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Birds of Prey #100

Posted: Thursday, November 23, 2006
By: Michael Bailey



“Blood & Circuits: Part One A Chance to do Good”/”Keepsakes”

Writers: Gail Simone/Tony Bedard with Gail Simone
Artists: Nicola Scott (p), Doug Hazlewood (i)/Paulo Sequiera and Robin Riggs (art)

Publisher: DC Comics


Plot: Oracle puts a new team of Birds together to rescue the daughter of a former enemy from a bogus drug charge. This attracts the attention of a very powerful figure in the intelligence and law enforcement community. Meanwhile, Dinah begins to pack up her belongings and relates some stories of her past to Sin.

Commentary: One hundred issues. This title has made it to the one hundredth issue. That is amazing. I’m not surprised because this book has been a solid read month after month (with a few speed bumps along the way) but a book that has a nearly all-female cast succeeding and sometimes flourishing in today’s market is truly something special.

(Yes, it could be argued that the Birds of Prey could have just as easily been a team of men sometimes as women, but I don’t buy that. The relationships between the characters going back to Chuck Dixon’s run on the book have always had a distinctly feminine feel. Just because they kick ass and take names doesn’t mean they’re masculine or girls “standing in” for the guys.)

I enjoyed the intro of this issue, despite not recognizing some of the characters shown. (I’m slipping, something simply must be done.) It was interesting to see the different reactions, and I’m sure that there are certain people (actually one gentleman in particular that I know) who was jazzed to see the female Dr. Light get some screen time. I don’t know if Gail is going to continue with the revolving cast with a few stalwarts, but I really liked watching Oracle picking and choosing her team based on their skills. It would certainly make for some interesting team-ups and keep the book fresh arc after arc. It was really awesome to see Manhunter take a prominent role in the story, and I thought Gail used her to good effect. It was also awesome to see Big Barda. She is such a fun character, and I never tire of seeing her in this type of story.

And then there’s Lady Blackhawk, who if I was predisposed to have a crush on a fictional pencil and ink drawing I would. Zinda is a character that I never saw coming but really fell for in terms of wanting her to stay around. (And there’s nothing wrong with her costume, despite how some people feel.)

The only problem in this issue was the introduction of Katarina Armstrong. I’m not judging the character before I get to “know” her better, but I think it was a bit over the top to have her whip out her credentials and it turn out to be this laundry list of government agencies. There is such a thing as too much, and I realize that the strategy here was to set her up as a complete bad ass, but at the same time it was a little off putting.

I could end up being wrong, though and digging on Katarina. That’s entirely possible. I’ve changed my mind before.

“Keepsakes” was a great exploration of Dinah Lance as a character. It was very nice of Gail and Tony to give us this story since I’m not quite ready to give her up yet. Even still, this was a quiet little piece that was part character drama, part catch-up. The writers gave us just about everything we needed to know about Dinah and furthered the reasons why she gave up being in the Birds of Prey. Sin continues to be a great addition to Dinah’s life, and the theme of mothers and daughters came through nicely.

And nothing makes me smile more than seeing Captain Carrot and Yankee Poodle make a “guest appearance”. Bring back the Zoo Crew! Yeah, I wrote that, and I’d write it again if there was a good enough reason.

In The End: A new era begins! How often have we as comic readers read or heard that? Well, as clichéd as it may be, it also applies here. Gail Simone has kicked off a new “epoch” for the Birds and a change in format that has a lot of potential. The cover of this book stated that this was a “Special Extra Sized Anniversary Issue,” and it was indeed special. Gail turned in a tight story that had the usual action, drama and suspense that those of us who like the series have come to expect in addition to a tender, character driven back-up feature. Even with the slight problem I had with Katarina, this was a truly great issue, and it generated a lot of excitement in me for the future of this series.



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