The Birds of Prey is a primarily female team of superheroes that were brought together by Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl. Originally conceived by Jordan B. Gorfinkel and written by Chuck Dixon, the series popularity exploded with the inclusion of superstar writer Gail Simone and various artists like Ed Benes, Nicola Scott, Greg Land and more.
Barbara as Oracle, Black Canary, the Huntress, Lady Blackhawk and the other members of the team has done a lot of good together. But they are human and Oracle isn’t infallible, even with all her intel, so bad things have happened either through their actions or in spite of them.
10 Best: Creating the Birds of Prey
Barbara Gordon had given up being Batgirl, feeling inadequate in a world of superhero “gods” like Superman and Wonder Woman. The violence still found her. Joker knocked on her door and shot her in the spine. He photographed her nude body to drive Commissioner Gordon insane. Both Gordons were saved by Batman and the Joker was apprehended. Barbara was paralyzed from the waist down.
Putting together a massive array of computers and networking them secretly into every intelligence agency on Earth, Barbara became the information broker, Oracle. First working with the Suicide Squad and the Bat-Family, Oracle chose to create her own team of operatives.
9 Worst: The Disastrous Power Girl Mission
It isn’t clear why Oracle choose Power Girl as her first operative. Perhaps having so recently been assaulted, she wanted an invulnerable operative or since Barbara was feeling inadequate in the face of heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman, maybe Barbara needed a “goddess”.
A warlord had taken over Qurac, forcing the rightful President and many of the populace into two ships. US peacekeeping ships were there but a small fishing boat got through. Two suicide bombers on jet skis headed toward each boat. Oracle yelled for Karen to stay on mission and protect the president, as the other ship blew up, killing thousands. And then the President is still assassinated. Karen believed she could have saved both and angrily cuts ties with Oracle.
8 Best: Recruiting the Huntress
Black Canary stepped into a trap by kidnappers Savant and Creole. Savant broke her legs and tied her to the bed. He threatened her to get her to reveal Batman’s identity. Oracle called Savant and he asked her questions in different languages to test her intelligence. She used his flawless Greek to track down his real name and background. She called the Huntress and convinced her to save Dinah.
Canary had already nearly freed herself when Huntress arrived and the pair defeat Savant and Creole and returned to Oracle. Later, Huntress posed as Black Canary to confront the corrupt Senator Pullman who wanted to use the Savant’s information for his own ends.
7 Worst: Trying to Rehabilitate Savant and Creole
Because he hadn’t actually killed anyone, Barbara believed that Savant could be saved. Oracle gave Savant four square blocks of Gotham to clean up. Savant was not allowed to hurt anyone seriously and was denied computer access.
Savant cleared all the people out of that area, relocating them to other places. He then used his underworld contacts to have the place bulldozed and new homes were to be built. Savant is surprised that Oracle is displeased with his solution. Black Canary arranges a meeting and soundly defeats Savant for his initial attack on her. Savant finally apologizes.
6 Best: Recruiting Lady Blackhawk
Zinda Blake, aka Lady Blackhawk, was drawn forward in time and struggled to deal with the culture shock. She returned to Blackhawk Air, now a shipping company, and drank at Guy Gardner’s Warriors Bar. Zinda wasn’t happy though and needed a change.
Oracle offered Zinda the job as pilot of the team’s new Aerie One. Zinda accepted under the condition that no one told her how to fly. Zinda became an indispensable member of the team and a bit of a conscience for Oracle. Zinda also suggested the name “Birds of Prey” for the team. Zinda is an excellent markswoman but punching people in the face is her go-to move.
5 Worst: Recruiting Lady Shiva
Black Canary and Lady Shiva traded lives. Shiva had previously been giving Dinah training, diets and exercises to mold Canary into someone like her. Dinah believed that the experience would humanize Shiva. Shiva called herself Jade Canary and even wore Dinah’s boots and stockings.
Shiva encountered Prometheus, who has a helmet that allows him to download the skills of any fighter directly into his brain. Believing that he had an “out of date” file on her, Shiva attacked him. As it happened, Prometheus had current files and he knocked Shiva out with one punch. Shiva left a note for Dinah, releasing her from their agreement.
4 Best: Dealing with the Calculator
The laughable Batman villain The Calculator, aka Noah Kuttler, had reinvented himself as an information broker to the villain community. He made it his mission to take down his opposite number in the hero community, Oracle. Kuttler has operatives kidnap Savant in an attempt to learn Oracle’s identity. Batman saves Savant and he quits the team.
Kuttler also hires Deathstroke to kidnap one of the Birds but he kidnaps them all and uses their comlink to contact Barbara. Black Canary immobilized Slade with her Canary Cry and frees the team. To ridicule Kuttler, Barbara displays her Oracle mask on every computer and television in Gotham.
3 Worst: Dealing with the Secret Six
Spy Smasher had taken over the team and sent them after General Feodor Kerimov for human and drug trafficking. The General was having a party and hired the Secret Six as bodyguards. After the General’s speech, he revealed that he was selling a Red Rocket Suit. Big Barda grabs the armor and jumped out the window.
The Birds flee in a van with the Six in pursuit. They open the armor and find an unconscious Ice inside. Hawkgirl destroyed the Six’s car but they still catch up. A vicious battle ensues between the two teams until Ice awoke angrily and created an ice giant. The General called in a squad of Red Rockets to burn everyone. The two teams stopped the Red Rockets and subdued Ice. Zinda arrived in a stolen van and her team leaves. Spy Smasher yelled at Zinda for disobeying orders by coming there and fired her. Zinda punched her in the face saying she knew the real Spy Smasher and walked off into the snow.
2 Best: Misfit
Oracle was trying to discover the identity of a redhead dressing up as Batgirl. Oracle eventually finds out that she is a homeless teen with teleportation powers named Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe. Barbara invites her to come live with her. Charlotte starts to call herself Misfit.
Misfit is kidnapped off the street, drugged and forced into fights at the Dark Side Club. She is caged with Black Alice, the magic stealing teen, who wants her to leap out but she can’t. Black Alice steals her powers and lands outside the lab where she overhears people talking about how she and Misfit are blood relatives.
1 Worst: The Whole Tabby Brennan Affair
Tabby Brennan, the daughter of a powerful west coast mobster, is held illegally in a Mexican prison. Barbara sent a team to broke her out but Spy Smasher sent fighter jets to shoot down their plane. Big Barda boom-tubed the team to a beach as the plane is destroyed.
Her father had agreed to turn state evidence. Mr. Brennan is shot along with two DEO agents. Huntress suspected Tabby shot him as she wondered aloud what it might be like to run his mob. Tabby was ridiculed when she came to take over the mob. So she acquired a truckload of weapons and planned to murder her way in. Touching a button on the truck, it transformed into a giant robot. Misfit bounced in and knocked Tabby out. She accidentally hit the self destruct mechanism and purple arching energy came from the robot. Unable to take Tabby with her, she bounced out. The ensuing blast destroyed several city blocks in Metropolis.