Cover by Ricken
Written by Christy Marx
Pencils by Scott McDaniel & Romero Molenaar
Inks by Jonathan Glapion
Beware of spoilers!
As I have been quite enjoying the ‘Batgirl’ title I decided that it was time to dip in to the ‘Birds of Prey’ title to see how this New 52 incarnation was working out.
I’ve read several of the told TPB’s which I picked up around the time of the short-lived TV series which was my introduction to the universe of BoP.
NB: I like the idea of Helena Wayne/Kyle daughter of Batman and Catwoman. I would have liked to see that character and that incarnation of the BoP continued.
I always felt that the crux of the team was Oracle, her presence was what held the team together and without her technical know how the team seemed to be missing its heart. Picking up issue #1 of this series there definitely felt like something was missing from the team but now almost two years later they’re an almost fully functional team who have started to carve out their own niche in the DC Universe.
I’m always hesitant to refer to this as a Bat-title although much of it does exist within the confines of Gotham City and characters do occasionally interact with the Bat himself.
The writers who have worked on this series over the last twenty-three issues have clearly come to realise that Batgirl/Barbara is still an incredibly important character in this world and having used her as a recurring character in early issues it’s nice to see her become permanent fixture in the team again.
The only downside from a narrative point of view is that the ‘Birds of Prey’ book is taking place in the past compared to the ‘Batgirl’ title. It’s only during issue #22 of ‘Birds’ that the events of ‘Batgirl’ #19 take place. They have only been touched upon lightly at this point and so neither title is having a huge effect on the other. For the sake of continuity but also to crank up the emotion in ‘Birds’ it would be great to see how Canary helps Barbara to deal with the loss of her brother.
I can’t see how the events of ‘Batgirl: Wanted’ won’t impact on this series but we’ll have to wait and see.
Similarly to how certain groups of comic fandom write off ‘Batgirl’ for being a female fronted series the BoP title has a lot of criticism thrown at it for being female lead in front of and behind the pages. It’s right to say that this is reasonably generic fare but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.
‘Birds of Prey’ features some extremely well developed characters and some great large-scale action pieces yet remains relatively overlooked by the fandom at large.
The current arc see’s the team being deconstructed having lost Katanna to the ‘Justice League of America’ title and now after the deception of Starling the team is broken. There’s a huge ensemble cast at play in this current arc but Marx is juggling them all pretty well.
The Basilisk team is a little under-developed considering they’re being painted as a huge criminal force with ties to Condor (the first male bird?). Their introduction isn’t serving much more than to provide Condor some further backstory but also as a roundabout way of brining Dinah to the realisation that her husband Kurt is still alive.
The highpoint of their story so far re the dream sequences that each character goes through early on in this issue. Seeing the Gordon family together and happy should have tied in much more to the story currently in ‘Batgirl’ and for now appears to be a missed opportunity but on the flip-side we do learn some interesting history on former Talon, Strix.
The character of Dinah has done a brilliant job of becoming the focal point of the series as Batgirl has yoyoed between this and her own title. All roads eventually lead back to Dinah and it will be interesting to see how her character is going to develop in the wake of losing control of her powers and the realisation that Kurt is alive.
This isn’t the best jumping off point for new fans but makes for a good read between other titles.