Variant Girl and IronMuskrat Review Birds of Prey #1

Posted: May 13, 2010 in CCW Review, DC Comics, Opinion, Reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

Title: Birds of Prey #1
Written by: Gail Simone
Art by: Ed Benes
Published by: DC Comics
Price Tag: $2.99

People have often asked the question, can you go home again? The short answer to that is yes, especially when it comes to Birds Of Prey. Gail Simone has reunited with her super clad girls, and in doing so has delivered to fans both old and new an action packed helluva first issue.

Simone has demonstrated her ability to write multiple team based superhero comics, by way of Secret Six as well as Birds Of Prey. She is fantastic at giving a separate and individual voice to each character. She combines wickedly interesting dialogue between all the characters while giving the reader just the right amount of action to keep you wanting to turn the page.

No need to sweat if you are a newbie to this title because this is a great jumping on point. Simone provides enough of a back story to get you in the loop, while at the same time not boring the fans from the original series. Reboots can be tricky at best, and if not handled with the right pen, you can have the potential to be get a giant let down, and a drag.

The art work of Ed Benes has always drawn a bit of split crowd amongst fans. But I have to say that he certainly brought his A game to this project. In my humble opinion, Benes has a talent for, how should I say, extenuating the various attributes of the female form. Or to put it simply the man can draw some pretty decent T & A. The art work was capped off with the collaborative effort by Nei Ruffino on colouring, which really brought everything together nicely.

Not only was there the reuniting of the Birds, but there was also an introduction of Hawk and Dove to the story line two characters that I admittedly donโ€™t know very much about but hope to learn more about in future issues. We were also introduced to a brand new villain, The White Canary who seemed pretty cool and interesting. I particularly enjoy it when the comic book leaves you hanging on that last page. The anticipation for the next issue just revโ€™s you up.

All in all to sum up, this was a solid issue for me. Great start and am on board. Check it out if you are looking for something fun which portrays women heroes in a very strong and positive light. This books gets the big HOORAY FOR COMICS!

-Cami/Variant Girl

———————————————————————-

Gail Simone and Ed Benes kick off the relaunch of the Birds of Prey title under the ‘Brightest Day’ event (I know, I am breaking my own rules again). I have to admit up front, I never follow the original series very closely, in my younger days I wasn’t a big fan of ‘Chick’ comics. I always saw female heroes as supporting characters or sidekicks, never as characters that could headline or support a solo book. What can I say, I was an idiot back then, I’d like to think that old age has given me the wisdom to appreciate female heroes as the major players they truly are in the comic universe today.

Previous prejudices aside, I found myself enjoying this book. The plot in the first issue is a pretty standard โ€œputting the band back together’ type story. It looks like Gail Simone is bringing back most of the major players from the old series. Black Canary, Lady Blackhawk, Huntress and of course Oracle are all back. Simone is also shaking things up a bit with the addition of two new members to he team, Hawk and Dove. Well, they are not members yet, but they do get the invite from Lady Blackhawk. The addition of Hawk and Dove to the mix could be interesting to say the least. Dove was never one of my favorite characters, too much of a goodie two shoes for my liking, but I like the way Simone wrote her in this issue. Dove is left with the unenviable task of babysitting the newly resurrected Hawk, who appears to have come back to life even more pissed off and unstable than before, if that is possible. I am sure Hawk’s new found ‘solider of god’ complex will make things interesting in future stories.

Gail Simone gets us right into the action, we find previous members of the group, Black Canary, Lady Blackhawk and Huntress off doing their own thing, fighting crime, beating up bad guys, generally doing the hero thing, when they receive an urgent call from Oracle asking for help. Apparently there is a new bad guy in town and he/she has detailed personal information on not only most of the villains in Gotham, but detailed files on the ladies of the ‘Birds of Prey’ as well. This new villain wants to play a game of ‘stop me if you can’, he/she will kill a person on their list every hour until our band of heroes stop him/her, if the ladies refuse to play his game, he/she will release all of the information on the files to the general public. After a brief discussion about the possible identity of our bad guy, they are off to stop them. Oddly enough, Black Canary and Huntress find themselves in the strange position of trying to save the Penguin from being killed by this new threat. I say try because this new villain(who does turn out to be a woman) quickly outmatches Black Canary in hand to hand combat and takes out Huntress with ease. The cliff hanger leaves Penguin bleeding like a stuck pig with Black Canary and Huntress apparently helpless to do anything to help poor Oswald .

So who is this new ninja killing machine? No idea, I am guessing someone related to Lady Shiva by the way she addresses Black Canary, possible choices..

