Comics

Birds of Prey: Perfect Pitch

Distributed By: DC Comics

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

 

            When we last left the Birds in Birds of Prey: The Battle Within, we found them without a permanent headquarters after the Gotham Clocktower burned to the ground.  Oracle had nearly died thanks to Braniacís invasion of her body and Helena had set off on her own after learning the true reason that Oracle had accepted her as a member of the team.  The trade paperback Birds of Prey: Perfect Pitch covers issues 86-90 and 92-95 of the Birds of Prey comic book series distributed by DC Comics

            Perfect Pitch finds Barbara Gordon and her team moving into their new headquarters in the Dalten Tower in Metropolis.  Barbara is still recovering from her battle with Braniac and the girls throw her a housewarming / get well party where Zinda proposes that instead of Oracle calling them her team of "agents", she should instead refer to them as the "Birds of Prey".  However, Helena Bertinelli is still uncertain whether she wants to be a team player.  She heads out on her own, once again attempting to rise in importance within the mafia family she once swore to destroy.  She soon realizes that she could use the help of the team and rejoins the group.

            The lead villain of this series is The Calculator, leader of a new group of villains known as The Society.  The Calculator first took notice of the Birds of Prey while working on Lex Luthorís satellites.  It was there that he ran into Oracle.  Insanely obsessed with learning her identity, Calculator targets members of her group in an effort to flush her out.  Meanwhile, Black Canary and Lady Blackhawk, with the help of Green Arrow, Creote and Savant, assist Huntress in solidifying Helenaís stand in the Gotham mafia underworld, much to the chagrin of Batman.

            After dealing with Gothamís underworld and the relentlessness of The Calculator, we jump ahead a year.  The DC Universe has just undergone a tumultuously disastrous event called the Infinite Crisis and all storylines have catapulted one year into the future.  The Birds, with newly added member Gypsy, now find themselves in strange circumstances.  Black Canary and Lady Shiva have switched places, Shiva joining the Birds as Jade Canary and Dinah traveling to a far off land to train in the same setting as Lady Shiva did long ago.  Dinahís goal, in addition to building her own fighting strengths, is to show Lady Shiva how good it feels to make things right in the world without killing. 

            While Dinah undergoes grueling and sometimes downright cruel martial arts training, the Birds attempt to rescue and protect the Crime Doctor, a villain who once reveled in torturing people.  The Crime Doctor has offered to turn on fellow members of The Society, turning over The Society membersí medical records in exchange for protection for himself and his daughter.  Protecting Crime Doctor proves to be a great deal harder than expected as the Birds are forced to face Prometheus, a villain with a special helmet containing the knowledge of the worldís greatest crime fighters.  Prometheus can duplicate the moves of the greatest of fighters, including those of Lady Shiva, and he has never yet been defeated.  Faced with overwhelming odds, can the Birds possibly emerge victorious?!

            While I did enjoy much of the storyline in Birds of Prey: Perfect Pitch, I felt that it was not completely up to par with past Birds of Prey compilations.  Something was missing.  Although there was plenty of action in the compilation, I didnít feel like it was the edge-of-your seat sort of fun you find in other Birds of Prey trade paperbacks.  That being said, Perfect Pitch did have some redeeming qualities.  For one thing, we saw growth in the main characters of the series.  Black Canary made tremendous strides in understanding who she was and who she wanted to be and finally made peace with Green Arrow.  The Huntress finally earned praise from the one person she had been most trying to impress.  Barbara Gordon came to grips with the results of her recovery and came clean with her father over her crime fighting status. 

            Perfect Pitch served up some terrific comedy as Lady Shiva struggled why, as a member of the Birds of Prey, she could not kill every adversary she came into contact with.  Kudos to Gail Simone for mixing the comedy and seriousness, though I wish that she could have found a way to make the Crime Doctor someone we could care about.  I just couldnít find myself concerned about the fate of the Crime Doctor at the hands of The Society and thus, whether the Birds could keep him safe or not meant little to me.

            Lady Blackhawk is an interesting character that I would like to see more of, as is Gypsy, the latest addition to the group.  With any luck, their charactersí storylines will have been expanded upon by the time the next Birds of Prey trade paperback hits the comic book stores.  Iím just a tad worried as to the new developments in Dinah Lanceís storyline and what they might mean for her future with the Birds of Prey.

            The artwork was truly enjoyable throughout the entire trade paperback. I especially enjoyed the cover art created by Adrianna Melo and Will Conrad.  They make a perfect team.  While I enjoyed all of the cover art to be found in Perfect Pitch, the artwork by Melo and Conrad seemed to be the least cartoonish and most detailed.

            Is Birds of Prey: Perfect Pitch worth the $17.99 U.S. price?  Sometimes yes and sometimes no.  However, if you want to keep up with the storyline, you may need to know what occurred in Perfect Pitch.  I recommend that you wait until a decent sale or buy it via auction.  To me, itís just not worth it to pay full price for something that I only half enjoyed.

 

 

 

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: Secret Files & Origins 2003
Birds of Prey Television Series


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