With so many reviews to go through I might be getting a bit more blunt as the day goes on…but this kind of sucked and was really short.
Granted, I haven’t read any of Birds of Prey after the first volume and the Night of the Owls tie-in but even then the series was never all that great. But I’m really, really not feeling this new line-up. With Katana and Poison Ivy gone the new team had to fill its ranks with Strix and Condor. Strix is the talon assassin from Batgirl #9 and the Batgirl Annual. She’s basically the New 52 replacement for Cassandra Cain. She’s mute, she’s a bad ass assassin, and she wears a cool uniform that keeps her face completely covered. Basically the same character only Strix can communicate by spelling (Cassandra spoke via martial arts– yeah I didn’t get it either) and from what I remember of the Batgirl episodes, she might have the mind of a child though I’m sure that’s probably been dropped. And as for Condor? Condor is a dude. What’s he doing on the Birds of Prey? I don’t know anything else about this guy but I was definitely caught off guard by the fact that a man was now on the BoP.
So it’s a brand new arc and a good jumping on point for new readers, right? Right. Unlike Batwoman #18, this comic is fairly easy to access. It’s a team of crime-fighting super heroines (plus a guy named Condor) and then Mr. Freeze shows up and they fight him. There’s not even a middle and an end to this. It’s really that straight forward unlike the far more complex Batwoman #18 which also featured Mr. Freeze and dealt with multiple other subplots as well. There’s not a whole lot of substance here to discuss. Nearly the entire story takes place inside of the Birds of Prey’s dojo. We only leave it to see the opening prologue of Mr. Freeze torturing a Talon. Apparently Mr. Freeze wants revenge on all the Talons for coming after him back in the Night of the Owls, which is honestly one of the freshest plots for a Mr. Freeze story I’ve seen in some time. It’s not about finding Nora and it’s not about freezing the world because Nora is dead and everyone else can go screw themselves. It’s different. Still revenge! Don’t get me wrong, he’s still all about the revenge and the freezing but at least it’s a different target.
Quick points to make that are spoilers:
- Batgirl shouldn’t have a chin guard. It looks weird. Like she has a beard. This isn’t a spoiler, but I didn’t know where else to put it.
- Canary gets all upset when Strix and Condor break a giant glass wall during a sparring session. Instead of getting mad at them, maybe don’t build a glass dojo?
- The diner scene didn’t add much of anything to the story
- There’s way less Starling than usual which may be a good thing or a bad thing. I always loved the character but I can see that she may have hijacked the series since I’ve left and fans might be getting tired of her.
- Canary remains conscious after being frozen? I know we shouldn’t bring real world science into the effects of being blasted with Mr. Freeze’s ray and all but I always assumed for whatever reason that the person frozen beneath was actually frozen through and through. If not, then every person Freeze sprays would suffocate to death.
- Why flee? Mr. Freeze runs away at the end of this with Starling as a hostage. He had the birds on the ropes here, by the way. They smacked him upside his overly protected head with a sandbag and he decides to cheese it? You have a freeze gun! You’re Mr. Freeze! What’s going on today? First we have Batman acting like a wimp over in Catwoman #18 and now this? Mr. Freeze should be relentless, especially in moments when his opponents ace in the hole is to hit him with a sandbag.
I will be reviewing next month’s gatefold cover, but I don’t see myself sticking around this series for too long after. The artwork by Romano Molenaar was adequate at best and the drab colors didn’t do his pencils any favors either. It was overall a pretty darn forgettable comic. And if you’re looking to get your Mr. Freeze fix, the Mr. Freeze fight from the first couple pages of Batwoman #18 was more exciting than the entirety of the battle that took up this comic’s second half. Birds of Prey #18 may be fairly accessible to new readers, but I don’t recommend they spend their $2.99 on it. You could read the whole comic while standing at the shelf of your comic shop. It’s that short.