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Review: Birds of Prey #1 (Swierczynski & Saiz)

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Posted by: Lawrence Napoli, Staff Writer
09/21/2011 - 12:08am | Updated: 3 years 9 weeks Ago
Writer: 
Duane Swierczynski,
Art: 
Jesus Saiz,
Colors: 
Nei Ruffino,
Letterer: 
Carlos M. Mangual,
Cover: 
Saiz and Ruffino,
Publisher: 
DC Comics
Price: 
$2.99
Release Date: 
September 21st, 2011

Hurray for more sexy babes in comics!  As much as there are, there just doesn’t seem to be enough.  Thus, we are introduced to the new Birds of Prey, an all female team of vigilante heroines that does things their way with a slight preference towards brutality.

The logistics with team based books can be quite tricky.  Does every member get an even number of featured panels?  Will one member always take the lead?  Do they all need to make appearances in every issue?  Long standing team books get a lot more leeway when it comes to these questions.  But when the team is new, relatively small in numbers and features some rather obscure characters, a bit more thoroughness needs to be established especially in a #1 issue.

Looking at the cover art tells a casual DCU fan like me that this girl power team consists of three chicks I’ve never seen before and Poison Ivy.  Reading the book reveals this is not the case, at least so far.  The blond woman is apparently Black Canary (yeah, her costume is THAT different), the brunette woman with the tattoos is called Starling (don’t know her), the ninja-looking woman is unsurprisingly named Katana (???) and the only other recognizable character that makes an appearance is a non-handicapped Barbara Gordon.  The only way Babs could be the fourth woman featured on the cover is if she mysteriously developed nature manipulating powers without anyone finding out.  If that is not the case and Poison Ivy IS the fourth member of this assembling team, she is not referenced in ANY way within the pages of this first issue.

Needless to say, this left me confused in a very frustrating way as only Canary and Starling have any action at all, with Katana only being referenced as a recommended addition to the team by Barbara Gordon via a hand delivered Polaroid to Dinah Lance.  The rest of the story involves Canary and Starling protecting a reporter that has been spying on Dinah without even addressing the reason why any of this is happening at all?  Who is this reporter?  Why does Black Canary want to remake the Birds?  Where is the rest of her team?  Who the heck are they in the first place?  Perhaps Swierczynski has some master plan that allows this convolution to pay off in some way, but this story comes off like he was assigned to write it for a high school homework assignment only to have procrastinated, partied the night before and used his first free period in school the following day to hammer out something to hand in as opposed to nothing.    

This comic totally lost me in the first issue, and Black Canary is neither interesting nor sexy enough to recapture any legitimate appeal.  Diehard fans of Birds of Prey may find some redemption within these pages, but I do not.  Save your money for Batwoman #2 because this book is a pass.