Birds of Prey

Birds of Prey #4

by Alan Rapp on December 28, 2011

in Comics

birds-of-prey-new-52-4-coverIt takes more than half the issue but Batgirl finally joins the team. The addition of Batgil may mean good things for the future of the comic but it doesn’t do much to help out here as the story is still stuck in neutral with invisible ninja assassins and super-secret scientists planting bombs in peoples heads.

Birds of Prey is a comic I want to like but now for four months it’s given me little reason to do so. The addition of Batgirl isn’t the only change that needs to be made on this title. We still know next to nothing about Starling, Katana remains a one-note character, and I don’t see how Babs sticks around for a team that includes Poison Ivy as one of its members.

The good news is Batgirl works well here, especially with Black Canary. It’s good to see the Babs/Dinah team back together. Now if we can just figure out a way to get Zinda Blake and the Huntress to replace Poison Ivy and Katana we might, might have something. Hit-and-Miss.

[DC, $2.99]

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Birds of Prey #3

by Alan Rapp on November 24, 2011

in Comics

birds-of-prey-new-52-3-coverThe entire team is assembled (well, almost, but we’ll get to that in a minute). Black Canary‘s worst fears are realized as Starling and Kantana are less than thrilled with the fact that Poison Ivy has joined the team. To tell the truth, I’m with them.

Because this is DC’s reboot it wouldn’t be complete without a complete character redesign for Poison Ivy. Although it is a shock that the character is one of the few female DC’s characters that got less sexualized as part of the New 52.

The issue itself, once Starling and Katana stop trying to kill their new partner, isn’t great but it works well enough to keep my interest (even if the art looks extremely rushed). The issue ends with a cliffhanger as Black Canary learns she’s a ticking timebomb set at the mercy of whoever is in charge of this legion of invisible assassins.

The real interesting tidbit is the news that Batgirl won’t just be guest-starring over the next couple of issues but will become a permanent member of the team beginning next issue. Babs inclusion could be just what this book needs. Hit-and-Miss.

[DC, $2.99]

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Birds of Prey #2

by Alan Rapp on October 26, 2011

in Comics

birds-of-prey-v3-2-coverWhen last we left the new Birds they had just gotten a reporter blown up in broad daylight in the middle of a crowded airport. After escaping the airport Black Canary and Starling collect the third member of their team and look for answers.

Issue #2 introduces the New 52 version of Katana who it appears is more than a little unhinged in this version of the DCU. Katama is still deadly with a sword but this one talks to her death husband who she believes resides spiritually inside her sword. Yeah…

Anyway, the trio look for answers regarding the invisible terrorists and the dead journalist which leads them to the fourth member of their team – Poison Ivy. Okay, stop the bus; I need to get off.

This isn’t a bad issue, and the art by Jesus Saiz is more consistant this time around, but this team of Birds is getting farther away from the team Gail Simone made popular (Poison Ivy, really?). Aside from Black Canary these aren’t characters I really want to spend time with every month (especially for $3 a pop). Hit-and-Miss.

[DC, $2.99]

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Birds of Prey #1

by Alan Rapp on September 22, 2011

in Comics

birds-of-prey-v3-1-coverFor the first time since 2003 the regular writer of Birds of Prey is not named Gail Simone. As part of DC’s New 52 writer Duane Swierczynski takes over a team that, quite frankly, has seen better days.

The recent run of the title never matched the heights of the first volume and, although I love Gail Simone, I wasn’t opposed to giving someone else a shot at the title. Sadly, this isn’t what I had in mind.

Not only does Barbara Gordon‘s return as Batgirl throw Stephanie Brown under the proverbial bus but it leaves a huge hole to be filled on a title that centered around her as Oracle. The comic was about the relationship between Babs and Black Canary, and started clicking on all cylinders with the inclusion of the Huntress (and great supporting characters like Zinda Blake).

Although Black Canary is present here (in another puzzling costume redesign that makes me nostalgic for any of other costumes – even her Justice League look), the Huntress isn’t part of the team and Babs is present only a token appearance.

[click to continue…]

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If I Rebooted the DCU (Part Three)

by Alan Rapp on September 1, 2011

in Top Tens & Lists

With DC Comics reboot of their entire universe with 52 new first issues now underway I continue to take a look at what I would do if I rebooted the DCU.

Where I could I kept ideas DC wanted to explore in the relaunch (when not incredibly stupid like Voodoo), and even included titles I’m personally not all that high on but characters I know have a devoted fan base. You’ll find I’ve also kept far more of the current titles than DC’s proposed reboot, and brought back a few personal favorites as well.

