Chuck Dixon created the mold when he delivered the first Birds of Prey mini-series that later spawned a comic series that's passed 100 issues, and a short-lived television series that never quite found its wings. But I really think Gail Simone is the shining star of the series. She has the women's rap down, and she's tech-savvy and seems to enjoy world-building, military hardware, politics, and history. All things that I gravitate to in storytelling. Simone is an absolute gem when it comes to creating captivating characterization.
In this last offering of issues rendered as a graphic novel, the Birds come into their own in many ways. Instead of the group just being Black Canary operating undercover with Barbara Gordon (Oracle) as backup, Huntress has been added in, as well as Lady Blackhawk. They work well as a group, and all of them are individuals with different triggers and goals.
This graphic novel concerns itself with a religious cult that has a surprise villain I truly didn't see coming until X was on the page. Yet, X really fit. That's the magic that Simone brings to her work – it's all a logical outgrowth of characters and situations. The later section of the book deals with the aftermath of the Gang War storyline that ran through the Bat books and ended in the loss of a major Robin-centric character that I still haven't agreed with.
As always, Ed Benes's artwork is lush and almost pure cheesecake – except that he does action and body language and backgrounds so darn well. He's the perfect artist for a book like Birds of Prey, but he quickly moved on to the revamped Justice League of America title written by New York Times best-seller, Brad Meltzer.
If you haven't checked out a Birds of Prey comic book/graphic novel and only have the television series to judge from, I'd suggest picking up any of Simone's graphic novels. Or any of Chuck Dixon's. If you're wanting kick-butt heroines who always win the snappy retort contest in the middle of a melee, pick up this graphic novel and/or the monthly comic.Powered by Sidelines