On the surface (aka: without using any brain power), this issue is ok. There actually are some good aspects. If you insert any ounce of logic though, you quickly realize this is one big, heaping pile of crap – just like every issue of Batgirl & the Birds of Prey since issue number 2 (and the one where Helena was apartment hunting… That issue was fun.).
DC… Look… You guys desperately need to do something with this book. It’s bad. Really bad. The Benson’s are sweet and I dig their personality (for real, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every encounter I’ve had with them), but they’re terrible writers. I can’t just blame them though. Mark Doyle and Chris Conroy have some responsibility in how terrible this book is as well! Mainly in the fact that they need to do their job. There are six simple questions that need to be asked when writing a story/ script:
These questions need to be applied to every aspect of your story. It is the foundation of writing a tight script. After Batgirl & the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1, it’s clear that these questions haven’t been asked… Or maybe they were, but by the time the second issue rolled around, the editors were already tired of asking these questions and gave up because they weren’t getting the results they wanted, and saw it as a lost cause. I don’t know what the deal is – I won’t pretend that I do – but it should be fixed. Do your jobs.
My main issue with this title isn’t the camp involved (granted, it’s not my favorite aspect, nor do I think it’s done well most of the time), and it isn’t even the characterization (because you all know how much it means to me for characters to be represented honestly). It’s the fact that the plots can’t stand up to logic. If you can completely destroy a story by asking one simple question, then you don’t have a good or strong story. Period. This isn’t a debate. This isn’t a matter of preference. The story is just simply bad. Based on this issue, I could ask one question, and it completely destroys the plots of the first two arcs. What question is that?
Why didn’t Calculator just go to the Birds of Prey on his own in the beginning?
Yep… One question… One single question, and the logic behind all of this completely unravels. That’s. Not. Good. Writing.
Beyond that, there’s a believability that is void here. Before any of you bemoan that it’s supposed to be fun, or that vigilantes of this nature aren’t believable anyway, I’ll add that I’m providing the same expectation of believability that I give to Batman, Nightwing, Superman, Green Arrow, Super Sons, etc. I provide a decent amount of suspension of disbelief, as long as the narrative gives me reason to. There has to be some effort from the creative team. There’s hardly any effort here.
In this issue, the Birds confront Gus about his shady history. Why they didn’t do this the first time they met him is beyond me. I mean, it’s not like he worked with criminals, killed hordes of people, tried to kill the Birds on a number of occasions, and lied to them constantly…. Oh, wait… That’s exactly what he did. Beyond the absurdity that these women would bring him in after all of that, we now get to learn everything Gus has really been up to, and it only makes everything worse.
I hate Gus as a character. I have since the moment he was revealed. Based on the comments I’ve seen on other sites, I think most people feel the same way. No seriously, see for yourself:
“To have the new Oracle revealed as a bland, instantly-forgettable nobody is practically an insult to comic book readers. His plan is so illogical it’s astonishing that he has the brainpower to even work a computer (or even tie his own shoelaces) without drooling over himself first.” – Fortress of Solitude
“Immediately after this book I went looking into the solicits to see if there was any mention of the “new Oracle” again, and sure enough, there he is right in February’s solicits… ‘FUCK.’” – Gotham Spoilers
(And more recently) “Sigh… that Oracle is still around.” – Gotham Spoilers
“The new Oracle that they’ve created is also pretty annoying, and his presence seems to throw off the rest of the book. He simply doesn’t fit in with the team, and it makes for a jarring reading experience…” – IGN
“Gus couldn’t be creepier if he tried.” – Bleeding Cool
“Gus is the worst!” – Jay Yaws
Don’t even get me started on user comments on our site, as well as others sites…
With such a strong dislike for the character, it seemed like a bad decision to devote an arc focused on him and his previous actions… Until I realized this issue was a desperate attempt to win readers’ favor with yet another sob story. Well, guess what, I dislike him even more now. On top of all of the reasons I already hate Gus, the Benson’s just give me an arsenal of more reasons to dislike him. Most notably, his inability to take responsibility for his actions and the Birds’ inability to hold him accountable. Making bad decisions to justify bad decisions – no matter how noble your reason – doesn’t make your actions “good.” Gus doesn’t get that, and apparently neither do the Birds since this ends with a group hug.