[click to continue…]

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Birds of Prey #15

by Alan Rapp on August 16, 2011

in Comics

birds-of-prey-15-coverWhile Gail Simone‘s Secret Six has been consistently good, this run of Birds of Prey is best described as a shadow of its former self. Part of the blame has to go Brightest Day which saddled the team with a pair of members (Hawk and Dove) who never really meshed with the group, but although this volume has had its flashes (such as the Catman and Huntress issue) it has seemed in need of major tweaking for awhile now.

I was surprised that Simone wasn’t on hand to do the final two-issue adventure, but writer Marc Andreyko does manage to breathe a little life back into the book (with absence of Hawk and Dove), even if the story itself, involving a Nazi scientist, clones, and mental displacement, is pretty lame.

That said, the issue is an improvement over part one and does have some nice moments between Zinda Blake and the Phantom Lady. I also thought Manhunter worked pretty well with the team. Is it a great finale? No, not really, but for a comic that has struggled to live up to its own legacy (and struggles here without its trademark writer) it’s about what I expected. Hit-and-Miss.

[DC, $2.99]

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Birds of Prey #13

by Alan Rapp on June 13, 2011

in Comics

birds-of-prey-13-coverI’ve never been a big fan of Renee Montoya as The Question. Don’t get me wrong, I love the character of Renee, but her stepping into the shoes of Vic Sage has never sat quite right with me.

What’s interesting is I could make a similar statement about the Huntress. Until Gail Simone took over the first volume of Birds of Prey and breathed new life into the character I honestly didn’t care what happened to Helena. Now I realize I’m going to miss her as much as the other Birds when this series comes to an end in August.

Sure the Birds (or some of them) will continue their adventures in a new title under a different writer, but this group’s adventures are coming to an end.

This issue gives us Black Canary and Dove vs. Junior (in a fight that elevates the villain’s prowess a little too high for my tastes), a Zinda Blake headbutt (no complaints here), Huntress and Question coming to the rescue, and even an appearance by Catman!

[click to continue…]

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Birds of Prey #11

by Alan Rapp on April 20, 2011

in Comics

birds-of-prey-11-coverSince it’s relaunch I’ve had mixed feelings with Birds of Prey. When compared to writer Gail Simone’s other major title I’ve always preferred Secret Six. Until now. Of course, the fact that the entire issue revolves around Catman may have something to do with that.

The issue is centered around the Huntress and Catman reconnecting, and spending the night together working to track down a small gang of thieves. The mutual attraction we saw back in the previous volume of Birds of Prey is still present, as are Helena’s growing concerns with the changes to Thomas Blake.

The story’s climax is more convoluted than I’d like, but I actually like this pair together. It’s also nice to see the screwed-up but still noble side of Catman that’s been missing since before the storyline involving the kidnapping his son. I also quite enjoyed the final conversation between Catman and Deadshot. Their friendship (something else I’ve been missing from Secret Six lately), definitely deserves more page time. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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Birds of Prey #8

by Alan Rapp on January 18, 2011

in Comics

Is that a little Batman mixed in with the Birds of Prey? I think it is!

There’s actually quite a lot to like about this issue including Oracle‘s inner monologue about having Bruce help her team and Black Canary‘s reaction (including a sly smile) at seeing “the” Batman back in action.

The entire issue centers around the Calculator‘s goons trying to locate Oracle. There’s also a far less satisfying B-story of Hawk checking up on the Penguin. Everything works fine… until Oracle puts everyone in danger by inexplicably asking Batman to take a dive (which he does?) thus putting her entire team in real jeopardy.

The finally few pages really seem to drop the ball on what was a very fun, engaging story filled with ample amounts of action and internal monologue. It’s still worth a look but ends on a rather disappointing note.

[DC $2.99]

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Birds of Prey #2

by Alan Rapp on June 18, 2010

in Comics

birds-of-prey-2

The plot behind the mysterious assassin deepens as the Birds find themselves on the run from a foe who knows their secrets, is at least two-steps ahead, and is able to make everyone dance to the song they have decided to play. I have faith in writer Gail Simone, but I’m a little concerned with where the story is heading, the near omniscience of their opponent, and the long list of repercussions the book will have to deal with (perhaps for years) unless Oracle and her crew mount a comeback, quickly. Although I wasn’t a big fan of either Savant or Creote they deserve a better fate than they’re given here. Hit-and-Miss.

[DC $2.99]

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