Luthor as CEO of LexCorp upon his election as president or being one of the core members of the Secret Society of Super-Villains. After cutting ties with her father and founding her own organization called Leviathan, she has become a prominent figure in the espionage world of the DC Universe.

    Appearances in other media: 

Live-Action

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  • Batman: Wayne Family Adventures: Talia makes an appearance when visiting Damian Wayne in order to test his abilities. Notably, their relationship is much more stable in this interaction, with Talia being satisfied in knowing that Damian is happy living with his father and telling him that letting him go was the hardest decision she had ever made.

Tropes which describe Talia Al-Ghul:

  • Absolute Cleavage: She very often wears outfits that show cleavage (including her Spy Catsuit uniforms), sometimes so deep it reaches her stomach.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Had one in Bane during his time in the League of Assassins. She had a brief consensual relationship with him, but broke it off after finding him too brutish, cruel and a poor lover. But Bane remained enamored by her and Ra picked him to be her Chosen Conception Partner, forcing her to tolerate him for a while, until he fell out of favor with Ra.
  • Abusive Parents:
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    • While her father Ra's al Ghul has shown to love her in his own way, he's always been portrayed as a terrible father:
      • He put her through a Training from Hell from birth so he could mold her into the person he wanted as an heir, often putting her through harsh trials (emotional, intellectual, and physical) so she could prove herself to him.
      • Ra has often shown to have a chauvinistic side, and even though Talia has proven herself worthy to be his heir, he still desires a male heir, and schemes to have her marry someone worthy enough so she could produce him such an heir.
      • Ra's unnaturally long age has made him an emotionally distant father who would often neglect to give Talia true affection. The fact her mother also wasn't present in her life, and Ra dismissed any of Talia's attempts to find out about her would deeply frustrate her.
    • She herself wasn't the best mother to Damian, although the degree varies Depending on the Writer, with most of her Kick the Dog moments coming from her characterization as an Evil Matriarch during Batman (Grant Morrison). Most commonly she still cares deeply about him but acts smothering and overprotective and often tries to push her ideals into him, at her worst even coming into conflict with his friends and allies because she disapproves of the influence they have on him.
      • After Damian suffers from a spine injury while working as Dick Grayson's Robin, she secretly installed a device in his spine that would allow her to take over his body so she could use it to kill Grayson, who she thought was holding Damian's potential. When Damian finds out, he's horrified enough that he renounced his maternal heritage and abandoned her for the Bat-family.
      • She disowns Damian when he chose to stay with Batman instead of her and even placed a bounty on his head.
      • At the peak of her villainy in Batman (Grant Morrison), she doesn't stop The Heretic from killing Damian, though she later comes to regret this and mourns his death, and has every one of her men involved in his death be executed.
      • She also didn't have a sliver of affection for the Damian clones, treating them as merely clone soldiers for Leviathan, despite the fact they see her as their mother.
  • Action Mom: Giving birth to Damian has not made her any less of a badass.
  • Adaptational Consent: Exactly how willing Bruce was to sleep with Talia during the encounter that produced Damian has flip-flopped between writers. The original story had their encounter being consensual and fueled only by their attraction towards each other, and Talia gave up the child to adoption so it wouldn't get involved in the conflict between Batman and her father. The New52 story that introduced Damian retconned it as Talia drugging Bruce purely so she could have his child. This was later retconned back into being a consensual relationship.
  • Affably Evil: Even when she's portrayed as being extremely evil, so still maintains a polite facade.
  • Affectionate Nickname: She famously refers to Bruce Wayne as "Beloved", although she's also prone to using "Detective" just like her father does.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: All the men she's ever been attracted to are often dangerous men with a dark brooding persona.
  • Amicable Exes: Seems to have become one with Bruce in Batman (Tom King). After Catwoman beats her in a sword fight, a wounded Talia al Ghul crawls up to Batman and they act rather friendly with each other despite her attempting to kill him earlier that day. She also approves of Selina being Bruce's fiancée.
  • Anti-Hero:
    • She was portrayed as this during the time she defected from the League of Assassins after Justice League of America: Tower of Babel. While she still used underhanded tactics, she would often assist other heroes, such as leaking info on LexCorp while she was CEO for Superman and Batman.
    • In DC Future State, she's allied with the heroes in the Gotham Resistance, even rescuing Batman herself. Bruce still has to ask her not to kill anyone while fighting alongside him.
  • Anti-Villain: At her best, she's usually this, being more pragmatic and A Lighter Shade of Grey than her cruel father and often assisting Batman and Damian. After cutting ties to Ra's it's also not uncommon to see her siding or fighting alongside the good guys if their goals happen to align.
  • Archnemesis Dad: She has a complicated love/hate relationship with her father Ra's al Ghul, and has fought him many times, to the point it's not unreasonable to say he's one of her greatest enemies.
  • Asian Babymama: She's an exotic "oriental" woman (usually a vague mixture of Arab and Chinese, sometimes with some Eastern European ancestry thrown in) who ultimately bears The Hero's lovechild. However, Talia is given a lot more characterization than most examples of this trope.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Talia is in a high-ranking position in the League of Assassins and is The Leader of Leviathan, and she's still one of their deadliest combatants.
  • Badass in Distress: Even after her Xenafication, Talia still gets kidnapped from time to time, though she most commonly managed to get out by herself. One of the most notable examples being when Batman himself kidnaped her in Batman: Hush in order to draw out Ra's al Ghul.
  • Badass Normal: She's a master assassin that does not have any supernatural abilities, save for access to the Lazarus Pits.
  • Bad Boss: Played With. She often acts as a strict Iron Lady to her subordinates and is not above using {Mook}}s as expendable, but they hardly seem to mind since the League of Assassin or Leviathan Mooks she commands usually have an Undying Loyalty to the cause.
