“Crap, is it time to read Birds of Prey again?” That was my thought just a few short minutes ago when I realized I only had one comic left to review today. The beginning of the DCNU Birds of Prey was pretty good, but the Birds have been in a slump for at least half a year now. The last arch was especially boring removing Katana in a pointless three part arch and adding new member Strix. Further adding to my dread of reading this book is the preview I already saw which made it clear that this issue starts off with an emotional and creative fizzle by creating a convoluted and unlikely fight. I'm also a little bummed that I don't have JimZub's run on the series as a light at the end of the tunnel since his placement on the series was changed to make room for the writer of Sword of Sorcery. Anyway, at this point I am just continuing to type whatever comes to mind in order to avoid the mediocrity that I know I will find in this issue. Time to bite the bullet and read the issue. Is Birds of Prey #16 as bad as I fear, or is it surprisingly pleasant?
In this issue, the Birds are just getting to know Strix when Condor shows up and starts a fight.
Grit and Bear It
Was this issue as bad as I feared? Pretty much.
The first half of the issue is bad, and I'm very tempted not to say another word about it, but I guess I will elaborate a little.
Condor, the characterless character from the previous crappy arch shows up and starts a fight with the talon Strix because apparently she looked like she was threatening the Birds what with her standing in their general vicinity and all. I'm not sure if this is stupid writing or just a stupid character, but either way, that was a really dumb reason for Condor to start a fight. Batgirl tries to calm Strix down, but Strix decides to attack Black Canary even though she has done nothing to provoke Mary. Starling hitches a ride with Condor and disables his suit causing the fighting duo to plummet to the city streets and die with their body splattered on the ground since Starling can't fly. JK, lol, they just happen to land on a roof without so much as a bruise. Lucky them.
Anyway, the extremely poor judgment on Condor's part and the assault and battery from Strix convinces Black Canary that these two would be perfect for the team.
The Second Half
The second half is actually somewhat entertaining. It's still pretty standard and fails to make up for the failings of the first half, but as a standalone story, its not too bad.
(Spoilers) Starling and Strix strike up a fun back and forth as Starling tries to make friends with the new team member without knowing that she is mute. It is kind of like Bugs Bunny trying to carry on a conversation with Willey Coyote. There is a very satisfying action scene where the Birds do a quick and brutal series of attacks on a group of guards before they can call in a warning to those inside the building, and watching the Birds try to find a route inside the building is also an interesting sort of logistical problem which is rarely shown in comics. Finally, I saw Dinah's mistake coming, but that did not make it any less amusing. I am actually interested to see how this will play out next issue.
An average back half does not make up for a lousy first half. It looks to me as if the next issue will be mostly self-contained, so I would not suggest buying this issue at all. Even if the next issue is good, you will not be missing much by letting this one go.