Gail Simone’s return to Birds of Prey is something I’ve been eagerly anticipating, and marks the first time I’ve felt the need to buy an individual issue of one of the ‘Bat books’ since the end of RIP, longer still since I bought anything to do with Birds of Prey, which was something I’d reluctantly dropped way back with the post Infinite Crisis ‘One Year Later’ shake up. Despite checking up on the title whenever a new story arc got underway, I just never felt if quite found it’s feet again, or really knew what the team should be in the context of the greater DCU.Thankfully, several things had given me hope enough to actually buy this new first issue. First and foremost amongst them, is Simone’s other team book, the consistently awesome Secret Six, which alone gives her at least the first story arc to impress me enough to convince me to keep buying. The return to Gotham, the classic team line up of Oracle, Black Canary and Huntress, and the tie in to Brightest Day, all cemented my decision.Thankfully, the book doesn’t disappoint. The issues switches back and forth between action pieces and character interaction at a constant fast pace, with every page full of believable dialogue and informative internal monologue, quickly bringing you up to speed on each member of the team, and the current status quo, without ever really feeling like it’s just setting up what’s to come. It throws you right in at the deep end, but never lets you feel overwhelmed or in the dark anymore than the plot requires.
It’s a true fresh start, simply going straight into new adventure without feeling the need to bog us down with history, or go out of it’s way to contradict anything that’s gone before. As such, I’d say this is a great jumping on point of anyone whose unfamiliar with these characters, or like me, has been out of the loop for a while, and hopefully doesn’t ruffle the feathers of any fans of the old direction.
The Brightest Day tie in is also a nice new change of pace for the series, with the addition of Hawk and Dove to the book giving the team it’s first true male team member, and a nice sense of foreboding for the no doubt earth shattering revelations of Brightest Day that will eventually unfold around Hawk. For now however, he punches a Cheerleader in the face, then throttles her while threatening to throw her off a bridge. I really hope he gets to meet the Secret Six, since he’d either fit right in or cause one hell of a fight. Most likely both.
The only slight criticism I have is that the new (or possibly old with a new get up) big bad we get introduced to seems to fall into the old evil twin cliché, but honestly there so much crammed into the issue, and all of it is so well done, that I really can’t hold it up as a reason not to buy this book.
Whether you’ve read any old Birds of Prey or not, I highly recommend this book to everyone, and I very much look forward to seeing where Simone plans on taking the Birds, and us, in the next few months.