  • Bare Your Midriff: It's very common for her civilian outfits to bare her stomach, sometimes even combined with a Navel Window.
  • My Beloved Smother: She's frequently shown to be an overprotective and controlling mother to Damian, to the point she often comes into conflict with him when she starts associating with people (often heroes) she doesn't like, due to fearing their influence on him will "make him weak".
  • Berserk Button:
    • Endangering her loved ones, especially Damian, is a quick way to set her off. She's had veteran trainers expelled from the League of Assassins when they went too hard to Damian. Even during her most amoral depiction in Batman (Grant Morrison), she ordered all of the Leviathan members who participated in Damian's death to be executed.
    • While she's not as obsessive about it as her father, she's also an environmentalist and cares a lot about the planet's well-being, which is why she often assisted Superman during her time as LexCorp's CEO.
  • Betty and Veronica: The (relative) Veronica to Catwoman's (relative) Betty for Batman's Archie. While both are often villains or Anti Villains and both are very seductive, Talia is usually being the "amoral" Love Interest while Selina is the "moral" Love Interest. Gotham City Sirens states that they are the only two women that hold a place in Batman's heart, although Unreliable Narrator is likely present, as he's shown feelings for other women, such as Zatanna and Silver Saint Cloud.
  • Big Bad: Revealed to be this for the Batman Incorporated stage of Batman (Grant Morrison) epic in Leviathan Strikes arc.
  • Big Ego, Hidden Depths: Talia is a very arrogant woman, but deep down she is a woman who constantly struggles with Conflicting Loyalty and her place in the world.
  • Big Sister Worship: Had this for Nyssa after being Brainwashed by her, always calling her "beloved sister" and serving her even more faithfully than she had Ra. But when Nyssa dies, Talia doesn't even seem to acknowledge her death, even though she still maintains the Sanity Slippage that the Brainwashing caused.
  • Birds of a Feather: She has bonded with Lady Shiva and Cheshire in the past, due to all three of them being villainous female assassins and Asian Babymamas whose offspring turned into heroes.
  • Bodyguard Babes: Her personal guard are female ninjas with good looks similar to Talia's.
  • Bodyguard Crush: She had a Friends with Benefits arrangement with one of her bodyguards in Red Hood: The Lost Days.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: While she's often escorted by bodyguards, she's often much deadlier than they are.
  • Boom, Headshot!: At the end of Batman (Grant Morrison), she's killed by getting shot in the head by Kathy Kane. She got Back from the Dead via Lazarus Pits not long after.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: During the Death and the Maidens story arc, her sister Nyssa brainwashed her while repeatedly killing and resurrecting her in a Lazarus Pit, which eventually led to Talia becoming much more unstable and even turning on both Ra and Batman for Nyssa's sake. Even after Nyssa was gone, the trauma of the experience has been given to explain how often her character flip-flopped since.
  • Brainy Brunette: Talia is a brunette with long brown hair, and is a cultured woman who is a skilled battle tactician and business expert.
  • Cain and Abel: Talia and her sister, Nyssa Raatko have had many problems; including Nyssa killing and reviving Talia numerous times with a Lazarus Pit. Nyssa also once killed Ra's (even though for Ra's, Death Is Cheap, due to the Lazarus Pits). Nyssa Raatko is later killed by the League of Shadows with a car bomb.
  • Character Exaggeration: Her arrogance reaches megalomanic levels during Batman (Grant Morrison), with her believing herself to own the world and acting as a Smug Snake.
  • The Chessmaster: Her role as a villain after parting ways with Ra is that of a schemer who manipulates people and events in order to further her own goals.
  • Chess Motifs: Much like her father she has a tendency to speak in chess motifs when talking about her plans.
  • Chosen Conception Partner: Her father is obsessed with choosing a worthy husband for her, so that they can produce the ideal heir for his cause. Whether she actually wants one is a case of Depending on the Writer. Classic Talia didn't really like the idea (excluding when it was Bruce) but went along with it to please her father. But future writers and adaptations portray her as a Stalker with a Test Tube who's even willing to resort to Slipping a Mickey to get the desired child.
    • Batman is Ra's favorite choice, as well as Talia's, since she already fell in love with him even before Ra picked him. Ra's wishes ended up coming true when Damian Wayne was created, although if he's a product of Talia and Bruce's consensual love or her date-raping him tends to change Depending on the Writer.
    • One story that had Lex Luthor backstory having been mentored by Ra's when he was young had Ra consider Lex as an heir, and even introduced him to Talia, but apparently nothing came of it.
    • Talia was very unhappy during the brief period of time Ra picked Bane as her "mate", and he wouldn't allow her to rebuff him but he called the marriage off when Bane failed to defeat Batman, much to Talia's relief.
    • Ra later picked Azrael as a potential heir, and while she confessed to Jean-Paul that she was still in love with Bruce, she wouldn't object to marrying him. But when Ra finds him "genetically imperfect" he calls the marriage off and orders him killed, but Talia liked him enough that she sneaks him a key via a Sleight of Tongue hidden as a Last Kiss, allowing him to escape execution.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: A more sympathetic example from during the days she had a Conflicting Loyalty towards her father Ra's al Ghul and her lover Batman. Since she ultimately wanted no one to end up hurt, she would switch sides in assisting one and the other in order to ensure neither of them lost or won.
  • Chronic Villainy:
    • She once attempted to live a normal life away from her father's influence and even away from Bruce working as a businesswoman, but Lex Luthor eventually tracked her down and convinced her to work for him, putting her once again in the path to villainy.
