“Birds of Prey” #6 by Duane Swierczynski and Javier Pina is a good comic book but a step down from what we’ve seen for the past five issues. It’s unfortunately timed, as this issue seems like the penultimate issue of the first arc.
Swierczysnki’s “Birds of Prey” has been a rollicking ride full of jumps forward and backward in time, tons of mystery, action and a beautiful amount of character development — including the introduction of a fantastic new hero in Starling. Unfortunately, this issue feels like a misstep as too much of the mystery is unloaded through info-dump talking heads. It’s never ideal from a storytelling point of view and feels completely counter to everything Swierczynski has done thus far. This isn’t the end of the tale, so there’s still more of the mystery to come. Hopefully, Swierczynski can turn it around and deliver a more powerful final issue to the arc. It’s hard to accurately pinpoint what went wrong in this issue; especially considering “Birds of Prey” was without regular series artist Jesus Saiz.
Javier Pina is a great tonal fit for the book as his style is incredibly similar to Saiz’s. It’s nice from a consistency standpoint for the characters and feel of the book to be so similar. However, the art is painfully light on detail. Most of the work lacks real depth, especially when it comes to backgrounds. As a result, the book feels thin. Although the characters are all very on-model and lovely, there’s some frustrating stiffness in the work making everything feel flat and staged rather than rich and fluid. June Chung’s colors do their best to bring Pina’s work to life but there’s just not enough there for her to expand upon. That said, Pina has a nice clean style, draws beautiful ladies and his storytelling is clear, if not particularly compelling.
It’s unfortunate Saiz is absent for this pinnacle moment for the story arc, as his attention to detail and flair would have helped with delivering a more powerful issue. As is, the art doesn’t feel worthy of the story Swierczynski has set up and ultimately makes “Birds of Prey” #6 a bit of a let down from the fantastic and powerful series presented in the last five issues.