Birds of Prey #34: “Things Fall Apart”
Written by Christy Marx
Art by Robson Rocha

Last month, Christy Marx delivered, in my opinion, the best issue of Birds of Prey that she’s ever penned. I was hoping she would follow up with something as strong, or stronger, to close out the book, but she doesn’t.

Before I get into the issue, I want to comment on how misleading the solicitation is. I wouldn’t consider anything in this issue a betrayal. There’s a stern choice of words at one point from Batgirl, but there is NO BETRAYAL. Misleading solicitations bother me as much as misleading covers – which this issue also has to an extent. Don’t do it. It’s disrespectful to your readers. I’m not saying that the solicitation or cover had me jumping out of my seat with excitement, I just think it’s cheap and of poor taste.

This issue picks up exactly where we left off. The Birds and Old Suicide Squad are in Africa, fighting each other over Dr. Mambety, a “child” of Mother Eve’s. The real reason the Old Suicide Squad is there, is because Canary used Condor’s CIA contacts to call Waller out, by stating she had Kurt. Of course, neither team knows the history between these two, nor do they know the current circumstances. Dinah separates Waller from the teams to get some answers concerning Kurt, and will do whatever it takes to get them. The two are going at each other blow for blow, before Waller reveals the big secret concerning Kurt and Dinah that she hinted at in the previous issue. We’ll discuss my thoughts on this in the spoiler tag.

Spoiler

Apparently Kurt only married Dinah while they were with Team 7 because he was convinced they were going to die on a mission, and he wanted that moment of happiness. It’s stupid, I know. And of course, in true Marx fashion, Dinah over dramatically starts pummeling Waller, claiming Waller only wanted Kurt for herself. She then follows that by breaking into tears, and explains how Regulus left Kurt in a vegetative state… Scenes like this make me glad this book is ending. However, I honestly hope it’s only temporary, and that this title makes a comeback with a new creative team before too long.

While all of this is going on, the Old Suicide Squad and the Birds are still fighting each other, until local terrorists enter the fray. This causes the teams to join forces to keep from getting killed. Unfortunately, everyone except Batgirl, Harley, and Deadshot dies… I’m kidding. Nobody dies. They do take out the terrorists rather quickly, allowing Batgirl and Deadshot to have a quick banter before Canary and Waller return to call a ceasefire, and go home. Apparently, the two ladies have come to an understanding. The Birds assist Dr. Mambety and prepare to leave, but not before Batgirl expresses her aggravation and disappointment with Canary for putting the team and an innocent life in danger. (Just so we’re clear, the innocent life – Mambety – was already in danger considering he was kidnapped and tortured by terrorists.)

The book jumps back to Gotham so Waller can see Kurt. Dinah and the rest of the Birds are there, despite their recent “falling out.” Waller informs Kurt that they are former friends, and offers for him to come with her for advanced therapy and treatment. Will he choose to go with Amanda Waller, or will he stay with Dinah? If he stays, what does that mean for the “almost but not really relationship” with Canary and Condor? And concerning the team, what will their fate be? Will they stay together, or have their wings been clipped? The only way to find out, is to read the issue!

Or, you can save your money and look below.

Recommended If:

  • You have a mission in life to read every Birds of Prey issue that is ever released.
  • You want to see how the book wraps up.
  • You love overly hormonal and dramatic women acting out like children.

Now for the juicy goodness. Be warned, spoilers below.

The Good: Umm… I wouldn’t really say anything in this was good. It wasn’t terrible like Nocenti’s Catwoman, it was just ok at best. There was nothing exciting or redeeming for the book in this last issue. The action was decent, but just decent.

The Bad:  Marx struggles with telling a mature story that contains depth and emotion. The way she wrapped up the plot was pretty “blah.” Kurt chooses to go with Waller. Dinah acts all butt-hurt that her husband – who doesn’t remember her – chooses to go with someone that works for the government, offers him help, and hasn’t been a complete bag of crazy. Batgirl throws a tantrum and disbands the team in a childish, “I’m not your friend anymore!” rage. This causes Canary to take off with her new flying device. Condor, the sleazy opportunist that he is, takes off after her. Strix stays with Mother Eve, who is going to teach her how to talk. And Batgirl rides off into the night on her Bat Bike, in a closing spread that honestly wasn’t needed.

Speaking of the spread, you all know how I feel about Rocha’s art. I’m not a fan. It’s incredibly inconsistent, and his faces are often odd (there’s a panel where Amanda Waller looks like a psycho Michael Jackson from the 80’s). The only time his faces look really good, are when he does his trademark half-face, close-up, but even that has gotten old now.

Overall: This issue follows the trend that this book has had for a while, and just fails to deliver. I understand a desire to read the issue if you’ve been following along this whole time, but other than that, I wouldn’t recommend it. If DC decides to bring Birds of Prey back at some point, they really need to make sure there’s a purpose for the book. Having the title just for the sake of having it isn’t good for anyone.

My vote: skip this issue.  Use your money to check out one of the newer titles that recently started (perhaps the New Suicide Squad), or pick-up an existing book you’ve thought about reading, but never did.

SCORE: 4.5/10