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The Birds Are Back

June 20, 2010

The number one title I regretted not reading while it was still going on was Birds of Prey.  I’ve grown to be a huge Gail Simone fan, and a cast of all women sounded like a recipe for awesomeness.  So when it was announced that Simone would be returning to a new volume of Birds of Prey, needless to say I was on board.  Sadly, there is now a single man in the cast, meaning that it is no longer the biggest all-female team in comic books.  Oh well.  Anyway, Birds of Prey #1 starts out with Black Canary dealing with a kidnapping and extortion attempt in Iceland.  The schmuck terrorist wants the parents of the kid he abducted to go on TV, apologize for warmongering in Qurac, then commit suicide.  However, Black Canary instead signals for Lady Blackhawk to come in with a helicopter, then uses the confusion to beat up the terrorist and jump for the girl.  The sounds of all the rifles firing begins to make the glacier they’re on unstable, so Canary takes advantage of tat, using her Canary cry to knock off the edge and having Lady Blackhawk pick her and the girl up in midair.  Shortly later, the two get a call from Oracle saying that they need to get back together for something important.  Oracle calls Huntress, who’s beating up a few thugs, and gets her back too.  Elsewhere in Gotham City, Hawk and Dove beat up a gang dressed up as cheerleaders.  Seems Hawk thinks that he’s back because God wants a soldier.  Lady Blackhawk finds the two of them later in a bar and gives them Oracle’s card, offering Dove some help with Hawk.  Oracle, Black Canary, and Huntress meet, and shockingly, the one who starts crying is Huntress.  Oracle then breaks the bad news: someone has info on the whole superhero/supervillain community, more than Oracle ever thought possible, and this person is going to kill one person on the list every hour.  The Birds have to come, and if they choose not to, the list goes online.  As Oracle mulls over who it could be, they see a Batsignal-like bird signal.  They follow it to a mysterious woman threatening to kill the Penguin.  She immediately makes it clear that she is a top-notch martial artist, even better than Lady Shiva.  She uses Huntress’ crossbow bolt to stab the Penguin in the neck, and she knows Black Canary’s nickname, Siu Jerk Jai.  And on the com, Oracle has no idea what’s even happening.

Well, this White Canary is already being established as possibly the best female martial artist in the DC Universe.  High praise to be considered even better than Lady Shiva, who’s night unstoppable.  But may I say that it is really nice to see these characters again.  I may not have read the original series while it was going, but I’m catching up with trade paperbacks, so I already feel sentimental about them.  Hawk and Dove seem like organic choices to add to the team, and Simone already has their voices down great.  Particularly Hawk’s, who’s basically just violent.  And, it seems, a tad full of himself.  This whole issue was chalk full of great character moments, and I’m sure for Simone it felt like coming home.  She really gets these characters, and it shines through on every page.  I’ll forgive her little medical slip up with the ventricular arrhythmia.  At this point, that girl wouldn’t be unresponsive; she’d be in a coma or dead.  But the whole rest of the issue is so good that again, I’ll forgive it.  Ed Benes is also welcome back on this book.  Now, with his penchant for drawing women’s butts, you’d think that there would be butt shots everywhere.  Actually, there were half a dozen, and one of them was Hawk’s butt.  And only one of the other five was egregious.  Aside from that, I love his artwork.  He’s definitely the definitive artist on this book, and he draws everyone so cleanly.  I’m glad to see these two back on this book, and I’m glad to see these women taking center stage once again.  I can’t wait to see the true identity of the White Canary, and I’m interested to see the extent of the Penguin’s involvement in this story.  After all, he’s a bird too…

Plot: 9.1      Art: 9.0      Dialogue: 9.4      Overall: 9.1

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