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#CBR5 Maneuver #21 – Birds of Prey Volume 2

Birds of PreyTarget: Duane Swierczynski’s Birds of Prey: Your Kiss Might Kill.  Art by Jesus Saiz and Travel Foreman.  Collecting Issues #8-12 and Issue #0 of Birds of Prey (N52)

Profile: Comics, Mystery, Science Fiction

After Action Report:

DC’s release dates for its mass-market collections are stupid.  Between the hardcover special releases and some bizarre need to spread releases out, it’s been eight months since I reviewed Volume 1 and fourteen months since the first issue in Volume 2, issue #8, was printed.  This obviously isn’t a problem for people who are just collecting the issues, but DC seems pretty intent on screwing its MMP base, particularly those of us who are fans of Batwoman.  Now, part of this delay is because I’m STILL enormously behind on the reviews, but, much like the U.S. government, I refuse to let facts get in the way of a good rant.

I really enjoyed the first collection of the new Birds of Prey, so it is with mixed feelings that I report that Volume 2 leaves much to be desired.  Between the jerky plot jumps and the ill-conceived Poison Ivy arc, the issues in this volume never really get down to business.  Some of this is due to the Night of Owls and Issue #0 ‘crossover’ events, which derail the existing plot lines in really jarring ways.  But even the two arcs that belong to the Birds feel clunky and don’t have the same storytelling hook present in Swierczynski’s first arc.

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#CBR5 Maneuver #1 – Birds of Prey Volume 1

Birds of Prey Trouble in MindTarget: Duane Swierczynski’s Birds of Prey: Trouble in Mind.  Art by Jesus Saiz.  Collecting Issues 1-7 of Birds of Prey (N52)

Profile: Comics, Mystery, Science Fiction

Summary: From the Back Cover, “One is wanted for a murder.  The other is on the run for knowing too much.  Together Black Canary and Starling work in Gotham City, taking down the villains other heroes can’t touch.  But now, as a grizzled newspaper reporter threatens to expose them, the tow get sucked into a nightmare involving stolen pharmaceuticals, terrorists for hire and killers in stealth suits who can appear – and disappear – at will.

Realizing that Gotham City’s citizens are in grave danger, Black Canary recruits Katana, a vengeful samurai, and the notorious bioterrorist Poison Ivy.  Will the Birds of Prey be able to work together to save Gotham?”

After Action Report:

I came to (American) comics relatively late in life, and entirely because of Joss Whedon.  I started collecting the Buffy Season 8 trade paperbacks in college, but couldn’t really get excited about trying to break into the enormous continuity clusterfuck of ether DC Comics or Marvel’s main universe. I would read a few stray issues here or there if an author I liked was guesting, but that was about it.  When DC decided to do a partial reboot of their continuity it seemed like a good opportunity to start seriously exploring comics.  That lasted all of three weeks, but now that the first trade paperbacks from the reboot are coming out, I decided to take another stab at it.

Birds of Prey is an interesting series that walks in the shadows of some of DC’s biggest names, but has managed to stand on its own as both a concept, and as a storyline.  The original concept was the pairing of a paralyzed former Batgirl, now called Oracle, and the impulsive Black Canary taking on organized crime in the city of Gotham.  The team grew over the years, but at the core of the series was the conflict between the headstrong Black Canary and the cautious and organized Oracle.  The reboot undid Oracle’s paralysis, and made Black Canary the team leader in charge of a new batch of unknowns, including the mentally unstable Katana and the former bio-terrorist Poison Ivy.

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