Birds of Prey: The Battle Within
Distributed By: DC Comics
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Birds of Prey: The Battle Within picks up where Between Dark & Dawn left off, compiling issues 76-85 of the popular DC Comics series. When we last visited our heroes, they had recently lost their headquarters when the Clocktower burned down. Forced to relocate, the Birds took on a new teammate, Lady Blackhawk, a former World War II pilot who somehow found herself transported to present day Gotham. With Lady Blackhawk on the team, headquarters took on an aerial meaning as the team acquired a jet from Ted Kord (otherwise known as Blue Beetle). The agenda for the Birds has also changed – they are now in search of vigilantes that are going too far in their search for justice.
Issue #76 begins with the Birds of Prey traveling to Dayton, Ohio. Black Alice, a young vigilante with powers similar to that of Dr. Fate, has been dealing the ultimate verdict to drug dealers in her location. It’s up to Black Canary and Huntress to rein her in and get her the help she needs. In this issue, we also learn that Brainiac, in his attempt to take over Oracle’s body, has left Barbara Gordon with a physical reminder of the experience.
The heroines’ mission then leads them to Kansas, where the undead are carrying out vigilante style death sentences among the citizens of a small town. Dinah, Helena and Zinda (Lady Blackhawk) go undercover to find out who is behind the mysterious deaths of people with less than upstanding pasts. Meanwhile, Barbara discovers just what kind of an effect the leftovers of her experience with Brainiac have had on her.
Once they have dealt with Harvest, the Birds find themselves back in Gotham. Their mission: to track down a young girl with dual personalities and a thirst for vengeance. However, when the Birds discover that the girl has actually been set up by the local authorities, things become a tad bit hairy. And when Huntress discovers the true reason Oracle selected her for the team, the results are disastrous.
In the last storyline covered in this issue, Dinah hooks up with Ted Grant, AKA: Wildcat, in Singapore in an effort to destroy a drug cartel that has been selling its wares to the drug dealers in Gotham. Unbeknownst to them, a rogue Helena Bertinelli has been working on getting back into “The Family” business in her own bid to rid the streets of the drugs being sold on the streets of Gotham. Meanwhile, accepting her newfound powers, Oracle takes her foray into the cyber world a step beyond the usual, but soon discovers that her actions have disturbing and possibly deadly consequences.
Birds of Prey: The Battle Within is perhaps the best trade paperback of the series, containing the most poignant storylines yet. Gail Simone has more than proven herself as a terrific writer. She is, in this reader’s opinion, the best writer to ever grace the pages of Birds of Prey. Readers are totally captivated by the drama that takes place in The Battle Within. Simone continues to give readers a different view of the Birds – a view that mixes the tough and savvy with the complicated and extremely human side. Coupled with the artwork of Ed Benes, Joe Bennett, Tom Derenick, Joe Prado and Eddy Barrows, the stories literally jump right off the pages, becoming extremely realistic to anyone who reads them. The covers by Ed Benes are simply incredible – they are works of art in their own right.
Is Birds of Prey: The Battle Within a value at $17.99 U.S.? Absolutely! Within the pages of this trade paperback comes one of the most compelling storylines of the series. The Battle Within isn’t just a great buy – it’s a steal!!
For more about Birds of Prey, check out these links:
Birds of Prey
Black Canary / Oracle: Birds of Prey
Birds of Prey: Old Friends, New Enemies
Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds
Birds of Prey: Sensei & Student
Birds of Prey: Batgirl / Catwoman & Catwoman / Oracle
Birds of Prey: Between Dark & Dawn
Birds of Prey: Secret Files & Origins 2003
Birds of Prey Television Series