Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

BIRDS OF PREY #1 by Gail Simone and Ed Benes

When Chuck Dixon first created the Birds of Prey, I fell in love with his characterization of Barbara Gordon and Black Canary. It was interesting to watch as the relationship developed. Barbara knew who Dinah was, but Dinah had no clue who was calling the shots on their team. The series progressed and the Huntress was added to the lineup. As well as Catwoman.

I hated to see Dixon leave. I still haven’t found anyone who writes comics as well as he does, in my opinion. At least, not the action adventure kind of comics. Geoff Johns still gives the best character and depth. But I digress.

The comic series stumbled for a while as writers try to find the pulse that made the Birds sing so well. Thankfully, Gail Simone came along and carried the series too lofty heights once more. Like Dixon, she totally got these women and that the book centered as much on their relationship as on the plot and villains.

And Ed Benes… No one ever made the Birds look so pretty. I love his artwork no matter what he does. I discovered him when he was doing the Supergirl title with Peter David. I picked up those books for the art. Then, when he was put on Birds, it was a match made in heaven. Whenever Benes isn’t drawing a female driven book, I seriously think a lot of his talent goes to waste.

And now, back together again, Simone and Benes have launched a new Birds series. When I saw the cover, I couldn’t wait. Barbara, Black Canary, Huntress, and Zinda, Lady Blackhawk, our all featured prominently on the cover.

However, Hawk and Dove — newly returned from the dead as a result of Blackest Night — are in the background. I hadn’t thought of it before, but the two of them uniquely fit the Birds. Except for the fact that Hawk is male. Of course, that’s only going to guarantee more friction in the relationships, especially since he tends to be something of a misogynist these days.

This first issue sets up a lot of things. We get action from the start, which is a staple of the series, and things really don’t slow down. The violence is brutal and bloody, and Black Canary and Lady Blackhawk have no reason to pull punches.

Benes’s art is dead on, but the inking is heavier than I have ever seen it. The pages tend to the dark, mostly from the lighting in the panels, but some of it may be from the print run. I like it, but it does look different. I like the breakdowns and Benes showcases our heroines to their best advantage. The panels are also quite busy at times too, providing more eye candy.

I really enjoyed the action sequences with Huntress and Hawk and Dove and I look forward to more of the same. The relationship shared by Hawk and Dove looks like it’s going to be a rocky one. And I don’t know exactly how it’s going to shake out. But that’s good.

And the introduction to White Canary? Man, I can’t wait for next issue!


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