|Cover by Billy Tucci|
Birds of Prey #14: War and Remembrance Part I
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Penciller: Billy Tucci, Adriana Melo
Inker: Billy Tucci, JP Mayer
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Colorist: Nei Ruffino, Rob Schwager
There was something very vintage-y and déjà vu-inducing about this comic and it wasn’t just because the plot featured flashbacks to 1950 and Nazis.
The plot itself was pretty recognizable to me, what with the inclusion of World War II references, elderly Nazis planning to resurrect one of their leaders and “bring about a new Reich” and the focus on the Phantom Lady, a Golden Age character that I have always been curious to read more about but who also sadly instinctively reminds me of Silk Spectre. Damn you, Watchmen! Phantom Lady came first, stop making me forget that!
Anyway, so Birds of Prey just felt like an compilation of elements re-tread from other comics. It also strangely did not feel like a Birds of Prey comic since the flashbacks to the original mission in 1950 took center stage and the Phantom Lady in contemporary time was still main character, leaving Oracle and the others sort of to the wayside.
Lady Blackhawk and Black Canary were the next most central characters, and though I have definitely like them, they were not as dynamic or endearing as they where when written by Simone. It almost felt that these were entirely different characters, ones that I have no history with at all.
Therefore, this issue just felt sort of bland. Nothing really gripped me, even the cliffhanger, because honestly, how many times have Nazis attempted to clone or resurrect a leader to rise again? It never works, especially when superheroes are involved. You would think they’d give up by now. When I realized this was the central conflict, I just went, “Really?” and raised an eyebrow condescendingly.
There were also some stupid sex jokes that I can’t be bothered going into. Suffice it to say, who is going to make sex joins right as they’re invading a Hitler Youth camp? Also did those still exist in 1950? Poor
South America gets such a bad rap with harboring Nazis. I don’t know how much of that is true or just gleaned from The Boys from Brazil (which scared me as a kid, I’m not ashamed to admit it).
Anyway, yeah, nothing stood out from this comic, including the art which was just sort of there. The costumes by Tucci and Melo were actually pretty good though, which is always pleasantly surprising with female superheroes. But face-wise, all the characters look the same. That was weird but I guess accidentally appropriate for a comic involving cloning (I guess that’s what the Nazis want to do).
It was just a shame because I was so enjoying most of Simone’s Birds of Prey. Too bad this felt nothing like one of those.