Some books are simply enjoyable — “Birds of Prey” is one of them. Packed with action, adventure, suspense and heroines that rate as real and believable as someone you might know or even work with, this title pulls you into its world, even as shifts under your feet with the turn of each page.
Duane Swierczynski has a handful of great characters in this issue, and he gives each of them her own voice, personality and agenda. Poison Ivy is the only one who uses any powers in this issue, but if grit were a superpower, Starling would on Superman’s level. Determined to save those around her, but dedicated to her friend and teammate, Starling experiences this issue as a series of character-defining moments. She’s the one character I knew least about going into this issue (and series for that matter), but by the end she is, without a doubt, my favorite of this bunch.
Swierczynski gets creative with the structure of this story, delivering a large amount of it as flashback. In doing so, he gives every character a chance to shine. Swierczynski doesn’t stop with just the main characters of this series, though. As blood spatters against the windows of the train the heroines are trying to save from human time bombs, we see a father confronted with having to deflect his daughter’s questioning whether or not she’s seeing rain on the windows. That’s a very human moment, and it helps to cement the story in the real world.
Much of that real world is put into place through the keenly detailed artwork of Jesus Saiz. Saiz’s art is classic comic book art for today’s comics. He can deliver woozy, wonky, half-blinked eyes rolling into the top of the head as the character gets punched look. Truly, if someone got punched in the face like Black Canary does in this issue, you would expect to see this effect on that person’s face. From there, Saiz draws Poison Ivy’s floral attempts to stop the train in a believably fantastic manner. There’s a broad range of subject matter for Saiz to dazzle us with in this issue, and he does not disappoint.
“Birds of Prey” is one of the titles I had no expectations for in the relaunched DC Universe. Throughout the third of a year that this series has been hitting shelves, however, this book has climbed up my must-read list. It’s an action adventure book with plenty of action, adventure and awesomeness. This book delivers a great read, each and every month.