Our crew journeys further into the land of the Amazons in order to retrieve Sin as discreetly as possible. The plan being set up since the first issue has really kicked up a notch as our heroines advance into this thrilling and dangerous land! My excitement at the third issue in this series is matched once again by this mysterious rescue effort.
I approach this review with very little knowledge about Birds of Prey, its previous iterations, or the new cast in this series. I’ve noticed other reviewers are very critical of the title of this series. How the current team is not representative of the actual spirit of the team’s name or history. Of particular note was Lia Williamson’s review on AIPT where she argued:
“But to take what was a sisterhood operation between two women (later three) that became a genuine home to each other and helped each other grow and to make it an emotionally distant special ops team is certainly a choice that feels jarring. The Birds of Prey can’t exist without Oracle and at this point in time, it can’t exist without Huntress either. But beyond the team changes, the spirit of the book just could not feel farther from what Birds is even when their own lineup changed.”
I talked about this criticism with fellow reviewers at Batman News and there was a small split in opinion I found interesting. Some argued that the lack of essential characters like Babs means it could never truly be a Birds of Prey comic while another argued that the spirit of female alliance for the common goal of rescuing a child is still in line with the team name’s history and themes. What do you think?
This new team isn’t emotionless either and the team dynamics written by Kelly Thompson honestly reflect both arguments here. The fledgling trust between Harley and her boss growing as the commitment to saving Sin sweeps them to the shores of Themyscira is a great reminder of how Birds of Prey becomes this sort of sisterhood. However the more lighthearted dynamic that I’m also enjoying between the other characters creates a slightly more detached atmosphere that doesn’t work with the sincerity of Harley’s help. And I can see how some readers might be a bit tired of the semi-sarcastic speech patterns of Marvel movie super heroes.
I’m really excited about the way this comic splits up the characters into separate fighting scenes where they talk one on one and yet move the plot along. You get interrupted for a brief moment by a call back to the previous issue and the way it plays out works so smoothly that the whole issue’s plot seems sealed by magic! Problems brought up by heroines in previous issues come back too. My favorite part about all this is that each heroine is finally going somewhere or being somewhere for a specific reason unlike the first two issues where that always felt a bit skipped over.
While the art in the previous issues was the main draw of this comic I can’t really say the same here. The art is gorgeous don’t get me wrong. That soft feel brought by Leonardo Romero is here to stay and I’m absolutely here for it but the panel composition has me closed in and unable to enjoy my stay. In a way this could be purposeful. The stress and unease at being on such a tough mission could be reflected by the claustrophobic panels. Even then, personally, I’d want more than just a page or two to breathe but I can respect it.
I love the creative choices of how to display the magic in this issue and the colors by Jordie Belaire embrace this mystical feel with purples and greens that remind me of a witch’s cauldron full of poison. The water looks black with oil and serves as a stark contrast to the light green trees calmly populating the land of Themyscira.
The lettering by Clayton Cowles remains to be the same subtle quality that I recognized in the second issue. You have a page or two where sound effects jump everywhere but clash with the amount of information dumped into the tiny panels. I really like the fact that so many characters get their own speech color and aesthetic so I’m still considering the lettering to be top notch but it’s missing that wow factor I saw in the fight scenes of issue two.
- You want to see any team take up the birds of prey mantle
- This team in particular seems entertaining to you
- The writing and art intrigue you
Another great issue and suddenly I get this new feeling I haven’t had in a while with DC. What is it? Not exactly trust though I do trust this particular team to bring about a great story. Maybe a smidgeon of hope but this comic isn’t going to change the entire comic industry nor was that ever promised in the first place. Ah! I know. It’s relief. The realization that comics can be fun and well thought out and have characters with motivation and mystery and all the good things that make us want to dive into these crazy worlds in the first place. The soft aesthetic and jokey tone provide that relief with a badass flock of fearless birds I’m ready to follow as I support their rights and their wrongs!
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman-News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.
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