    • Robin: Son of Batman brought her Back from the Dead after Batman Inc. and attributed most of her overt evil action in the past era as a result of the indoctrination Nyssa put her through during Death and The Maiden, and was "brought back to her old self after she was revived without the indoctrination. She mended her relationship with Damian and seemingly was going to have a redemption arc, but then DC Rebirth happened and all the New 52 series had to be closed and the idea was abandoned. By the next time we see her in Batman (Tom King) she's back to being a villain, albeit not as monstrous as she was before.
  • Cleavage Window: Several of her outfits have a window to her cleavage. Sometimes they also have a Navel Window, too.
  • Combat Pragmatist: She's a master assassin who wouldn't hesitate to press any advantage she can get in combat. While much like her father, she enjoys using elegant weapons like swords and fighting like a Lady of War, she doesn't have the same aversion he has with using more conventional weaponry such as firearms or using dirty tricks like coating her weapons with poison.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Some of Talia's early designs were inspired by British actress Caroline Munro, particularly how she looked as Margiana in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Talia's character is centered on this, at first with her being conflicted from her desire to please her father and her love for his Arch-Enemy Batman. Later her loyalty is conflicted between her love for her son and her own objectives in life.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • The retroactive existence of Damian in her life conflicts with some of her actions that took place between Son of the Demon and Damian's introduction in Batman and Son, such as the time she defected from the League of Assassins and became estranged from Ra's for a significant period of time.
    • The original Son of the Demon story has Bruce and Talia be in love having a Perfectly Arranged Marriage as part of Batman's alliance with Ra, with the story ending with the two breaking the alliance and going into conflict, and Talia pretending to have suffered a miscarriage in order not to involve the child, giving him away for adoption. Years later, during Batman (Grant Morrison), the child was retconned into having stayed with Talia and raised by the League of Assassins as Damian Al Ghul. However, Morrison also retconned the romance and marriage of Talia and Bruce, attributing their 'romance' as merely a ploy of Ra and Talia to create a genetically perfect heir, with Talia having even drugged Bruce in order to get him to sleep with her. This proved to be an unpopular decision and was later retconned again with the Pre-Flashpoint Superboy-Prime universe-shaking punch restoring Bruce and Talia's relation as being consensual, except some writers didn't care or didn't get the memo, so several of the events still get mix and matched Depending on the Writer.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: Invoked by her in the graphic novel Son of the Demon, where she pretends she miscarried her and Bruce's child so she could keep the child away from both Ra's and Batman's influence, giving the child away for adoption. Said story was revisited and retconned years later when the child became Damian, whom she kept and raised.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Subverted, even if she wasn't born in an already priviliged life, during the time she cut ties to Ra's al Ghul and the League of Assassins, she actually had no trouble using her skills to make a living as a legal businesswoman. Ironically enough, the one who got her back into the criminal life was no other than Lex Luthor who recruited her to run LexCorp
  • Daddy's Girl: Talia's early characterization has her being extremely loyal to her father and dedicating most of her life in service to him and his goals. Over time and with Bruce's influence, she came to find his ruthless and genocidal plans to be too much and has sided against him on several issues, until she eventually cut ties with him for good, and even founded an organization similar to the League of Assassins on her own: Leviathan.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: She often flip-flops between loyalty to her father and to her "beloved". She foils his 'destroy the written word' scheme, a lackey shoots her in the leg and the lackey is fed to lions. Although in recent years she more often falls firmly on her father's side in the villain camp.
  • Dark Action Girl: Talia is an athlete at the peak of physical conditioning and has been trained in many forms of martial arts since birth, and other deadly techniques as an assassin. She is also quite proficient with most hand weapons and is an excellent sword fighter and a decent marksman.
  • Dark Chick: For being her daddy's right hand, and her romantic tension with The Hero.
  • Dating Catwoman: Arguably the most famous example to Batman after the Trope Namer herself. It's been said that the only woman Batman has ever truly loved besides the aforementioned Catwoman is Talia.
  • Damsel in Distress: During her early characterization (before her Xenafication) where she didn't have many combat skills, she would often be held hostage and need to be rescued by Batman. Often she'd be held by her own father's Mooks, as punishment for having assisted Batman in some manner.
  • Defecting for Love: Would often come close to abandoning the League of Shadows and Ra to be with Bruce, but would always ultimately choose to stay with her father, even if she assisted Bruce with foiling his plans.
  • Depending on the Artist: Due to being of Arabic and Chinese descent Talia has been depicted with a variety of different skin tones and facial features. Sometimes she's drawn white-passing, sometimes Ambiguously Brown with Arabic features and others with eastern Asian features. Her eye color is prone to change too. Her long, slick brown hair is her most consistent facial feature.
  • Depending on the Writer: After Death and the Maidens, her characterization begun to drastically ping-pongs around from writer to writer. At her best, she's an Anti-Villain and Noble Demon who genuinely loves Bruce and Damian but has a hard time playing by their rules. At her worst, she's an irredeemable monster who's even more ruthless and unhinged than her father.
  • Dissonant Serenity: No matter how upset, enraged, or surprised she gets, she almost always looks completely calm and seductive. Even when her son is critically injured after an explosion at sea, her orders for help are as calm as though she were ordering lunch at a restaurant.
  • Doting Parent: She often doted and spoiled Damian when he was little, unintentionally turning him into a Spoiled Brat.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: In some continuities, Damian is the product of Talia drugging Batman and having her way with him. Batman himself never calls it a sexual assault, but he is clearly not happy with her. This was originally a retcon of a story in which Damian's conception was consensual.
  • The Dragon:
    • She's frequently Ra's Number Two in his criminal empire, although Depending on the Writer other villains in the League of Assassins outrank her.
