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Birds Of Prey #60

Posted: Thursday, October 30, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: Ed Benes (p), Rob Lea and Alex Lei (i)

Publisher: DC

Plot:
After seeing Savant getting locked up in Arkham where he is subjected to a particularly aggressive question session about what he knows about Oracle, we look in on the Huntress as she discovers a powerful US senator is interested in getting his hands on Savant's files, which he's convinced are in Oracle's possession. The issue than ends with Barbara making a rather shocking choice after Dinah turns down her offer to help her battle crime within the safe confines of the Clocktower.

Comments:
I realize that it's simply a character arc, and given we're seeing similar behavior from Barbara over in the pages of "Nightwing" it would appear that there's been some degree of communication between the various writing teams about Barbara's newly found realization that she has surrounded herself with people that she cares for that are constantly putting their lives in danger. However, this is a bad idea in my eyes, as it's never a good idea to make a character an obstacle when it comes to letting others get involved in the fan-pleasing action sequence, as one of the biggest mistakes that the Spider-Man writers made with the character Mary Jane was to have her launching into a continuing tirade about how Peter was forever putting his life in danger. Now yes it's a valid concern, and I'm sure the wives/husbands of fire fighters and police officers go through the same mental anguish, but in a comic book all this type of behavior does is sour the readers on a character, as they change from a useful ally to an annoying obstacle, and the silly Spider-Man writers managed to paint themselves into a corner so that they had essentially dump Mary Jane into comic limbo for the better part of two years, before they could bring her back. Now the idea of the US government coming after Barbara is an interesting idea, and her decision on the final page was quite shocking, but I must confess I'm deeply concerned by the path that has been chosen for the character.

As for the art, you have to love the idea that when Dinah isn't in costume battling criminals she's spending her free time in her underwear, and even though she spends most of the issue in a wheel chair, Ed Benes still finds a way to get her in all manner of sexy looking poses. However, when one does look past this cheesecake art there are some fairly impressive pieces of art in this issue, starting with the credit page shot of Arkham, which looks nothing like what we've seen of the place before, but I have to confess it's a rather clever design. The sequence where Savant is beaten also manages to impress as those impact shots truly look painful. However, this issue also manages to present the idea that all female characters look exactly the same, and all that it takes for the Huntress to look exactly like the Black Canary is to wear her costume and slap on a blond wig, and this is a bit worrisome.

Final Word:
Since I used up most of my space up above whining about Barbara's new mother hen attitude, I'll devote this final column to discussing everything but. Basically this issue is a continuation of the Savant plot, as we see he's still playing a role in the book even after he's gotten himself locked up in Arkham, and the information that he appears to offer up is sure to make Barbara regret her rather hasty final page decision. Now I have to say I'm not overly impressed by the addition of the Huntress to the cast as frankly it takes some attention away from Dinah, and with this issue's final page I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little concerned that Dinah was slowly being written out of these pages, which in my mind would be the worst mistake a writer could possibly make on this title. However, I'm sure Gail Simone is smart enough to realize that the Barbara/Dinah relationship is the engine that drives this book, and she is simply creating some dramatic tension by appearing to endanger this relationship. It's working pretty well though, as that final page is a dozy.



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