Birds of Prey (vol.2) #1 (July, 2010)
“Endrun, Part One of Four: Without Breaking a Few Eggs”
Writer – Gail Simone
Artist – Ed Benes
Colorist – Nei Ruffino
Letterer – Steve Wands
Editor – Janelle Siegel
Cover Price: $2.99
Finally… Birds of Prey. I think with this issue we’ve covered at least one Brightest Day issue from each “family” of titles.
Now, I wasn’t necessarily “saving” the Birds for last… it’s just that my comics library is kind of a disaster area. If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you’ll see just how crazy my latest attempt at organization has been!
Anyhoo… let’s talk Boyds!
We open with Black Canary arriving somewhere… very cold (Iceland, I think), for a hostage exchange with a group of nogoodniks. There are strings attached, however. The lead baddie informs her that he’ll let the little girl go if her parents will hold a press conference to apologize for messing around in Quarac… oh, and also to publicly kill themselves. Dinah has a different idea.
After calling in Lady Blackhawk… and beating the holy hell out of the baddies, the ladies reconnoiter at a nearby hospital. A live television airs the news of the rescue of Katy… but leaves Dinah’s name out of it. Lady Blackhawk is a bit annoyed… but Dinah informs her that she asked not to be mentioned. Their chat is cut short by… a call.
A call from Oracle. She informs the girls that something major has come up… so major that they need to pull the team back together.
On another monitor, Barbara watches another former “Bird”… Huntress! She’s in the midst of crackin’ skulls in some alley somewhere. As the dust settles, Babs makes contact.
Elsewhere… on the “nice side” of Gotham, we Dove and the resurrected Hawk as they… beat up a bunch of cheerleaders?! No kidding, Hank Hall and Dawn Granger are beating up the “Pep Squad”. Ay yai yai. Hawk makes a few cryptic comments about his return… and claims that “God wants a soldier”. Because, in case you’d forgotten (like I had!), this is a Brightest Day tie-in!
We jump ahead a few hours to a bar… and it’s here that the storytelling kinda gets jumbled. Maybe it’s just a case of me being too dense, but it almost feels like some of these panels are out of sequence. Hank is chatting up an old man… and sorta flirting with the (sorta Barbara Gordon-looking) waitress. Meanwhile, Lady Blackhawk enters and starts talking to Dawn… about Hank? Feels like a scene written for television… but stuck in a comic book anyway.
The scene ends with… I think Lady Blackhawk asking if Hawk is gay… then Hawk and Dove deciding to throw their lot in with the Birds? I dunno.
We shift scenes to a Gotham City rooftop, where we finally get our Oracle/Black Canary/Huntress reunion. Unfortunately, their meeting isn’t under the best of circumstances. Barbara shares with them that she’d recently received a strange package from a homeless courier. The package included files upon files of information about the hero and villain community… secret identities, people of interest, all that stuff!
What’s more, the unknown sender has threatened to kill one of the names on the list every hour from midnight on. And wouldn’tcha know it… the clock is just about to strike.
They speculate on what’s about to happen… when they notice a strange canary-esque symbol being shone into the sky. They (Dinah and Helena) follow it and discover a woman threatening… the Penguin!
The Birds get involved… and kinda get their butts kicked. The mystery assassin then jabs a blade into the Penguin’s jugular… and dares them to try and save him. This woman is… White Canary (not that we’d know that quite yet).
Not a bad little “gathering of forces” issue to open up this too-short volume. It’s kind of paint by numbers… but, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The oldest tricks are sometimes the best.
Joining each other characters “en media whatever” is a fine way to introduce them… and helps potential “new” readers (ha!) to get a better look at them outside of the “Birds” dynamic.
The premise is a really intriguing one… and a great way to keep these characters “busy” while the rest of Brightest Day can… ya know, happen. Again, the concept of a dossier isn’t exactly revolutionary, but it’s a lot of fun… and opens up several interesting storytelling possibilities.
I’m not sure how popular an opinion this is, but I’ve always dug Ed Benes’ art. It’s clean, and pretty… and, outside of that odd bar-scene the storytelling was clear and easy to follow.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with this. Birds of Prey is one of those books which exemplifies just what was being thrown away when The New-52! was foisted upon us. Well worth checking out… and, for your convenience is available digitally.