Birds of Prey #27 “Loose Ends”
Written by Christy Marx
Art by Daniel Sampere
We’ve finally moved past the Basilisk storyline! I wasn’t a fan of Basilisk in Suicide Squad, and I definitely wasn’t a fan of it here. Unfortunately, as we move into this new arc, I feel like the book is still bogged down by the same issues it’s had since Christy Marx took over: decent idea, poor execution. Despite the overall mess that was Swierczynski’s run (granted, I strongly feel that a lot of his misses were out of his control due to tie-ins/ roster changes required by DC), he did manage to set-up strong foundations for the characters. I believe had he helmed the execution of this arc, it would’ve led to better stories with more depth. Instead, Marx took what should’ve been complex and interesting relationships, and made them shallow and juvenile. It’s almost like she was targeting an audience of teenage girls. And while I think women gravitate to Birds of Prey more than men, I don’t believe they’re teenagers that would site Twilight as one of the greatest pieces of literature of all time. Before I get murdered for “hating” on Twilight, I’m merely trying to state that its written for a specific audience. (If any Twilight fans throw their shoes at me, I’ll throw them back at you!)
Anyway, back to “Loose Ends.” This issue kicks off with a new arc for the Birds. They’re returning from their battle with Basilisk, and there’s definitely a lot of trust issues floating around. I mean, Ivy betrayed them, Starling betrayed them, they found out Condor has a history with Basilisk, Batgirl’s a mess because of her family issue, and Dinah’s a mess because of Kurt. It’s something, that if done correctly, could really create an amazing long-term dynamic for the book. But, I don’t feel confident in Marx’s ability to do that, and it just makes me feel tired because I know it’s just going to be melodramatic. Which is exactly what we get when the Birds land on the barge of their mysterious benefactor. Canary just starts blasting people with her Canary Cry because they offer to take Kurt and help him. It’s absurd. I mean, I understand that we have no idea who these people are, but it’s clear they’re not an immediate threat.
It turns out that this is Ettie’s barge – the elderly lady that Dinah met in the diner, and that Condor helped get a taxi. On her barge, however, she’s known as Mother Eve. She helped the birds with Basilisk because she needs their help in return. We get to learn more about who Mother Eve is, and I kind of love the concept of her. She’s essentially immortal, and has been around for centuries; having been a queen, a slave, and a mother within her lifetime. Naturally, as an immortal, you’re going to encounter enemies and rivals over time. Some of them might be immortal themselves… for example, Ra’s al Ghul. Mother Eve must go through a process to remain immortal, and Ra’s plans on preventing that from happening, and hopes to learn her secret to immortality in the process. This sounds pretty awesome. I’m actually excited at the potential of this arc!
Mother Eve is pretty likeable (imagine Whoopi Goldberg mixed with Oprah, and having been around for many centuries and is now kind of messiah-like). She definitely has quite a bit of wisdom that clearly stems from experience, failure, and potentially some regrets. She even starts implicating some of that wisdom to the Birds to start shaping them into the people and team we’ve been wanting them to be during this book’s New 52 existence.
BUT, before we can get to that, we need to deal with the carryover drama. An argument between Dinah and Barbara that is reminiscent of two girls in Jr. High, lead to questions about Claudine (or Uplink as she was known by Basilisk), a much needed look into Condor’s past, and what to do with Kurt. The whole encounter feels out of place and forced. On the positive note, at least we’re getting this out of the way so we can move on… right? We’re not going to have any more juvenile drama, right? Right!?
- Your intrigued by Kurt Lance’s presence
- The thought of the Birds going against Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins intrigues you
- You’re curious of Condor’s origin
- You want to be introduced to a new character that could be a game changer for the book
For more details, opinions, and spoilers, see below!
The Art: The art was just ok. There were things that I enjoyed about Sampere’s work, but his faces really bothered me. There were times that Dinah’s face looked completely different from panel to panel. If the characters hadn’t been in costume, and had there been others with the same color hair, it would’ve been hard to tell them apart. That’s never good. On top of it, a lot of characters suffered from “blank face.” That’s not a technical term, it’s just what I call it. “Blank face” is where a character should be showing some type of emotion, but instead looks emotionless and doe eyed. That’s never a good thing in my book.
The Good: I know it was out of character for her, but I kind of liked that Strix hugged Mother Eve upon meeting her. I also liked how she was sitting with her legs crossed, completely captivated, as Mother Eve informed the team of her background. It gave me a good chuckle. I also think the Mother Eve/ Ra’s al Ghul arc could be pretty strong if done carefully and correctly. Both characters will require large amounts of depth, and that’s something this book desperately needs.
The Bad: Essentially, the relationships and the dialogue. The “dramatic” aspects of this book are cringe worthy. Canary is completely out of line (and in my opinion has been out of character for a while), Condor’s crush/obsession with Canary is just odd, and the arguments are like nails on a chalkboard. The more this book avoids the characters talking about their feelings, the better.
Overall: In all, the book is decent. There’s a lot of potential with Mother Eve and Ra’s al Ghul bringing some much needed complexities. But as we learned with Red Hood and the Outlaws, complex characters don’t always help a story out. At least there’s a clear direction for the book.