Comics

Birds of Prey: Blood and Circuits

Distributed By: DC Comics

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

 

            With the sad news of Gail Simone’s move from Birds of Prey to another DC series, I knew that the days of Simone-written Birds of Prey trade paperback story arcs were numbered.  When Blood and Circuits was released in August, I made it my business to order my copy from Amazon.com.  I was about to discover some more equally upsetting news.

            I had heard the rumors that Black Canary might be leaving the group, but, as she is one of my favorite superheroes, I was hoping they weren’t true.  Alas, the storyline of Blood and Circuits was centered around the reality of those very rumors.  Dinah, who in Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters had told Oliver Queen that she wasn’t ready to have children, has now changed her mind.  After several years of commitment in her life as a superhero, Dinah has decided that she is ready for motherhood, taking in Sin, a child she rescued in her last adventure with the group (see Perfect Pitch).  In order to take on these new responsibilities, Dinah decides that it is finally time to hang up the Black Canary mantle and move on with her life, leaving Barbara Gordon feeling both lonely at the loss of an old and cherished friend and harried at the prospect of auditioning Dinah’s Birds of Prey replacement.

            As always, Gail Simone serves up a terrific story arc which features flashbacks into Dinah’s life with her mother.  The banter between team members that Birds of Prey fans crave is just as funny as ever.  My favorite scenes involve the members teasing Barbara Gordon of cybering with the Blue Beetle – hysterical!  Co-writer Tony Bedard seems to have adapted to the style of writing that Birds of Prey fans are used to.  Hopefully, this style will continue long after Gail Simone has moved on.

            This latest story arc shows Huntress in a different light.  She has taken on a new role as senior member of the group with the unfamiliar job of keeping the newer members in line.  This is definitely going to be a struggle for her as she was always the one that had to be reigned in during past adventures.  The remaining members of the group – Oracle, Huntress, and Lady Blackhawk – certainly have their hands full with the addition of new recruits, but they seem to take it mostly in stride until a new enemy makes being a member of the group rather difficult.  It seems that an old college nemesis has returned to her life, now a highly placed law enforcement official in the American government and she is prepared to do anything and everything to shut down Barbara’s team.  I must say that I find the character of Katarina Armstrong to be particularly grating, a reaction I’m certain the writers intended readers to have.

            It is with great sadness that I bid farewell to one of my favorite comic book writers as well as one of my favorite superheroes.  I am hoping that Black Canary’s costume will not remain tucked away for too long, though I shudder to think of what might happen should someone else decide to become the Black Canary.  To me, there is only one – Dinah Lance – and I will accept no substitutes.

            As for the rest of the trade paperback, I found it to be well-written and enjoyable.  The artwork is as wonderful as always, with the exception of the cover art which I found to be rather cartoonish.  The introduction of several new characters, including a metahuman superhero wannabe was interesting and added some more depth to the comic book series, but I’m hoping that the writers won’t decide to add too many characters.  As in the old proverb, too many cooks can spoil a stew and I would hate to see the Birds of Prey storylines weaken as they try to focus on too many characters at once.  As for the story arc itself, I felt especially gratified when, in a surprising twist at the end, it was revealed that I was correct about a certain character all along.  Sorry, but I can’t elaborate without ruining it for you.  You’ll just have to go out and buy Birds of Prey: Blood and Circuits and discover the surprise ending yourself.

 

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: The Battle Within
Birds of Prey: Perfect Pitch
Birds of Prey: Secret Files & Origins 2003
Birds of Prey Television Series


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