Lady Shiva- Doubt it
Some Bizarro version of Lady Shiva- Not likely
Cassandra Cain- No idea, does she have a beef with the ladies?
Marque- Who?
Sin- You tell me.

I am sure someone with more experience with the ‘Birds of Prey’ comic series can do a better job of speculating on who the ‘White Canary’ is than I.

I normally don’t spend to much time commenting on artwork in comics, I am no expert, but I know what I like and I don’t like. Boy, do I like Ed Benes’ work here on this book, I doubt they could have picked a better artist for this one, the man know how to draw the female form, and I don’t mean in the exaggerated giant boobs and butt kind of way, he is just really good at drawing athletic, beautiful women. Benes is almost too good at what he does. There is a scene early on in the comic were Huntress is kicking a bad guy in the face that makes you realize just how inappropriate her costume is for fighting crime. Lets just say I won’t be getting bored with Benes’ artwork on this book.

Overall this was a very good kickoff for the new series. Gail Simone knows how to write strong female characters and I am looking forward to seeing what she does with Dove, hopefully she can breath some life into a character I have never been very impressed with. What else can you say about Simone? She is a proven writer and has written ‘Birds of Prey’ in the past and there is no reason to think she cannot continue to write quality stories for our group of strong female heroes.

-IM

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Comments
  1. Deemar says:

    Excellent…excellente you two!

    I’m not big on Benes, but you guys make me wanna run out and buy BoP. I’ve always liked the concept.

    Oh my money is on Cassandra Cain, Didio said she’s coming back in a big way in 2010 so who knows

    • Variant Girl says:

      Hey Deemar

      Thx for the commenting :)I am glad that we have convinced you to go out and pick this up. Trust me you won’t regrett it.

  2. tomstewdevine says:

    Great reviews! I really like Nei Ruffino on colors as well, she was at my lcs on free comic book day. She is extremely nice, and beautiful too.

    • Variant Girl says:

      WU tomstewdevine

      A hot and tatented in the comic industry, wow us girls are finally making some waves LOL. It’s very cool that she was at your free comic book day. In Canada we don’t get any big names ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Thx for commenting, I appreciate it.

  3. Deemar says:

    Tommy!

    • tomstewdevine says:

      I don’t know how I missed you last night Deemar. I must have fallen asleep right after that post.

  4. generaldark says:

    ill stick around for the next couple issues but i felt kind of bored half way through. i liked the hawk and dove interactions though but everything thing else just didnt do much for me.

  5. phil says:

    My appreciation for Gail Simone and my liking of Ed Benes will trump my disdain for resurrected heroes…. for now.

    Nice co-review y’all!!

    • Variant Girl says:

      Phil, wuz up ๐Ÿ˜›

      Yeah, like I said reboots can be tricky business but Gail Simone is a very talented writer and with Benes on the art things look promising for the ladies.

      • Fallows1985 says:

        2bh I did pick up this book expecting it to be good becos it was Gail Simone she got me into reading Wonder Woman, sorry to see her go but I’ve heard good things about JMS.

      • phil says:

        Well, I picked up several recent Daredeil comics (Diggle La Torre), Doom War no. 3 B & R no. 11, !st Wave no. 2 Sheild no. 1 and the comic I wanted to talk about B oP P no. 1

        1st off, I’ve only thumbed through it, so I can’t comment on the story
        as of yet. As for the art, I guess I’m looking throgh a differnt set of
        lenses, than the two of you. Normally I’m the first guy to speak highly of
        Mr. Benes good girl-esque, Jim Lee-ish stylized artwork, but this doesn’t
        do it for me. Part of what turned me around on Invincible, aside from
        uhhm…Red and Beans constantly bombarding their viewers with ‘vinces’
        greatness, ๐Ÿ™‚ was the colorist for the later issues of Invi. The colorist
        gave the pencillers’ figure work, weight and really, substance.

        Unfortunately, in my opinion the colorist for B o P is having the
        reverse effect on EB. The line work that I’ve enjoyed has for the most
        part been lost under these tonal gradations, while not bad in and of itself,
        it does nothing to enhance Ed’s work.

        Sorry,VG and IM for coming across like such a contrarion, but that’s
        just my 2 cents I’m really not trying to bring back point / counter point ๐Ÿ™‚

        • SMARTASS8 says:

          You might be right about the colorist on Birds Of Prey is taking away from the art. I did notice it was pretty dark looking inside(almost like Dark Avengers). I couldn’t tell you any colorist by name, but they sure do bring a lot to a book. I agree with you about Invincible. I’ve never been a big fan of the art in Invincible(especially the first guy) but the color work is exceptional.

