A flu-like virus strikes the men in Gotham, and with it comes a horde of female superheroes to the rescue!
Commissioner Gordon is sick with the flu! Oh no! What on earth will happen? Who will save him? How can we expect the Gordon family to move past this tragedy?!?! Why is living so hard!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Alright, I’ll admit, I’m purposely being overdramatic, but that’s because the writing in this book is also quite dramatic. A virus is rampaging through Gotham, and it is only infecting men. If you read solicitations, then you know this already… So, you might find it a little irritating that you have to read through roughly half to three-fourths of the issue before the Birds pick up on this… It’s blatantly obvious that this is the situation (even without the assistance of the solicitation), but none-the-less, the Birds have to sit down and discuss everything out loud before they have that lightbulb moment.
After discovering that only men are getting infected, the Birds work to find out who’s behind all of this – a mission that turns into a tour of DC Comic’s female heroes and villains. This, admittedly, is quite fun! I always find it exciting to see heroes who don’t often cross paths, joining together to team up. Who doesn’t get a little excited when this happens, right? I mean, this is part of the reason why Metal is so fantastically fun to read! Unfortunately, the excitement is short lived here as it becomes clear that the characters aren’t written well at all – a problem that has plagued Batgirl & the Birds of Prey since its first issue.
The characterization isn’t the only problem here either. The dialogue is quite atrocious through most of the issue, and the team’s process of deduction is embarrassing considering how smart these women are supposed to be. Then there’s the endless pining as each character worries about their specific love interest. There doesn’t appear to be much general concern, just every character thinking of someone they love… and that’s about it. Babs stresses over her dad, Selina over Bruce, and Helena over Dick. Then there’s Dinah, who’s paranoid that Ollie will get sick. If you’re shooting to write strong, independent women, I don’t think this is how you accomplish that goal.
Let’s be honest, this book is bad. There’s no escaping that fact. It might surprise you to learn that this issue isn’t as bad as what we’ve come to expect from Batgirl & the Birds of Prey though. There are a number of factors play into this. For one, the Bensons’ scripts tend to fall apart once their stories start building to the climax – mostly because there’s no logic involved with their narratives – so considering this is only the first issue of “Manslaughter,” we haven’t endured that tragedy yet. Then there are the multiple characters who make an appearance. And yet, despite all of this, dreading the next issue before I even finish reading the current one.
The Art: I haven’t been the strongest supporter of Roge Antonio. I don’t think his art is that great, however, I will admit that he’s getting better. Compared to the blobby characters we initial saw, the work now is miles better! There are times when I see panels and pages, and I actually think it’s a different artist. There are a few pages here that look great, especially the splash page that serves as the final page of the story. So for this month, we’ll leave my critique of the art at this: The work is getting better – much better – within a very short amount of time, and that deserves to be recognized. Before long, I might find myself looking forward to Antonio’s work!
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
- You like the Kardashians and wish you could get a superhero version of their show.
- The plethora of DC females that guest star.
- Honestly, I really can’t give you an answer of substance because I don’t feel this book has any substance.
Overall: Another month, and another issue of Batgirl & the Birds of Prey. It’s exactly what you’ve come to expect: sloppy plot, poor logic, terrible dialogue, and crap characterization. The only difference with this issue is that there’s a ton of guest stars, and the initial excitement of these characters help give BatBoP a small jolt of energy and excitement. Just a teeny, little bit.