Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #1

by Tori B. on August 17, 2016

There’s evil afoot and this time it’s taken on the name of a superhero and quite frankly, ruining her reputation. So the hunt begins to find this wrongdoer to put things right again, and a problem as serious as this means they won’t give up easily, no matter who stands in their way.


Publisher: DC

Writer: Julie Benson & Shawna Benson

Artist: Claire Roe

Colours: Allan Passalaqua

Letters: Steve Wands


Birds Of Prey is always an exciting title to get into, but that excitement means that there’s a lot of expectations when going into a series, and they’re set even higher when a series starts over because it has to be have something that older fans want, while bringing something exciting to grasp the attention of new fans. Batgirl and the Birds of Prey is a hodgepodge of many things, trying very hard to cover its ground in that sense. Some choices work, others don’t and all together it’s mostly cohesive but not exactly thrilling.

The main premise of the story is interesting enough. Someone has taken the handle Oracle and is using it for jobs that the real Oracle herself wouldn’t approve of, so Barbara has taken it on herself to hunt this fake Oracle down. She of course is in over her head and calls for backup, long-time friend Dinah Lance aka Black Canary. Together they begin the hunt which leads them to an agressive lady with a crossbow, Huntress. Turns out Huntress is kind of after the same thing-- well the same people, she has different plans for how to deal with them. Naturally they choose to all team up. Which brings us to the line up of the Birds of Prey we all know and love.

The structure of the story is pretty sound, it gets readers where they want, how it got there gets a little lengthy. Some pages are dialogue heavy, which is fine if the dialogue is particularly engaging, but most of it hands out a lot of story explanation; the girls are dealing with a mob/mafia scenario so there’s a lot of family names being thrown about over backstabbing, betrayl, that sort of thing. Either that or Batgirl and Huntress are having a catty bicker. Considering how much is jammed into the last handful of pages, but the first couple pages don’t really move the story forward, it takes the pacing of the story in a direction that is followable but not necessarily fun or easy. But, the first couple pages were some of the best terms of that art that comes in the issue. The darker, ashy, colours set off a cool tone that goes well with the dark lines and exaggerated expressions, and Dinah especially has a cool profile. As the story progresses, the colour scheme changes and the art goes from edgy to overly cartoony. The bright colours all of a sudden make the expressions look over exaggerated in a less flattering way and it’s almost hard to take the characters seriously, when they’re dealing with a serious issue.

It’s understandable that they want to hold onto fans of the Batgirl of Burnside era (it was a fun take on a beloved character) but the purple and yellow don’t fit into the story they want to tell. They secretive operatives, nothing about her outfit says espionage. Not to mention the action panels seems quite static. Overall the art’s pretty hit or miss throughout the issue. At some points it seems really cool, and a page later it definitely no longer seems as good, only to kind of pick up again later.

There just seems to be a lack of overall consistency throughout the issue which holds it back from being the great series that it has the potential to be. It’s all there, it’s just not being executed properly, because they’re trying so hard to bring in too many elements. A little more of an edit to really focus on the key elements that they really want to bring to the story could certainly help it pop more.

Hopefully they find that element in the future that really takes this series to go places.

Our Score:


A Look Inside