    • She also was this for Nyssa during the brief time Nyssa became the new Demon's Head, which she spent joining the Secret Society of Super-Villains and acting as the link between them and Nyssa.
  • Dragon Ascendant: After Ra's death in Death and the Maidens and Nyssa's death in One Year Later she inherited almost all of the Al Ghul criminal empire... until Ra came Back from the Dead. Even then she managed to usurp his position in Batman Inc. and placed him under house arrest while she absorbed most of the League of Assassins into Leviathan.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: As her name implies, she's the Vanguard of the Demon and frequently worked as a field commander for several of the League of Assassin operations, while Ra's al Ghul was a Non-Action Big Bad. The most notable example being the Justice League of America: Tower of Babel arc, where she personally infiltrates the Watchtower and Bat-cave and also personally manages all the operations to take down each of the League members.
  • Dragon Lady: Her design and role in Batman (Grant Morrison) was fashioned after one, with her Asian physical features being more prominent than ever, her tendency to wear red Qipaos, Took a Level in Jerkass and becoming far more ruthless and her role as The Leader of a terrorist organization of her own.
  • Driven to Madness: During Death and the Maiden she was repeatedly killed and revived by a Lazarus Pit (who are known for their Sanity Slippage side-effects), as part of her sister's Nyssa attempt to indoctrinate Talia. It worked and Talia became Nyssa's puppet for a while, acting much more hostile to both Ra and Batman. Even after Nyssa's death, Talia still continued to act as Not Herself, becoming increasingly more unhinged and megalomaniacal, particularly during Batman (Grant Morrison). After she got killed was brought Back from the Dead in Robin: Son of Batman, she got better and returned to her previous Anti-Villain characterization.
  • Dual Wielding: She is a Master Swordsman who often dual-wields them in combat. Sometimes she even goes for a Sword and Gun combo.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Modern Talia is known for being a master assassin and ruthless The Chessmaster ever since she was a child, but her very first story has her breaking into tears after she's forced to shoot a man to save Batman's life.
  • Education Mama: A more fantastical example. She has always pushed Damien for to excel at everything he does and seemed to personally interfere with his training in the League of Assassins quite often, to the point she had a few of his Private Tutors expelled when she thought they were treating him too harshly or just not being competent enough for her standards.
  • Enemy Mine: As an Anti-Villain, she has often allied with heroes to fight enemies she considers a greater threat.
  • Entitled to Have You: She firmly believes she and Bruce are destined to be together, which is why she doesn't show jealousy over his other Love Interests, since she figures they will ultimately not mean anything.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: During the Nightwing "Freefall" arc, she's building a Clone Army to protect herself from Ra with the help of Mad Scientist Creighton Kendall. But even she gets disturbed when he turns the Mother of Champions into a clone Baby Factory, and is actually horrified when she discovers a lot of the clone babies just end up dying and disposed of as if they were trash, and she attempts to shut down the whole experiment right there.
  • Evil Mentor:
    • She becomes a mentor figure for Jason Todd/Red Hood in Red Hood: The Lost Days, after his revival by Lazarus Pit while encouraging his Pay Evil unto Evil tendencies.
    • Most of the things Damian ever learned about assassinations and killing came from her.
  • Fatal Attraction: She is smitten by the "world's greatest detective" who happens to be a fierce enemy of her father. And Batman reciprocates even if Talia's on the wrong side of the law.
  • Femme Fatale: Beautiful? Check. Seductive? Check. Deadly? Double-check.
  • Femme Fatale Spy: She's an espionage expert and makes full use of her sexual prowess to gain any edge she can in the field.
  • Follow in My Footsteps:
    • Her father Ra's al Ghul has raised her to take over the family's work, training her to be a ruthless assassin and leader, something she often resents, as she never had the chance to live a normal life.
    • She herself often wants Damian to follow in her and Ra's footsteps despite him wanting to follow in his father's heroic legacy instead. How well she accepts this depends on the writer, with sometimes her coming to respect his decision, to sometimes being enraged and trying to force him back through various terrible means, to sometimes denouncing him entirely.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Many of her combat outfits are extremely skintight, especially if they're a Spy Catsuit or are a Sensual Spandex.
  • Friends with Benefits: She doesn't seem to have had any serious romantic relationship outside of Bruce, but she does date or sleep with other men, often with this arrangement. In Red Hood: The Lost Days she actually had this arrangement with one of her bodyguards.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: This was the original fate of her child with Bruce in Son of the Demon, due to Batman's alliance with Ra's Al Ghul falling apart, she decided to fake a miscarriage and give the child away for adoption so it would never get involved in the conflict between Batman and Ra. This was eventually retconed, with the child staying with her and becoming Damian.
  • Glass Cannon: While she's a skilled master assassin, she's merely a Badass Normal who dish out a lot more than she can take, and she usually relies on her own agility or her Mooks to protect herself. And due to Death Is Cheap being in effect for someone with access to Lazarus Pits, it's not uncommon to see her take fatal injuries which would render other characters unable to fight for the rest of their lives.
  • Go-to Alias: On the occasions that she represents herself as a legitimate businesswoman, she uses the name Talia Head.
  • Graceful Loser: In Batman (Tom King), Talia doesn't seem that bothered by being beaten by Catwoman, implying the whole conflict between them was a Secret Test of Character to see if Selina was worthy of being his bride and she even ends up giving them her blessing.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Due to her Conflicting Loyalties and being an Anti-Villain character who is centered around espionage and intrigue, she's prone to switching sides often.
  • High-Heel Power: Several of her Spy Catsuits come with high-heels.
  • Hypocrite: She grew to hate her father Ra's al Ghul for being a Control Freak who attempted to control her every aspect of her life so she could continue his work, apparently not realizing she often does the exact same thing to Damian.
