Birds of Prey #1 (DC) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Birds of Prey #1


Written by Duane Swierczynski; Art by Jesus Saiz

Sep 27, 2011 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

While this book may not be as technically proficient as, say, the very good Wonder Woman #1, there is a lot to like in Birds of Prey #1.

The core concept of DC’s Birds of Prey title was the brainchild of Chuck Dixon and teamed Barbara Gordon (the once and current Batgirl, but at the time she was the wheelchair-bound computer whiz called Oracle) with Black Canary, a martial-arts expert with a sonic scream. From there, the team slowly, and organically, grew in membership, always focusing on female protagonists kickin’ butt. Gale Simone had a run noteworthy for its length and quality.

This new issue pays homage to that core concept, yet throws the reader in a little closer to the deep end in that a whole new character is one of the two main protagonists. Black Canary, evidently wanted for a murder she didn’t commit (visions of The A-Team), has teamed with someone called Starling.

In older DC continuity, a “Starling” is an exceedingly goofy sort of dwarf clone of Evil Star, a Green Lantern villain, which he spawns to help fight his enemies. I can near guarantee that this Starling has zilch to do with that old character; rather, it’s another bird code-name as to fit in with the Birds of Prey (ironically, the starling is often the victim of an actual bird of prey).

In any case, this Starling is a full-sleeve-tattooed, tough as nails, gun-toting, hard-drinking lady that, as a fan of hard-luck heroes and beautiful women, I couldn’t help but fall a little in love with. While the cover of the issue promises more team-mates in the forms of Poison Ivy and Katana, this issue focuses on Starling and Black Canary’s attempt to both save the life of a reporter and flush out the bad guys who are in turn trying to use him to get dirt on them. Barbara Gordon makes a guest appearance, which is a nice homage to what’s come before. Most of the issue is really a pretty high octane fight between Black Canary, Starling, and a bunch of people in what looks to be near-invisibility-granting armor.

My main complaints with the issue revolved around some awkward dialogI think Duane Swierczynski’s plotting and story were really compelling, but some of the chat fell flat. Almost like it sounded good in his head, but seems awkward to read on a page (“Are you okay, B.C.?” “No, but I’m fine.” Huh?). On the art side, Jesus Saiz’s stuff is really pretty, and suffers only from occasional clarity of storytelling issues; I was a bit confused during the “Black Canary and a bad guy fighting on top of Starling’s car” scene.

Even with DC’s relaunch M.O. of “shocking endings,” I was pretty surprised at how this one turned out. I don’t think this was an instant homer like a few of the Nu52 have been, but I can see a very, very strong foundation, and it’s probably the best team book thus far (yes, a touch better than Justice League). (

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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