This is going to sound strange, but nothing inspires me to write comics more than when I read a bad comic. I felt this way while reading Anne Nocenti’s Catwoman. I felt this way when reading Sean Ryan’s New Suicide Squad. And I feel this way when I read Batgirl and the Birds of Prey. The book is bad… for many reasons. But to generically give you a specific answer as to why it’s bad, BatBoP is illogical and lacks detail.
I know I’ve repeated this in multiple reviews now, but I wanted to like this book. This was the title that I was the most excited about coming into Rebirth! And yet, it’s the most disappointing for me. The promise of a great story where the team comes together to stop a new criminal mastermind using the name “Oracle,” has all but fizzled out. On top of that, Helena’s backstory received the worst treatment I’ve ever read, and Canary has just been there to make quips, one-liners about girl power, and use her Canary Cry.
There has been no substance and no weight to this book. Moments that should have been emotional, weren’t. I’ve felt nothing while reading this book, and I continue to feel nothing as this arc comes to a close.
If I’m being honest, Batgirl & the Birds of Prey feels like a chore. I’m not talking about writing about it, simply reading it is a chore (but the writing bit adds to the “chorefulness” of it all). This issue deals with the revelation of Huntress confronting her mother, and wraps up the entire arc/snake villain “plot.” I use “plot” loosely, because honestly there isn’t much of a good one. When I finish the book, I ultimately don’t care. This issue is what I’ve come to expect from Birds of Prey, nonsense.
Huntress’ arc in this story is probably the best aspect this book has to offer at the moment, and even it is terrible. As excited as I was to see Huntress return, I now wish she hadn’t. Not under this creative team. A number of people bash Huntress: Year One for being a poor rendition of Helena’s backstory, but it’s honestly miles ahead of what’s presented here. This version feels like a dirt cheap retelling of other stories that are great. It’s bad. And it’s sad.
On the other side of the team, you’ve got Oracle. What a letdown that turned out to be! Oracle, who was organizing criminals to carry out various crimes, actually isn’t a criminal… He’s just a huge fan of the Birds of Prey! What!?! What’s even worse, is that despite the fact that he tried to kill the Birds on more than one occasion, and successfully killed multiple other people, he still gets treated as an ally because he says he’s good and donates money to charities. It’s first grade logic, and just the tip of the iceberg. Once you start getting into this issue, that same type of logic is applied throughout the entire story, and then in one instance, it isn’t applied. It doesn’t make sense!
When all is said and done, everything gets wrapped up nicely and neatly with a perfect little bow… And I can’t be bothered to care because there is no sense of suspense, anxiety, hope, or realism in any of it. At this point, I hope DC finds another creative team following this arc. The book is crap. Plain and simple. I’ve been trying not to be super critical in my reviews anymore because I’m building (small) relationships with various creative teams, but as a writer myself, I can’t pretend that this title is good, or even ok. Batgirl & the Birds of Prey isn’t worth your money. Go pick up another Rebirth title instead.
The Art: Don’t even get me started on the art… It looks as though Roge has completely taken over art duties, so we’ve moved from Roe’s hard rigid art with horrendous faces, to blobby, inconsistent art where every character has doe eyes. There are moments when Roge’s art looks decent, but that’s roughly 15% of the time. If it were even 75% of the time that it looked decent, I would be much happier. But for now, I’m including Roge (and Roe) in the “please replace these guys.”
- If you like terrible nonsense.
Overall: Don’t. Do yourself a favor, and just don’t. There are ample writers and artists out there that could do a much better job! MUCH BETTER! And not to toot my own horn, but “toot toot.” I feel as though I could do a better job than the Benson sisters. Each month, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey comes off more and more as an afterthought. As in, the writers put most of their time and effort into the television job, and just throw together what they can to get by with their comic… And that’s pretty crappy for the fans and the readers.