Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

BIRDS OF PREY #02 by Gail Simone and Ed Benes

Gail Simone and Ed Benes are really hitting their stride in this fantastic return of the Birds of Prey. The first issue rocked from Page One, and the beat remains frenetic throughout this issue as well.

There’s a new villainess in town, and she’s calling herself White Canary. I think her actual history, when it’s revealed, is going to be interesting. Recently, Diana (Black Canary) lost her granddaughter (man, it’s hard to believe she’s a grandma and still kicking butt the way she does) in a violent incident that’s still got Arsenal/Red Arrow’s life spinning out of control. Maybe I’m judging too quickly, but I’m beginning to wonder if the granddaughter wasn’t stolen and taken on a time trip to return as a full-grown, mucho angry young woman with immense martial arts talents.

Hmmmm. We’ll see.

In the meantime, the Birds (with their ranks puffed up due to the addition of Hawk and Dove — probably being groomed for their own series again) have managed to become outlaws. Their confrontation with the cops in this book, especially with whichever nefarious villain is pulling the strings, guarantees they aren’t going to be given the keys to the city any time soon.

I’m also wondering what Oswald Cobblepot is eventually going to be in this series. Especially if our heroines and token hero (Hawk) are gonna be traveling with the underworld crowd. After all, the Penguin is also a bird of prey.

The action is intense in this issue, comprising only moment as the final pages spill out. The plot advances nicely, and there are a lot of great moments for Ed Benes to cut loose with the artwork that he’s known for. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: No one draws superheroines with the same flair that Benes did. He manages to work his magic even in panels crowded with characters and word balloons. The artist is simply amazing.

But Simone is shining in this one as well. I like what she’s doing with the characters. I like the fact that both Black Canary and Oracle are thrown for a loop by all the twists and turns that are catching them flat-footed. I especially like the strong bond that’s kicking in between Black Canary and Huntress. They’ve never quite shared that before, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of it.

Zinda remains a hoot, but she got kind of eclipsed in this issue. Hopefully she’s get some aerial action before long and make up for lost time. I like her character a lot, and I love when she steals the scene from time to time just by being blunt.

The twist that Oracle has to deal with in the middle of all the action as things fall apart was totally unexpected. I’m interested in seeing how that shakes out as well.

All in all, I’m hanging by my fingertips, wondering what’s going to hit the fan next. Pick up the last couple issues and I guarantee you’ll get immediately lost in the story and the gorgeous art.


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