The other thing I hate about Gus, is that he’s excuse driven. He has an excuse for everything he’s done to justify his actions (even his mood swings). No. That’s not a hero. Own it. You made your bed, you have to live with it – and it’s demeaning to the character and nature of Barbara, Dinah, and Helena that they aren’t holding him to that standard. At this point, Gus is worse than most of the people these three have put away… So ditch him already.
And believe it or not, this issue actually gets worse! The contact Gus has been speaking with for months finally reveals himself… And it’s infuriating. Absolutely infuriating. Not because of who it is, but because it makes everything involving Gus prior to this pointless. In my opinion, Gus was dead on arrival as it was, but this issue made Batgirl & the Birds of Prey even more pointless. Do yourself a favor, don’t buy this book.
The Art: Roge is continuing to cover art, and it’s becoming clear that he’s beginning to rush to meet deadlines again. His art is becoming less and less consistent each month, and his characters are starting to become more and more blobby… What I’m trying to say is that DC needs to replace more than just the writing team…
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
Work Experience. The only part of this issue that I enjoyed, was the recap of Gus’s work history with Calculator, while actually working in his office. That was decent…. But that’s it. Oh, that and the cover. The cover looks great! Too bad the rest of the book is crap.
Calculator. Seriously? So essentially, everyone who was predicting Calculator in the beginning were right when all is said and done. Also, it makes this entire story with Gus pointless. Calculator wanted Gus to infiltrate the Birds, and has been demanding a meeting with them for months (MONTHS!) because his family were kidnapped and he needs their help. Seriously!?! SERIOUSLY!?!
Ok, first off, why didn’t Calculator just go to the Birds on his own? Oh, right… They weren’t actually together. He had to use Gus as Oracle in the hopes of getting the Birds together (they weren’t a faction anymore, remember?), to manipulate them and the mob, so he could hopefully get Gus on the inside, to then earn their trust, and eventually get their help… Then factor in Gus’ approach to winning the Birds’ favor… This is some stupid $#!%! Is this really what passes off as good writing? This is the skillset you need to work at DC? Seriously? Get the %&@# outta here! This is a joke!
Muppets. Why does Gus’ mother and the police officer look like muppets? What’s wrong with this kid?
Bipolar. Oh God… Shoot me now. Look, I know people who are bipolar, and I get how it effects them. Using this as some sob story to try and win the favor of readers for an awful character… That doesn’t work for me. Especially when it’s used as an excuse to excuse Gus’ actions. Fans deserve better than this.
Bad writing. Aside from the piss poor plots, the dialogue is atrocious too. It’s so… tween. It’s one of those things that you read when you’re ten, and you think its ok to good, then you mature and look back at it, then realize how terrible it really is… With all of the talent out there, DC can’t find better writers? I mean, come on! My dream was to write for DC Comics one day. I’m not going to say I’m the best writer out there, but I’m confident I’m better than this! I’ve won contests, had works published, and was even featured as a “young American author to watch” in a publication when I was seventeen! And I’m just a kid from a small farm town in Texas! There are thousands and thousands of people like me out there! People that are as talented or more talented than I am! I know my dream is to write for DC, and I know that those dreams will probably never happen due to a number of my scathing reviews, but for God’s sake, if it’s not going to be me, find someone else who actually is good!
- You’re one of those, “It’s so bad that it’s good!” people.
- You don’t need logic. A bunch of women kicking butt is all you care about.
Overall: Don’t buy this book. Please. Force DC’s hand to either change the creative team, or cancel this book. Fans of the Birds of Prey brand deserve better than this. They deserve much better than this!