  • Heir Club for Men: Depending on the Writer, Ra's reason for wanting Batman to marry Talia and produce an heir it's because she's an Inadequate Inheritor simply due to being a woman.
  • It's All About Me: Depending on the Writer, the center of Talia's world is someday ruling the earthly paradise Ra's promises with her destined partner and their son at her sides. That she wants to achieve this through absolutely no compromises on her part endear her to neither Batman nor Damian.
  • In the Blood: Several of her personality traits and quirks came from her, such as her intelligence, skill with a sword, her eloquent manner of speaking and her Utopia Justifies the Means and Noble Demon tendencies.
  • I Want Grandkids: Ra greatly desires for Talia to have a worthy heir with someone he finds to be worthy, such as Bruce Wayne.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Despite loving Bruce she actually has shown little jealousy and at times outright support for his relationship with Catwoman. Although often it's simply because she does not feel threatened, as she considers it simply a matter of fact that Batman is destined to marry her someday.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Much like her father, too much time in the Lazarus Pit eventually takes its toll on her mental state and moral fiber.
  • Kinslaying Is a Special Kind of Evil: Several characters found her role in Damian's death on Batman (Grant Morrison) to be reprehensible, including her genocidal father, although it's become downplayed over time since he got Back from the Dead not soon after and Talia was later portrayed as not being herself during the time and having her own My God, What Have I Done? freak out about it.
  • Knight Templar Parent: She's quite the Mama Bear towards Damian, having even expelled League of Assassins instructors when she didn't approve of how they were training him.
  • Lady in a Power Suit: She usually has this look whenever she works as a businesswoman, most frequently when she was CEO of LuthorCorp.
  • Le Parkour: As a master assassin she's been trained to traverse urban environments via this and can keep up with any Bat-family member in Roof Hopping.
  • Little Miss Badass: When we see her childhood in Gotham City Villains Anniversary Giant, she's already shown to be an expert martial artist and intelligent enough to take part in League meetings.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: From the few glimpses we have of her childhood and teen years, she didn't have a great social life and was mostly surrounded by her father's servants and associates.
  • Loving a Shadow:
    • The more villainous and unhinged incarnations of Talia portray her affections directed solely at "the Bat," Bruce as a pillar of righteousness among ordinary men, rather than "the Man," Bruce's goodhearted yet imperfect humanity hidden under his mask.
    • In a platonic way, with Damian; She loves him, but that falls short compared to her love for who she wants her son to be.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Talia to Batman, but rare for the trope, Ra's approves. But only because Talia might be able to seduce Bruce into becoming his successor, or at least produce a grandchild that will.
  • Mafia Princess: Talia was first introduced as an ordinary if Spoiled Sweet, who just so happened to have a terrorist father in charge of an international criminal empire, and got kidnapped by one of his criminal rivals, thus crossing paths with Batman. Her first story even ends with her being traumatized at having to kill a man to save Bruce. As time went on her character started to become more involved with running Ra's operation, and she went from a Mafia Princess to a Neutral Female, to Daddy's Little Villain and eventually, became The Queenpin of her own criminal organization.
  • Mama Bear: Mess with her son and you won't live long enough to regret it. Even in her Abusive Parent Evil Matriarch characterization in Batman Incorporated, she immediately regretted her role in Damian's demise and had all her grunts that were involved in his death be executed.
  • The Man Behind the Man: She was this for the majority of Batman Inc., being the Mysterious Employer of several Leviathan villains, until The Reveal she was the Big Bad.
  • Manipulative Bastard: She's quite good at manipulating people to do what she wants, such as getting Deathstroke to do what she wanted in Deathstroke (Rebirth) by telling him he was Damien's true father (which was a lie) and manipulating both Checkmate and Mark Shaw so she could reassume control of Leviathan.
  • Master Swordsman: Her father is one of the best fencers in the world and made sure to personally train her in sword-fighting since she was a child, turning her into one of the best sword fighters in the DC Universe. Unlike him, she takes preference to Dual Wielding them.
  • The Medic: When Batman first met Talia, she was working as a medical student in the University of Cairo, and she actually healed or dressed his wounds many times in stories where she starred in, in fact it was how she learned of his Secret Identity since she had to undress him to patch him up when they first met. After her Xenafication this aspect of her character was more or less forgotten about.
  • Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow: In her original characterization, she was a submissive Asian Mafia Princess and Neutral Female who fell in love with the foreign white superhero with whom she crossed paths with.
  • Mind Rape: At the hands of her own half-sister, no less.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: Played With. While perhaps not to the extent of her father, she notably never objects to his plans to kill the majority of the world population. Often, she outright agrees that it has to be done.
  • Missing Mom: Talia's mother, Melisande Al Ghul, was absent during most of her life, although the reason for it has varied:
    • Originally in Son of the Demon, Melisande was killed in an accident when she fell into the Lazarus Pit right in front of Talia's eyes when she was a child, traumatizing her.
    • In Birth of the Demon, Talia tells Bruce her mother died of a drug overdose and that Ra refused to use a Lazarus Pit to bring her back.
    • The New 52 retconned Melisande's character, as an ex-wife to Ra who was exiled for an unknown reason, with Ra refusing to tell Talia anything about her. Melisande manages to meet Talia later in later, posing as a fortune teller, however, before she can say too much, Ubu removes her from her daughter's presence and presumably kills her.
    • In DC Infinite Frontier continuity, we only learn that Talia's mother is missing and that Ra has denied any information about her mother to her, despite Talia constantly inquiring about it. All she learns about her is from her Private Tutor in the League, who says they share a Strong Family Resemblance and had an affinity for weapons.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Talia grew up with conflicting feelings towards her father, who at times seemed to love her and value her, other he acted distantly and treated her as a tool, either to be used as a weapon or as a means to provide him with a "true heir", either by marrying someone worthy or producing an offspring with a Chosen Conception Partner. When his conflict with Batman, she grew to dislike Ra's more and more as he became more deranged, to the point where she defected from the League of Assassins in Justice League of America: Tower of Babel story arc, and their relationship never truly recovered from that point forward.
