Batgirl & the Birds of Prey… Where plot points are convenient for the sake of the story. The dialogue is questionable at best. But on occasion, things are actually done well… er… decently. Maybe just ok… Or not… There are spoilers galore in this review, so turn back now if you don’t want anything ruined.
Look, I’m not a fan of this whole underground, fight club thing. I mean, sure, it could be done well if handled correctly, but even then, it’s an idea that pops up in various books/tv shows/ films frequently enough that I usually just roll my eyes. Unfortunately, when you introduce the concept by having a character walk up and basically say, “I want to fight in your secret fight club,” and actually get in… then you lose me. Why? Because if an organization such as this really existed, you would never get in this way… Ever. It’s essentially like having an open call. I mean, come on… “The first rule of fight club, is nobody talks about fight club.”
On top of all of this, I have a huge issue with Black Canary going undercover. She’s a famous musician (which is still part of continuity, and has been referenced in Batgirl & the Birds of Prey.). There’s no way Dinah could walk into an arena/club and not get recognized. Her participation would be all over social media, and subsequently, the news. Boom. Your story is over. Thanks! See you next month. But that’s not what happens. She walks in, nobody recognizes her, and everything is conveniently standard fair.
Now, I will admit that this particular issue is addressed, but it doesn’t resolve the problem. Instead, it makes it more frustrating. Blackbird recognizes Dinah, and has apparently known her identity for weeks at the time she reveals she knows the truth. Are we supposed to believe that Dinah never suspected anything? Think about it… None of the people who have witnessed the multiple fights Dinah has participated in recognized her. Roulette doesn’t recognize her. None of Blackbird’s other students recognized her… But Blackbird knows who she is from day one and just goes along with it. Nope. I don’t buy that either. Why let a hero into your inner circle to learn all of your ins and outs? You want her powers? Fine, steal them the first time you meet her, and move on.
To make matters worse, the logistics of this story don’t add up either. Roulette has been supplying metahumans to Blackbird from her fight club, and as far as I can tell, she doesn’t actually know what Blackbird is doing. I mean, Roulette knows she’s supplying metahumans for Blackbird to train, but doesn’t realize that Blackbird only wants them to syphon their powers… I know it’s a minor issue, but I have a problem with it simply because the Benson’s go out of their way to pull the whole, “Little to no attachments. Something to prove… Broken” line. It’s so cliché, and paints Roulette as incredibly ignorant. And of course, this circles back to my issue with Dinah being the operative that is selected, because she’s none of these things. She has many attachments, has nothing to prove, and clearly isn’t broken based on how she’s dominating the ring.
But seriously, why isn’t anyone asking questions? The Benson’s even include a “quick study” line because Roulette is surprised Blackbird already needs another student. At what point does someone say, “Hey… What happened to all of these other people?” Granted, maybe I misread Blackbird and Roulette’s interaction, and perhaps Roulette does know that Blackbird is stealing powers, but I can’t believe that’s the case. If Blackbird is running through people this quickly, then at some point – whether Roulette fully knows what’s going on or not – she would say something because giving metahumans away takes away from her business. And what about Blackbird’s other students? Are we to believe they’ve never noticed anything suspicious with Blackbird’s previous students who have suddenly gone missing? Are we to believe none of the previous students have ever tried to warn current students? None of this adds up.
Speaking of Blackbird’s class and things not adding up, there’s a huge hole in how she runs her class. When Dinah first gets to Blackbirds school, other characters are introduced, but they come in as if they’re going to a standard class. What I mean by this, is that they hadn’t been there. They’d been away from that building. As the story progresses, it is referred that the students don’t/ can’t leave the building… This becomes a problem for me because when Babs and Huntress are finally covered in this issue, they make a point to say that Dinah has been silent for two weeks… So which is it. Do Blackbird’s students leave, or not? If they do, then why hasn’t Dinah contacted the Birds? If they do leave, the question still remains… Why hasn’t Dinah contacted the Birds?
I know these are minor issues, but they’re consistent and effect the foundation of the story. That’s what really bothers me. In the grand scheme of things, these fundamental problems – no matter how small they are – shouldn’t be in EVERY. SINGLE. ISSUE. It’s a sign of bad or lazy writers. Part of what makes a great writer, is problem solving. As a writer, you should look for these moments in your story, and work a way around it that is believable and logical. Throwing in a line to “resolve” a problem, does nothing to solve the problem when it contradicts other plot points or is unbelievable. That’s why I’ve grown to detest this book. It’s awful. You can argue with me on this point all you want to, but when there is no foundation of logic or plot for a story to stand on, then you don’t have a good book, no matter how many decent jokes or moments are included. And those moments and jokes can be great, but the book itself is still going to be bad.
The end of the book does pick up a little once Nightwing is reintroduced to the story, as well as another DC character that I was happy to see, but it’s too late. It’s too late for the story, and honestly, it’s too late for this title. DC desperately needs a new creative team before Batgirl & the Birds of Prey finishes digging it’s grave.
The Art: Roge Antonio covers art duties again, and I’m happy to say that this issue contains some of his better work. He’s had a tendency to draw blobby characters, and there’s no sign of that here. I’m not overjoyed by his work (Passalaqua, on the other hand, rocks my world), but if he continues at this quality, I’ll only complain about the writing (unless it actually improves.)!
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
- You’re cool with a villain that looks like a Raven knock-off, and has powers that are an Amazo knock-off.
- You don’t need a logical plot to enjoy a book.
- You were a fan of the Birds of Prey television series.
Overall: I’ve said this before, but I honestly don’t feel like the team behind Batgirl & the Birds of Prey is putting much effort forward. Every time I read this book, it comes off as, “Ok, this is all we need to do to get by, let’s move on (to our television job). I even question why the editors aren’t catching some of these blatant issues. Regardless, I’ve come to expect nothing more than this considering it’s been a consistent problem for nine issues now. Call me crazy, but I don’t think I’m asking too much when I ask for a story to logically make sense.
SCORE: 3.5/ 10