Comics Catchup: Batgirl, and the Birds of Prey
By Jorge S.
Well...it is a sad time indeed. In 2016 when DC first began to release their top tier titles for the Rebirth event, only two comics really caught my interest. This was a time when I hadn't really read many new comics in a long time and getting back on the wagon was definitely daunting considering how much was out there from both major publishers. Batgirl, Black Canary, and Green Arrow are among my favorite DC characters of all time, but after Barbara had what was in my opinion a less than stellar move to Burnside I was not ready to pick up her solo title. Needless to say, I walked out of the store that day with Green Arrow, and one of my long time favorite teams in DC, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey. Now, a few months short of two years later, this wildly enjoyable comic is ending its run.
One of the main reasons for the end of Batgirl and the Birds of Prey is of course Julie and Shawna Benson's move over to writing Green Arrow, which is bittersweet for me since I feel that Benjamin Percy has been one of, if not the best writer to ever work on Green Arrow. On the other hand, because of their talent in writing Birds of Prey, I'm actually pretty excited to see what Julie and Shawna will bring to the table for my favorite Emerald Archer. It's worth mentioning that they've done a pretty fantastic job with Dinah's character development in Birds of Prey, working almost completely parallel to her persona in Green Arrow. It doesn’t seem far fetched to assume their transition will be well received.
The Rebirth event intertwined classic elements with completely new ones which I enjoyed immensely. For one, like most of The New 52 titles, the Birds of Prey have seen some dark days. To be fair, a lot of what was written post-Gail Simone was lacking, and although not an original member of the Birds of Prey alumni, Helena or Huntress' absence from the comic was upsetting, considering she's a staple of the series' golden days.
I can safely say, however, that the Benson sisters have brought the Birds of Prey back with 22 issues of brilliant writing, great character development, enjoyable stories, and an enormous reverence for their predecessors. The tone is not overly serious, unless the story requires it to be and we spend a lot of time laughing at Barbara being a super geek, Dinah's snarky and sarcastic, but oh-so-loving attitude, and Helena’s difficulty in coping with the fact that along with being a masked avenger she has feelings and is indeed a human being. The three are a match made in heaven and spend a lot of the series fighting each others personalities as much as their enemies...well Helena's personality mostly.
Divided into three separate arcs all strung together by not only the reveal of the new Oracle impostor and his origins, but also about the villain's obsession with the identity of the true Oracle. Various mini arcs are present between stories such as the amusing Manslaughter storyline. This was arguably one of the more controversial parts of the series, but it's should be remembered as so much more than that. For one, it plays at the role of feminism in comics and alternatively those on the polar opposite end of the spectrum. Yet, what makes this mini arc so good is that the Benson sisters bring in a fresh perspective on feminism. There is a percentage of men who tend to look only at the extremists in the movement and miss the message. In this story, however, we are treated to the same message but with a comedic and fun way of looking at it. The result is a show of much needed woman power culminating with many of the ladies of the DC universe coming to save Gotham's men from a virus that is affecting only men. Plus Oliver Queen's appearance caused me to make some pretty weird sounds.
This arc however, is not the only time you'll get to see some more awesome DC heroines. Former Birds of Prey alumni such as Catwoman and Poison Ivy make appearances throughout the series joining their former team for some awesome mayhem, even if it's for a short time. This comic is probably one of the best that DC's top tier had to offer and I'm really upset that it's over. That being said, I can relish the fact that even though it was short series, every issue in it was awesome and completely worth your time. If you haven't picked up this book yet I implore you to get the first two trades and enjoy them until later in the summer when the final one is released. Also a very special thank you to the Benson sisters for making such a quality comic, I can't wait to see what you both have to offer to Green Arrow!