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Birds of Prey #45

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2002
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artists: Dave Ross (p), Andrew Pepoy & Nelson (i)

Publisher: DC

Plot:
The book opens with Deathstroke showing how easily he can bring down a dinosaur, as he shoots one of the animals to provide himself with a quick meal, but he soon discovers that he'll have to fight with the other scavengers that populate this island if he want to protect his kill. We then look in on Eddie Flyer, as the man is taken for questioning by his Japanese captors, but they believe his answers are fabricated lies designed to keep them from discovering his true mission for the Allied forces. As Eddie is beaten unconscious we look in on Connor Hawke as he discovers that his ally Camorogue is a back-stabbing traitor as she drugs him & locks his unconscious body inside a tank. We then look in on Eddie Flyer as he manages to escape with the help of a domesticated dinosaur, and he hooks up with Camorogue to investigate the lab complex that has been set up beneath the prison camp. However after they discover that these labs are being used to test & develop new chemical attacks, we see the intruder alarms go off, and Eddie Flyer & Camorogue learn their presence has been discovered.

Comments:
First off handing over half the book to detailing the adventures of Eddie Flyer strikes as a bit excessive, especially when the one's knowledge of who this character is depends entirely on the readers having read the previous Green Arrow series. I mean there have been times in the past where I've enjoyed Chuck Dixon economic writing style as most times he draws upon elements from past issues, or from his other Bat-books. However when the star characters of this series are pushed into a secondary role, I do find myself wishing that Chuck Dixon had acknowledged that not everyone would know who this Eddie Flyer guy is and as such it might be a bit much to ask the reader to invest their interest in the plight of a character that had been simply dumped into the spotlight with the only clues to his identity being that he hangs around with Connor Hawke & his name is Eddie Flyer. Plus, when the far more engaging material of Deathstroke & Black Canary's partnership is being regulated to brief little visits where they face relatively minor dangers, I find myself growing a bit annoyed at Chuck Dixon's decision to focus on Eddie Flyer.

As for the adventure aspects of this issue, I'll start off with the partnership between the Black Canary & Deathstoke, as these two make for a fairly amusing odd couple. Now Chuck Dixon doesn't give these two all that much to do as every danger they're faced with is pretty easily dealt with by using Deathstroke's gun. However their brief scenes together do include a fairly nice debate on their differing motivations, and while they're not in any danger during the scene I did enjoy the dialogue exchange between the two as they watch the giant sea turtles have it out with the flying dinosaurs. As for the rest of the guest characters, fans of Connor Hawke are likely to be left a bit disappointed as he's usher off to the sidelines with a suddenness that one can only assume that Chuck Dixon feels the fans have come to solely to read about the adventures of Eddie Flyer. And as for Eddie Flyer he's basically run through the wringer that all good hero's face as he's tortured, makes his escape and then teams up with a woman who betrayed Connor Hawke, and is likely preparing to do the same once Eddie turns his back on her.

Dave Ross does a pretty fair job on the background elements of this issue, as the dinosaurs, sea turtles, and the jungle landscape are all quite impressively rendered. I also enjoyed the chameleon effect that is used to show Camorogue's ability in action, though I still have to wonder why her costume leaves her eyes completely visible, as this does seem to be a fairly major design flaw. The art is also quite expressive when it needs to be with Connor's face when he's betrayed by Camorogue, and the look of surprise on Dinah's face when the beach around her springs to life being two great examples. My one problem with the art though is that when there's no action playing out on the page then the work gets a bit flat & unimaginative when it comes to detailing the story, as the talking heads scenes are pretty much straight on head shots. The art also doesn't really convey the horror of what is suppose to be occurring inside that underground lab complex in the final pages, though part of the blame here could fall on the single color scheme that Wildstorm FX decides to make use of, as nothing on these pages is allowed to capture one's eye.

Final Word:
If you're a fan of Connor Hawke then you had best skip this issue. If you're a regular Birds of Prey reader then you're likely to be disappointed with the rather uneventful nine pages that focus on the Black Canary's interaction with the mercenary Deathstroke. However if you're like Chuck Dixon, and you apparently consider this Eddie Flyer character to be the best thing since sliced bread then you're in for a treat, as most of this issue is turned over to this character. Now I realize that this is Chuck Dixon's last kick at the can as all his other DC work has pretty much wrapped up, but I can't say I care overly much for his decision to hand over his last Birds of Prey adventure to characters he was playing around with before this current BOP series even began. It also doesn't help matters much that the action that we do get is rather uninspired work, with the rather silly idea of the pet dinosaur acting to provide Eddie Flyer with his all too convenient escape.



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