I need to give Duane Swierczynski credit as perhaps the writer who I’ve seen best adjust to the random break in a storyline caused by last month’s #0 issues. When “Birds of Prey” #13 opens, one of the big cliffhangers — the still lingering poisoning of the team by traitor Poison Ivy — has already been resolved and the team moves forward with their lives.
At first, it might seem like a bit of an anti-climax, but keeping in mind that some new readers could come on board after the #0, plus the extra month gap between issues, Swierczynski has cleared the deck. I think that’s a smart move; the reasoning behind the toxin being negated is sound enough (and theorized in #12), and it lets the team move forward.
Up until this point, Katana’s received the least focus of any of the characters, so it’s nice to see her getting the spotlight for a change. The issue revolves around the theft of her soultaker (or as others point out, her katana that she says contains the soul of her deceased husband). Readers learn about Katana’s past and even get a shift in location to Japan. It would be easy to go slightly over the top with Katana and her belief about her husband’s soul, but Swierczynski keeps it low key as always. It’s a nice opening chapter to this new storyline, with the action building at just the right speed. It ultimately serves as both a good introduction for new readers and also welcoming those back who were on board already.
This is just Romano Molenaar’s second issue and he’s already settled in quite well. His characters move very well across the page; when Condor swoops down at the bottom of page 8, the angle and position gives a strong sense of action, for example. You turn the page, and Condor’s swoop and kick at the Dagger assassins works just as well; you get the feel that he’s actually moving, that this isn’t just a stiff pose. Characters are full-figured but not overly buxom, and the musculature feels natural and not pumped up. He’s a strong addition to the creative team, and as much as I enjoyed Jesus Saiz and Javier Pina’s time on the title, I’m eager to see Molenaar stick around for a while.
“Birds of Prey” #13 is another strong showing from a fairly dependable comic. Month after month, “Birds of Prey” just plugs away at telling strong stories. Once again, it’s succeeded.