  • Morality Pet: Depending on the Writer, Bruce, Damian, and even Jason Todd can be this to her, with her often going against Ra's al Ghul or her own plans in order to save their lives or help them.
  • Most Common Super Power: Shown to have quite a buxom bust.
  • Motive Decay:
    • Originally Talia was a woman of Conflicting Loyalty, who struggled with her father's control of her life and wished to escape and forge her own path, one that didn't even involver her being a villain, and she spent a good time actually estranged from him. But Damian's introduction in the Batman mythos almost completely erased that aspect of her character, and her motivations now usually revolve around Damian and having similar world-changing agendas and schemes just like her father.
    • Batman (Grant Morrison) infamously had her character undergoing Flanderization into a pure Hate Sink megalomaniacal villain, who had multiple Kick the Dog moments with Damian and Bruce, only seeming to care about utterly destroying Batman, killing his "family" and ruining everything he'd ever worked for, just because he had rejected her.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Talia is a Head-Turning Beauty and a frequent source of fanservice.
  • Must Make Amends: In Robin: Son of Batman, after she comes Back from the Dead without the indoctrination that caused her Sanity Slippage and led to Damian's death, her first course of action is to find him and try to repair their broken relationship. While Damian manages to forgive her, he still parts ways with her to pursue his path as a hero and warns her he'll be after her if she ever slips again, something that she reluctantly accepts.
  • Neutral Female: In her original characterization, whenever her father Ra's al Ghul and her beau Batman fight, she refuses to take a side. The best she'll do is prevent Batman from actually capturing and imprisoning Ra's after winning said fight, or would secretly save Bruce's life if he was the one who lost. The fact that she never could convince one of the other to back down always tore at her.
    Talia: [as Ra and Bruce are getting ready to fight] So, once more it comes to elemental savagery. You two are the wisest, most intelligent men on the planet, and still you must settle your differences like beasts.
  • Noble Demon: Depending on the Writer, she's a Well-Intentioned Extremist who won't hesitate to spill blood to reach her goals, but still has a soft spot for Bruce and Damian and will ally herself with the heroes if the situation calls for it.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: In the video games and the animated series, her "accent" is anything but Persian.
  • Not Herself: Her indoctrination in Death and the Maidens is used In-Universe on Robin: Son of Batman to explain her villainous shift in attitude she had in that era, with her suffering bouts of Sanity Slippage. She would return to be more of an Anti-Villain after getting "cured".
  • Notorious Parent: Her father Ra's al Ghul being a notorious immortal criminal mastermind and leader of an assassin cult has obviously shaped her entire life, something which occasionally resents, and occasionally takes pride in.
  • Odd Couple: Gotham City Sirens has her in a bizarre team-up with Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Zatanna to rescue Catwoman from Shrike.
  • One-Woman Army: Post her Xenafication, she has no issues taking down an army of Mooks all by herself.
  • Offing the Offspring: During Batman Inc. she puts a bounty on Damian's head and later watches as her chief henchmen The Heretic kills Damian. She does immediately regret her inaction, and would later execute all of the men that were involved in Damian's death, including Heretic himself.
  • Parental Betrayal: Her secretly implanting a device on his spine that could force him to kill Dick Grayson is the trigger that made Damian cut ties with her and permanently join the Bat-family.
  • Parental Blamelessness: The fact she's responsible for turning Damian into a Spoiled Brat is completely lost on her.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Her view of what the League of Assassins should be doing. She even encouraged Jason Todd to adopt this mentality during the time she was his Evil Mentor in Red Hood: The Lost Days.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: One of her iconic hairstyles has her eyes frequently disappear behind her bangs, which helps reinforce her "shady" nature.
  • Pet the Dog: In Red Hood: The Lost Days, she got Jason Todd out of her father's clutches after Ra thought him a lost cause, and dedicated a lot of time and resources into restoring Jason back to health, while also attempting to dissuade him of taking revenge on Bruce, while pulling a Scheherezade Gambit on Jason to stall him.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Just one of her tricks as a master assassin. She once defeated Batman in a sword duel just by slashing him, since her blades were coated with poison.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Her characterization in Batman (Grant Morrison) makes her very bitter about Batman having rejected her and going completely unhinged in her attempts to destroy his life. Averted in other runs, where she doesn't express overt jealousy or bitterness about their failed relationship, and has actually expressed I Want My Beloved to Be Happy sentiments towards Catwoman a couple of times.
  • Really Gets Around: Though she's never had strong romantic feelings for anyone other than Bruce, she has had many other lovers, including named characters such as Bane, Azrael, Deathstroke and Jason Todd.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: During the Final Battle with Batman in Batman Inc., she dressed up in a super-villain costume: plain, all-red spandex jumpsuit with a black cape and a black Dr. Hurt-esque Domino Mask. She takes it off the mask and cape just before the fight, implying she wore it just to mock the idea Superheroes Wear Tights.
  • Rogues Gallery Transplant: While she started out as a Batman rogue and Love Interest, it's not uncommon to see her working as a rogue for other heroes
    • Of note, after she founded Leviathan, she became a more prominent figure in the espionage world of the DC Universe, showing up often in books such as Checkmate or The Silencer.