  6. Stamps says:

    Great reviews both of you.
    I was really excited to see one of my favorite titles back on the shelves after being gone for a while. it was like reading an old friend.
    Not only was Ed Benes’ art good but the colors by Nei Ruffino were of the highest quality. They really made the art pop.

    • Variant Girl says:

      Stamps,

      I agree with you. I was so stoked to hear that this was comming out and even more stoked that it lived up to my love for the orginal series. Thx for commenting and sharing your thouhts.

  7. Fallows1985 says:

    I thought that this was a good start off point, funnily enough This as well Batgirl was my favourite comics of the week mainly cos I like Oracle and I like how she interacts with different characters in the DCU. 2bh I actually thought that it would be Calculator and was kind of shocked by White Canary assuming that it was a old villain who they could tell it was, it may come to that.

    Also they thought it might be Cassandra Cain and yeah, I heard she had been a villain at some time but didnt she turn back and Batman forgive her or something, as well as Oracle.

    • Stamps says:

      I loved batgirl this week too; it was really good. Very funny dialogue and it had a cool horror aspect. People hate that book but I love it. I think that book has really found its footing as of late.
      Frankly I love pretty much anything that features Oracle.

    • Variant Girl says:

      How can anyone possibley not dig Oracle???? The character is simply awesome and is such an important part of the DCU. It was a good start, CBR gave it a 5 star review. As a matter of fact most if not all of the reviews I read were positive. Kodous to the creativce team on this one.

      • Fallows1985 says:

        2bh I was reading Red Robin and I loved how Tim had the Teen Titans and Batman and Robin help out to save Bruce Wayne’s loved ones, but the thing I loved was that Barbara actually saved herself, it did kind of make me laugh to have Wonder Girl stood there totally not needed. lol

      • Stamps says:

        Oracle is just plain bad ass

        • Fallows1985 says:

          2bh I’ve noticed that Dick Grayson doesn’t get these bad ass moments yet Oracle and Tim Drake does. Well I avnt seen much of them from Dick

  8. MicahSkin says:

    I wanna see Creote. “The Boy’s FANCY?!”

  9. SteveMcQ says:

    I was super geeked up for this as Gail’s BOP was probably my favorite comic run ever. I didn’t love this first issue, but I trust Simone with these characters and I’m still just as excited to see where she takes them. Any disappointment I had with the story had more to do with what I wanted than it did with what I got. I actually wanted less action and more reunion. The relationships between these characters is what always made this book special for me. However, I understand that you need action in a first issue. Twenty-whatever pages of people sitting around talking isn’t exactly going to grab new readers. No problem.

    What was a problem for me was the art. I only knew Benes from his previous run on this title and was pretty indifferent to his stuff. I remembered it being fine but nothing special and not to my taste. I seem to be in the minority, judging from the other comments, but I think this looks atrocious. Khoi Pham Mighty Avengers bad. Benes seems capable of drawing exactly one face and it’s not a very appealing face. Take a look at that cover. The only difference between those characters is their costume. It’s not just that though. Everything just looks really awkward. One panel with Huntress kicking a guy in the face while talking on the phone stands out in my mind without even looking. I pulled out the old Benes issues and was surprised to find that the art was better than I remembered. Much better than this. The dark muddy coloring doesn’t help things. Not pleasing to these eyes at all. The look of the book did detract from my ability to enjoy the story. That doesn’t actually happen that often for me.

    Artwork issues aside, the bottom line is this: I love Gail Simone. I love Birds of Prey. I’m excited about it’s return.

    I guess I could have just said that.

    • I’m with you on the Benes thing. I really don’t care for his stuff either. And you’re right, he did used to be better. This book needs Nicola Scott on art in my opinion.

      J.

      • SMARTASS8 says:

        I know you don’t like Benes to begin with Jose, but for me he’s always been a guilty pleasure in a poor man’s Jim Lee sort of way(along with all of Lee’s shortcomings as well). Having said that, his art really went downhill in BOP #1. Hell, even the cover looks better than what’s on the inside. I guess I’m going to have to add him to my list of artists who I used to like but not anymore along with Salvador Larroca & Mike Deodato(although, from what I understand, a lot of Deodato’s past work wasn’t even drawn by him).

        • Stamps says:

          I guess I’m the odd man out, I liked the art in it

        • phil says:

          I feel what you’re saing, especially with Sal. I have not enjoyed anything he’s done since the F4. Although Pacheco and McKone also drew F4 and were technically superior artists, Sal was able to catch that fun cosmic comic essence like the others could’nt.

  10. Deemar says:

    I had a crazy thought last night, I was thinking what if Michael Lark or Steve Epting drew BoP.

    Just to see what the book would be like if the sexuality was toned down and the book was more like GCPD or Brubaker’s run on DD

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