Birds of Prey: Secret Files & Origins 2003

Distributed By: DC Comics

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            One day, while scanning the web, looking frantically for an extra gift for a special someone, I happened upon something I never knew existed – Birds of Prey: Secret Files & Origins 2003.  I quickly submitted my bid and crossed my fingers.  Three days later, I was the proud owner of a comic book from my favorite series!

            DC Comics: Secret Files & Origins is a series of comic book specials which combines features of the Secret Origins and the Who’s Who series.  The series began in 1997 with a special devoted to the Justice League of America and since then each issue of the series has been devoted to a specific character, group or event.  Each comic book contains a couple of original stories, one of which usually reveals some important part of the character’s history, and special profiles of characters mentioned in the comic book.

            Birds of Prey: Secret Files & Origins features 3 stories.  End to End is an 18-page tale penned by Gail Simone, featuring the villain, The Penguin.  In this story, one of Penguin’s “dancers” is pregnant and is claiming the Penguin as the father of her love child…to everyone who will listen.  Apparently, Penguin is none to pleased and eager to put an end to the rumors.  It’s up to the Birds of Prey to stop Penguin from bringing about an untimely end to the rumor’s source.  The story itself was fun, but I particularly liked the scene in which Barbara and Dinah are watching a television special called “So Where Is…?” starring none other than the Black Canary.  It’s a six-frame bit, but totally hysterical.

            The second tale, Flip Side, penned by Paul Storrie, features The Huntress and Black Canary.  Huntress is attempting to bring down another faction of the local mob when Black Canary decides to lend a seemingly unwanted hand.  Throughout the story, Huntress thinks about all of the ways that the two are different, but by the end of the eight pages, Huntress realizes that she and Canary are more alike than she ever imagined.  A nice little story with some insight on how Huntress and Canary began their friendship.

            The final story, Who’s Next? is penned by Scott Young and recounts the tale of how Oracle came to choose Black Canary as Powergirl’s successor as the newest member of the Birds of Prey.  I’m always a sucker for origins stories and reading Barbara’s opinions about each of the operatives was rather funny.  I especially enjoyed the satellite and television images of each possible choice in action.  Too funny!

            Interspersed between the stories are files containing pinup shots of Huntress, Batgirl, Oracle and Black Canary.  Information included with the art includes vital statistics, first appearances, and a brief history of each character.  The pictures in these files border on cartoony, but the information provided is sufficient to bring readers up to speed on the characters.

            Overall, Birds of Prey: Secret Files & Origins 2003 is a rather fun read.  The cover art is decent.  The interior art is even better, if you don’t count the pinups.  The writing?  Well, we all know that Gail Simone is no slouch in that department and it was nice to see that Paul Storrie and Scott Young were on par with Simone.  This comic was definitely worth the money – an excellent read!




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


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