    • Surprisingly, she's one of the Batman rogues that has most often crossed paths with Superman, even in non-Crossover stories, due to a combination of her tenure as LuthorCorp's president; Leviathan becoming a recurring foe of his in Superman (Brian Michael Bendis), her involvement with Checkmate (an organization which Clark's wife Lois Lane is part of); and her disapproval of Damian and Jon Kent's friendship resulting in having her show up as an antagonist in Super Sons.
  • Sanity Slippage: Robin: Son of Batman justifies In-Universe that her inconsistent characterization after the Death and the Maidens story arc comes from the indoctrination she endured in that story at the hands of her half-sister Nyssa.
  • Sex Goddess: Talia's a skilled seductress and is sometimes portrayed as a very satisfying lover.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Due to the Naked on Revival nature of the Lazarus Pits, she ceased caring about body modesty in front of her servants a long while ago.
  • She-Fu: As a master assassin, her fighting style can be rather acrobatic at times.
  • She's Got Legs: Many of her civilian outfits leave her legs bare, sometimes only one.
  • Ship Sinking: She used to be Batman's most prominent Love Interest after Catwoman, but since she Took a Level in Jerkass in Batman (Grant Morrison) their relationship has been damaged beyond repair due to her overtly villainous actions, her role in Damian's death and the introduction of Questionable Consent in Damian's conception. Even after some of these aspects got retconned and she got some Character Rerailment, writers have avoided presenting her as a potential Love Interest for Bruce, with Catwoman cementing her place as his Official Couple.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Part of her attraction to Bruce is his utter determination of his mission to rid the world of evil, which she finds ironic since it's also the main thing that makes them unable to be together.
  • Sleight of Tongue:
    • At the conclusion of "The Saga of Ra's al Ghul" arc, Batman is stung by a scorpion while fighting a duel against Ra's. Talia lingers by the dying Batman, saying she wishes to give him one Last Kiss. However, she uses the kiss to give him an antidote to the scorpion venom, allowing him to recover hours later.
    • She also did this to save Jean-Paul in Azrael #30, slipping him a key that would let him escape execution at the hand of her father's men.
  • Skull for a Head: During Batman Inc., she would often wear a hood with a skull mask when she presented herself as the leader of Leviathan.
  • Start My Own: Leviathan in her own version of the League of Assassins, which she founded after parting ways with her father. Talia actually usurped quite a lot of the League into Leviathan.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Implied to be part of the reason Nyssa's Brainwashing of her during Death and the Maidens is so successful, and Nyssa shifts between cruel Cold-Blooded Torture, to acting kindly and comforting towards Talia, until she breaks.
  • Stripperiffic: As a big Femme Fatale she's a big fan of this type of clothing, fitting her role as a Ms. Fanservice. Several of her outfits tend to feature Bare Your Midriff, Cleavage Window, a Navel Window. Her legs are also frequently bare. A couple of her outfits actually have more fabric in her sleeves than anywhere else.
  • Reclining Reigner: It's fairly common to find her reclining in her lavish bed or other furniture in her off time, in order to illustrate her power and vanity.
  • The Queenpin: After founding Leviathan, she became the female leader of her own criminal empire.
  • Sensual Spandex: Her Spy Catsuits outfits tend to invoke this, due to how form-fitting they are.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: She prefers looking like a simple beautiful girl in order to get people to underestimate her.
  • Slouch of Villainy: During the Checkmate she was shown to be slouching in her throne at Leviathan headquarters as she spoke to Mark Shawn. Usually, she's more of a Reclining Reigner though.
  • Smug Smiler: Talia's an arrogant woman, so finding her smiling smugly at people is fairly common.
  • Smug Snake: Talia is a very arrogant woman, which often leads her to underestimate her opponents. This was especially notable in her characterization in Batman (Grant Morrison), where she acts as a megalomanic.
  • Spy Catsuit: Her most well-known "combat" attire is the classic catsuit that spies wear. In her early appearance, it used to be pink, but later she started to wear them black or dark purple.
  • The Sociopath: Sometimes portrayed as one Depending on the Writer, most prominently during Batman Inc. where she seemed to hate Batman, and everything he stood for.
  • Stalker with a Test Tube: Batman (Grant Morrison) made Talia much more concerned with the idea of having Bruce's child and retconned the consensual encounter between them that conceived a child into Talia drugging and raping Bruce in order to produce an heir in Damian. This was then changed back to consensual sex in a later retcon and this aspect has ever since been Downplayed.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Talia is a Head-Turning Beauty and stands 5'8".
  • Stealth Expert: As a League of Assassins operative, she's an expert at infiltration. Notably in Justice League of America: Tower of Babel, she managed to infiltrate in both the Justice League's Watchtower and in the Bat-cave, so she could steal Batman's failsafe plans to take down the other Justice League members.
  • The Strategist: Having been trained to lead since she was a child, she has a keen mind for strategy and tactics when it comes to espionage combat and sabotage, having driven Batman to the brink with her Leviathan organization during Batman Inc. Even before she founded Leviathan, she still acted as Ra's primary advisor when it came to coordinating the League of Assassins plans.
  • That Thing Is Not My Child!: She doesn't consider The Heretic or other Damian clones to be her children, or anything more than tools, despite them viewing her as their mother. She grows to hate the Heretic after he kills Damian and remorselessly kills him herself later.
  • The Tease: The reason she enjoys wearing Stripperiffic clothing is that she simply enjoys teasing and flirting with men, which is part of her Femme Fatale act. One example is in Bane of the Demon where she makes sure to undress in front of Bane just to provoke, as she's no longer interested in him.
