New 52 – Birds of Prey #9 review

Finally! Someone else got the memo that these Talons are supposed to be bad ass.

First things first, get this book. I think it might be my favorite of the cross-over so far.

Second, when you read it, listen to this:

This is “Birds of Prey” meets “Halloween” meets “Gangs of New York” so yeah, I liked it. Plus, the fact that Travel Foreman is taking over art duties and it’s a pretty amazing one-and-done issue. I’m a big fan of “Animal Man” and was pretty bummed to hear that Travel was leaving the book for this series, but now I’m quite happy with it. His work on this book looks even better than what he was doing on “Animal Man” and that is really saying something. I’m liking Black Canary’s new costume (seems to always be changing), the Talon here is absolutely terrifying in his design, and seeing the girls from his perspective was a very nice touch. The way the Talon tries to make sense of the modern world and we get these 1800s style depictions of the Birds of Prey was a cool idea.

When it comes to story: this is a horror flick. And it’s about damned time. Sure, I was kinda perturbed how the girls had to run so much as opposed to 10 year old Damian Wayne who lopped off the head of his Talon without any trouble, but I prefer not to think of it as degrading to these girls. Instead, I see it as author Duane Swierczynski actually doing the Night of Owls right. Damian’s Talon shouldn’t have been so easy. Red Hood’s Talon should never have ran away, what was that all about? Batgirl’s Talon never did anything but set off a few balloons–really, you had to reanimate her dead corpse just so she could send off a few 60 year old bombs? William Cobb and Alexander Staunton were nearly unstoppable monsters and the fights they had with Nightwing, Batman, and Batwing were edge-of-your-seat intense. That’s how it should be and Swierczynski clearly understands that because this Talon, Henry Ballard, would send Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers running for the hills!

So the whole book is the Birds of Prey trying their hardest to bring down Ballard but no matter what they do he always comes back. It’s scary, it’s action packed, and it’s even funny (Starling fans will be especially thrilled). Of course, the last half of the book is not quite as impressive as the picture perfect first half and there are a few too many things happening off-panel. The problems I had with the book are small, but here they are:

How does Barbara know the Talon’s weakness, when did she talk to Batman? Black Canary received the same call from Batman as everyone else yet seems to have tuned out the fact that they’re undead regenerative assassins called Talons and Barbara had to fill her in on everything again. I wish that Black Canary and Kitana could have had a bad-ass moment in the end like the other girls, as it stands they were both ineffective in this mission. And what exactly was the talon there to do? Every other Talon was given a specific mission, but his simply seems to be to terrorize the Birds of Prey.

Overall, this was fantastic and I loved every minute of reading it. I had a couple of tiny nitpicks, but they were only nitpicks, not real problems that hurt my enjoyment in any way. I wish all of the Talons in the other tie-in books were this scary.

SCORE: 9/10