Poor “Birds of Prey.” A book that’s run over 10 years (to say nothing of the previous mini-series and one-shots) starring all female characters is certainly a major achievement in the superhero comics world, but it’s still a little sad to see it come to a close, and on such a sudden note.
On the upside, Tony Bedard’s story involving Calculator’s attack against Oracle and her operatives certainly comes to a satisfactory conclusion; Bedard is clearly having fun with the story, letting several of the cast shine in the spotlight and also not afraid to mix things up a bit for the group’s status in the future. And while it’s hard to say if these changes would have truly stuck if the book wasn’t cancelled, I can certainly see a case being made for Bedard continuing to shake up the comic and keep things interesting.
That said, the downside is certainly the very abrupt dissolution of the team, no doubt as part of the “Battle for the Cowl” that’s kicking off across the Batman line of books shortly. It feels more than a little forced, and it’s hard to get too excited about this long-running book having come to an end. Hopefully once the dust settles we’ll see a return to “Birds of Prey” but right now, it can’t help but leave a slightly bad taste in the reader’s mouth for the book’s final moments being not so much a bang but rather a whimper.
I do have to say, though, that I was particularly impressed with Fernando Pasarin’s pencils in the “Origins & Omens” back-up feature. It’s certainly not easy to temporarily ape Brian Bolland’s art from “The Killing Joke” and make it both look like Bolland’s work as well as your own, but Pasarin completely nails the final product. And while VanHook’s rundown of Oracle’s past and potential future doesn’t really hold any surprises, it actually serves as a better conclusion to the book than the actual ending did.
“Birds of Prey” deserved a slightly stronger ending than this; it just doesn’t really ring true as why the team would stop working together, and for long-time readers of the book it certainly can’t help but be a little disappointing. It’s by no means a bad book (and the main story’s conclusion certainly functions well), but I wish there was a bit more punch to the team’s end for now.