|Cover by Jesus Saiz, Santiago Arcas|
Birds of Prey #7 (March 21, 2012)
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Penciller: Jesus Saiz
Colorist: June Chung
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
I love Birds of Prey. I’ve said that before many times but I don’t care. I love this ragtag group of damaged, dynamic, powerful, and conflicted women. I love that they are not perfect, not totally self-sacrificing, not even all that nice. The women of Birds of Prey are some of the most real characters in comic books.
Fangirling aside, Birds of Prey #7 was honestly not one of the strongest comics I’ve read in a while. While it was definitely entertaining and had one surprisingly grim and violent moment, this issue sort of floundered and I can’t exact pinpoint why. For one thing, it started very abruptly and while I am used to issues opening in the middle of a conflict, I felt that Birds of Prey #7 didn’t handle this very well. There was very little backstory and the little that did exist did not provide any real exposition to the villain or why the Birds of Prey found themselves in the current situation. Unlike Supergirl #7, for example, Birds of Prey #7 didn’t meet the reader halfway in reminding them of the events that lead up to this issue.
Furthermore, the villain, Choke, was kind of gimmicky. I liked that he used nursery rhymes as part of his mind-control plot, as I have a profound weakness for nursery rhymes (I blame my Nana). Other than that, however, he wasn’t particularly interesting. I mean, he managed to turn members of the Birds of Prey against one another, which was clever but nothing too mind-blowing. The only interesting thing about him was when Katana decapitated him. That was pretty cool and very unexpected, particularly the way in which it was illustrated. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone get beheaded in a comic before. So there you go.
Other than that, I finished this comic feeling somewhat let down. Swierczynski did a solid job illustrating the friendship between Black Canary and Batgirl, which is one of my favorite comic book relationships of all time, but I honestly took away nothing else from this comic. The art by Saiz was lovely and probably the strongest thing about this comic book. I just wish that there had been more suspense, more tension, and just more of a villain in this book, rather than just pretty art.