  • Tell Me About My Father!: Originally, Talia's mother died when she was little in an accident with the Lazarus Pits, but it was later retconed that she was simply missing from Talia's life without her knowing why, and her father Ra's al Ghul having always been extremely secretive and dismissive about her mother's whereabouts or how she was like, despite Talia's constant inquiries. The Gotham City Villains Anniversary Giant even focuses on this in Talia's section, with Ra giving a teen Talia a Breaking Speech when he tires of her asking him:
    Ra's Al Ghul: You want to know who your mother is? She's a pile of ashes. You are you own mother. I'm your father, but one day you'll need to be your own father, too. We're all orphans, in the end. No matter if the ones who gave us life be dead or alive, everyone needs to be their own parent. You think a dead woman has any influence on who you are? It's the living who shape the world. It's the living who matter.
  • This Is My Name on Foreign: Talia Head, which is a literal translation of her name, is her Go-to Alias when she's acting as a legitimate businesswoman in Western countries.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: She is the Girly Girl to both her sister Nyssa and Catwoman's Tomboy.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: She becomes far more diabolical around the time Damian is introduced, and by the New 52 she is almost as vicious and cruel as her father.
  • Tough Love: When she's characterized as a more abusive parent, the things she put Damian through come with the logic that it will ultimately make him a better person and future leader.
  • Underestimating Badassery: She's often underestimated by people, which is her intent as her looks and manner tend to invoke Silk Hiding Steel and she has even defeated Bane once when she caught him by surprise. Sometimes even her own father or Batman underestimate her abilities, both in combat and in plotting.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: She has had many outfits over the years, both civilian and as for fieldwork.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: Downplayed, while Talia has been one of Batman's most famous Love Interests, their actual romance was stronger and more prevalent during the time she was a Mafia Princess or an Anti-Villain. When she fully embraced villainy, neither her nor he wanted each other romantically.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Like Ra, she's an environmentalist and feels harsh methods should be taken to preserve the planet, but she does feel his mass genocide plans go too far.
  • Vague Age: Due to Lazarus Pits functioning as Fountain of Youth, some writers have played with the idea Talia is Older Than She Looks. In Birth of the Demon, Batman bluntly asks this of her, and she actually confesses she's not even thirty yet, although it's unknown if that's still canon.
    Batman: Tell me, Talia, how old are you? A hundred years? Two? More?
    Talia: You are wondering if you're talking to history? To someone who slept with Napoléon, perhaps? To someone who sandpapered George Washington's wooden teeth?
    Batman: No, I was planning to ask you for your beauty secrets. I mean, you are... very well preserved.
    Talia: Preserved? Like a jar of pickles? You certainly know how to flatter a girl. Well, I am sorry to disappoint you, but I must confess that I am not yet thirty.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: She can be very protective of Bruce, to the point of saving his life many times when he goes up against her father Ra's Al Ghul.
  • "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl: Having grown up in a cult-like environment dedicated to worshiping her father, she became extremely devoted to him and his ambitions. But due to his Sanity Slippage and encounters with Batman exposing the worse of him, her loyalty and devotion to him began to crack.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: She's an Anti-Villain that shares her father's goals in bettering the planet, even if a lot of blood needs to be shed. But she's presented as A Lighter Shade of Grey than him, and often thinks some of his plans go too far, especially the genocidal ones.
  • Wicked Cultured: She's a luxurious villainess who likes fine things, is intelligent, well-spoken, and often speaks in polished prose. Finding her as a Reclining Reigner with an A Glass of Chianti in hand is a common sight.
  • Wild Card:
    • Due to her Conflicting Loyalty, it's up in the air whether or not she will side with her father Ra's al Ghul or her lover Batman in any given conflict. She usually sides with whoever is losing, or attempts to manipulate the situation so that both of them come out unharmed.
    • As an independent villain, her loyalties are also often up in the air, with her sometimes siding with heroes in an Enemy Mine situation, only to betray them at the end.
  • Woman Scorned: The entire motivation for characterization in Batman Inc. is resumed to "Batman rejected me". After she gives him an ultimatum about finally joining her and Damian to rule the world and he refuses, she says she'll destroy his world. She follows through.
  • Worf Effect: Her defeat at the hands of Catwoman in Batman (Tom King). While Selina beating Talia using her own talents is hardly improbable, they were specifically having a sword duel, and Talia is a Master Swordsman while Selina herself points out in the story she never even held a sword in her hand before, yet Selina manages to defeat Talia in a straightforward duel.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Talia has been described as a woman of near matchless beauty and Neal Adams once referred to her as the most beautiful woman in the world.
  • Xenafication: Originally, Talia's character was that of a Mafia Princess and Neutral Female, a relatively normal who just so happened to have an evil terrorist for a father. While she had some skill in self-defense and a Femme Fatale air, she didn't enjoy violence and had very little to do with the League of Assassins, to the point she actually broke into tears when she was forced to kill Doctor Darrk in order to save Bruce's life in her very first story. But as time went on, she was retconned into being more of Femme Fatale Spy type of character with more advanced fighting and espionage skills and started to personally take part in running Ra's Al Ghul criminal empire, but still found some of the things he asked of her to be abhorrent and heavily disliked being seen as an assassin. But as the League of Assassins started to overshadow the other aspects of Ra's criminal organization, Talia herself got retconned into being a League of Assassins member who trained there since birth, becoming one of their deadliest assassins who could be a match in a fight to someone like Batman. She also became a much sinister schemer and manipulator and overall both Took a Level in Badass and Took a Level in Jerkass.
  • You Have Failed Me: In Batman (Grant Morrison), she beheads the Heretic for daring to insinuate that she needs him after what she assumes to be his failures.
  • You Monster!: At the peak of her villainy in Batman Inc., her own father Ra's al Ghul, of all people, says this to her after However, he doesn't really seem to dislike her for it, even seeming congratulatory.
    Ra's Al Ghul: You have become a monster at last.

Alternative Title(s): Talia Al Ghul

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