"Birds of Prey" put its pedal to the floor with the first issue and hasn't let the speedometer do anything but rise since. Duane Swierczynski writes action like he's sending heart attacks through the pages and he's working a commission on hospital beds. The four ladies of the team are finally all assembled and while they might not all exist on the same moral or psychological plane, they understand that people exploding is the problem to address first. No surprise, this issue takes the tension and explosions and ratchets them up a notch.
The group dynamics of this squad are a big sell for the book. Swierczynski states his case for the inclusion of Poison Ivy, and by convincing the group that she belongs, he also makes believers of the readership. There are some great eco-warrior moments where you can see the creative team has been thinking about how to use these people, and why. Each woman represents a very different aspect of feminine power and together forge a group appealing in every possible way.
There is a tight balance between making things go boom for the delightful visualm, and seeding in further mysteries for the people thinking while looking at the page. Layers of storytelling satisfy now and promise even more if you can handle the long con. Most of the issue deals with Poison Ivy, and she shines as a character. How she handles herself, what she does, and the glorious way Jesus Saiz ties it all together, make this feel like the pretty version of a Swamp Thing tale. Like all great team books, everyone gets a different favorite to choose from and everyone is satisfied with the one they choose.
Every woman in this book looks pretty. It's appreciated. What is even more appreciated, is the fact Saiz makes them all look individual. Starling's eyes are exceptionally expressive in a variety of ways throughout the whole book. There is a vast difference in the way she presents as compared to Poison Ivy's cold eyes and seductive poses. This book has a cast of people all doing their own thing as opposed to pages full of the same modeled or references poses and faces. "Birds of Prey" feels real on the page and that makes the violent and malevolent actions presented to us hold so much more weight.
Amongst a slew of other DC relaunched titles, "Birds of Prey" easily holds its own as a book of merit. The characters are intriguing, the action is intense, and the crazy pseudo-Cronenbergian element to the pulp crime is the sort of thing that doesn't just grab your attention, it booby traps it so it cannot look away. Many have maligned the lack of female creators at DC lately and yet such effort should be equally spent celebrating a great all-female team book written and drawn so brilliantly, even if by a duo of dudes. "Birds of Prey" is a hell of a ride, so strap yourself in.