Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

BIRDS OF PREY: TROUBLE IN MIND by Duane Swierczynski & Jesus Saiz


Birds of Prey has been one of my favorite comic books since Chuck Dixon first paired Oracle (Barbara Gordon, Batgirl) and Black Canary. I loved the repartee and the combination of brawn and brains that having Oracle guide Black Canary on her adventures brought to the stories. Then other costumed heroines were added and things got even more action packed.

With the shake up of the DC universe in the New 52 and Barbara Gordon’s return to the cowl and her own series, I regretted the loss of the team and of writer Gail Simone. I’ve read Duane Swierczynski’s crime novels and really enjoyed them but didn’t know how he would do as the writer for the book. As it turns out, Swierczynski does a bang-up job all the way around.

The author loves intricately plotted stories that seems simple on the outset, but once you’re into them, things change and shift rapidly. This first graphic novel introduces a really cool villain with some technology that will ping all the conspiracy theorists out there in the audience. Choke is one of those villains I’d like to see again, and since this graphic novel ends so ambiguously, I’m assuming we will again.

I feel kind of lost not knowing why Black Canary is suddenly wanted for murder. Seems like that story might have kicked things off for the series. And I don’t know that I like the idea of her being a criminal, even though the original Black Canary was a thief/vigilante. I guess things will be cleared up as the series progresses.

I’m not quite sure what I think of Ev Starling, Swierczynski’s addition to Birds. In some ways she doesn’t really stand out enough from the rest of the team. I know she’s supposed to be this big-time spy and everything, but I don’t know much else about her or even why I should care. Black Canary can do more than Starling can when it comes to martial arts, and she has a superpower. Starling has lots and lots of guns, and I’m not sure how they fit in Birds yet.

Katana’s personality has really undergone some serious changes. At least, they have from the last time I saw her. Now she thinks her dead husband lives in her sword? Don’t remember that at all.

I do like the addition of Poison Ivy to the team! I thought that was a stroke of genius. Not only does she have some serious powers, but she also brings a lot of scientific know-how to the team to help replace what Oracle normally provided. I LOVE her new costume.

Jesus Saiz’s artwork really rocks the pages and he knows how to handle action.

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