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Birds Of Prey #76

Posted: Thursday, November 25, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell



"Hero Hunters, Part One: Teenage Wasteland"

Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: Joe Prado (p), Ed Benes (i)

Publisher: D.C. Comics

Plot:
As the book opens we see the Birds of Prey are investigating a string of murders that look to have been committed by a super-powered individual. As we learn all the victims were drug dealers it soon becomes clear that the killer is a teenage girl who is able to borrow the magical abilities of some of the DCU's most powerful magic users. However, the Birds of Prey are able to reason with her and make her give up on her revenge driven murder spree.

Comments:
This issue offers up our first look at the book's new direction, and I have to say there is something rather conventional about this month's effort that leaves me a little concerned. Now part of the problem is that the story pretty much follows the predictable path as the issue sets up a situation where the identity of the murderer is pretty obvious from the word go, and the resolution is petty much what one would expect to find. In my time as a comic reader I must have seen this story play out dozens of times, as the idea of a overly aggressive hero who is driven by revenge is a staple plot device as is the big scene where the hero manages to convince the individual to cool their jets and recognize that killing people is not the answer. In fact just once I'd like to see a story like this where the rage driven vigilante decide to stay the course, as it's become almost a matter of course that the character is going to see the light, and our heroes are able to walk away feeling better about the fact that they've helped steer a misguided individual in the right direction. Still this issue does have a pretty high entertainment value thanks largely to the simple fact that the young woman possesses the ability to borrow the powers of some heavy hitters in the DCU, as Dinah essentially squares off against Doctor Fate, Zatanna and Captain Marvel in this issue, and she puts on an impressive show while doing so. The issue also does a pretty solid job of developing the reason why this young woman would be on a tear against the local drug dealers.

Joe Prado brings a rougher looking style to this book, but Ed Benes' finishes serve to tighten up the work quite a bit, and the finished product is actually quite impressive. The most important element of this issue is the art's ability to capture the rather diverse array of powers that the young woman can draw upon, and art does a pretty effective job of making it pretty easy to follow what's happening on the page, with the murder attempt using the floating car being particularly effective. The scene where the Black Canary destroys the car is also quite impressive, as is the battle in the final pages as Dinah faces off against the power of Shazam. I do have to say I was a little disappointed by this issue's cover image though, as Greg Land presence on the previous issues had set the bar pretty high, and Jason Pearson's cover comes across looking like a second rate imitation of Chris Bachalo.



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