Review: Birds of Prey #1

Never send a man to do a (super) woman’s job.

Batgirl #1 and Batwoman #1 have already hit shelves, but the majority of the DCU’s leading ladies debut their new titles this week.  Leading the charge was, of course, Wonder Woman, the First Lady of comics, but she’s not the only one stepping into the spotlight for Week 4.  Joining her is DC’s most notable all-female team, The Birds of Prey.  Originally running for 127 issues from 1999 to 2009, the series found new life in a relaunch in 2010.  With a retooled lineup comprised of old favorites and fresh faces, BoP spreads its wings and takes off in an action-packed first issue.

The new story follows Dinah Lance, aka Black Canary, as she embarks on her own crime-fighting crusade with the goal of bringing together the world’s finest heroines.  She partners with Ev Crawford, aka Starling, a new character created for the relaunch.  Their first mission involves a novice reporter who, unbeknownst to him, is a pawn being used to trap Dinah and Ev.  When the trap is sprung, the action takes over and artist Jesus Saiz puts together panel after panel of ass-kicking acrobatics as Black Canary singlehandedly punches, kicks, leaps, and Canary Cries her way through a hoard of invisible assassins.  (And props to Mr. Saiz for including every meticulous crisscross pattern in Black Canary’s famous fishnet costume in every single panel.  It ranks right up there with Aquaman’s scales.)

As the main story plays out, writer Duane Swierczynski dips in and out of flashbacks that follow Dinah’s efforts to bring her team together, featuring appearances by original BoP founding member Barbara Gordon, and martial arts mistress, Katana.  Neither joins up initially, but I’m sure we’ll see more of them in future issues.  In addition to setting up a potential roster, Swierczynski lays the groundwork for an ongoing storyline that involves Black Canary struggling to clear her name after a bogus murder charge is brought against her.

Swierczynski also presents a somewhat playful tone when it comes to the banter shared between Dinah and her compatriots.  Whether it is during a clandestine meeting in a diner, or in the middle of a fight, the Birds of Prey maintain an air of confidence and bravado as they exchange sideways glances and smirks. 

I’m definitely coming back for more from Birds of Prey.  The world of comics may seem like a boys club at times, but when you have female characters like these, they can take their place right alongside Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, and The Flash as they all continue to fight the “Never-Ending Battle.”

Written by: Rob "T3K" Piontek

Rob is excited to be contributing to The Fridge. With one finger on the pulse of Marvel/DC and another on that of Hollywood's superhero franchises, no multi-issue arc or casting rumor is too small to report. When Rob opens The Fridge, the light inside shines green!

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