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Birds Of Prey #65

Posted: Friday, April 2, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell



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

Publisher: DC

The Plot:
As Dinah considers an proposal from Lady Shiva who has offered to train her in the fighting arts that she has mastered, we see Barbara has managed to get her hands on a cell phone, which she uses it to call the Watchtower for help. However, the help arrives in the form of the Huntress, who in the midst of rescuing Barbara has a run-in with Savant. Meanwhile Lady Shiva learns that her captive Cheshire is far more dangerous than she expected.

The Good:
I have to say I enjoyed this issue, as it manages to get its ducks neatly lined up in a row, and all the story elements seem to be working exceptionally well. There's a solid character moment, as we see Dinah is made an unexpected offer by Lady Shiva that leaves one wondering if Dinah would be able to use this knowledge to make herself a more effective hero, or would this knowledge act to corrupt her, as this issue amusingly represents with its look inside Dinah's mind in the opening pages. The half of the issue that looks in on Barbara and her efforts to escape also work exceptionally well, as it nicely played off the cliffhanger moment last issue offered up, and along the way manages to show how resourceful the character could be when she was forced into action. The issue also puts on a cute display of how utterly annoying Barbara can be when she puts her mind to it, as the exchanges she has with her captors make it quite clear she's running circles around these people when it comes to her intellectual prowess. I also have to say the Huntress is working far better in this series than I expected her to as her overly aggressive attitude is nicely contrasted by Barbara's more passive approach, and the scene where the Huntress squares off against Savant was genuinely harrowing. The scene where the Huntress makes her discovery in Barbara's clocktower was also a solid acknowledgment of a continuity element. I also enjoyed the brief visits to Lady Shiva and Cheshire, as they were a lot of fun, and the final scene between the two makes for a great cliffhanger.

If there's anything good to be said about CrossGen’s recent troubles it's that it's has freed up a number of talented artists who were pulled away largely from DC's side of the fence, and this in turn results in a great looking cover from Greg Land. I do hope that this is a regular gig, as the only thing better than getting to see his work gracing the covers would be seeing inside the book as well. However, while I'd welcome Greg Land's return with open arms (or Butch Guice for that matter), I will give Ed Benes credit for steadily winning me over with his work on this title, as he does a fantastic job on the opening pages of this issue as we're treated to a look at how Dinah imagines herself in the future if she accepts Lady Shiva's offer. The book also delivers a nice sense of urgency in the scenes where the Huntress is tearing her way through the guards around the prison, and the panels of her fight with Savant are also well presented. The scene where Cheshire pulls out the claws was also nicely done, as one has to love the look of victory on her face that carries us into the next issue.

The Bad:
I don't really have much to complain about when it comes to this issue, as it stands up as the most enjoyable of Gail Simone's run on the title. However since I do have the room I'll take a moment to make mention of an underlying concern that has become more pressing the further we move into Gail Simone's run, and that the book seems to have become more grounded. Now normally I'd applaud a book for making an active effort to bring a stronger sense of realism to the stories, but one of the more endearing qualities of this title was it's wholehearted embrace of the comic-book conventions. I mean this book had Dinah running around on Apokolips, battling blood-crazed Vikings in the past, and teaming up with Deathstroke on an island populated by dinosaurs. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I'd like to see this book make a return some more over-the top plots. Now I realize that every respectable James Bond fan will instantly list Sean Connery as the best Bond, but in my books Roger Moore is the top dog thanks in large part to the dangers that his Bond faced were more overwhelming in nature. Are his films goofy? Yeah sure there are times when the films are trying too hard to be funny. Are his gadgets a little too handy? Sure most times it seems like Q is psychic in his ability to provide Bond with exactly the gadget that he needed to save the world. However, if nothing else the Moore bond films have the most thrilling opening scenes of all the Bond films, and these types of grandiose, hair-raising escapes are what I'd love to see brought back to the pages of this comic.

Go On, Pull My Finger:
A very entertaining issue, as Gail Simone brings the two plots together, and offers up a fair bit of plot advancement along the way, as Barbara makes an active effort to escape her captors, while Dinah is made privy to the big secret that out evil Senator has been looking to keep under his hat. Combine this with a couple genuinely exciting moments as the Huntress battles Savant & Cheshire reveals she's far more dangerous than Lady Shiva would seem ready to deal with, and you have a near perfect issue. Now yes the book does require Barbara's captors to be a little slow, as having the guards walking around with cell phones should be actively discouraged for the very reason that Barbara exploits in this issue. I also have to wonder what Dinah had been looking to accomplish by visiting the Senator's house beyond showing him that she knew the secret that he was seeking to protect, and making herself a target. Still this is a solid issue, and as I mentioned above it stands up as my personal favorite of Gail Simone's run on the title, as it manages to tie all it's plot elements together quite nicely, and deliver some engaging action along the way.



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