Birds of Prey: Sensei & Student
Distributed By: DC Comics
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Birds of Prey: Sensei & Student is a compilation of issues 62 – 68 of the comic book series. The trade paperback begins with Black Canary arriving in Hong Kong to pay her respects to her grievously ill former sensei. The first shock she receives is the arrival of assassin-for-hire Lady Shiva, who was also paying respects as a former student of the revered sensei. After the two women decide upon an uneasy truce for the sake of their teacher, they return to the sensei’s home only to find that he and his loyal disciples have been murdered. Discovering that the victims had all succumbed to poison, Lady Shiva and Black Canary join forces to hunt down former Raven member Cheshire, whose penchant for deadly toxins makes her a prime suspect. When they find Cheshire, events unfold that point to the possibility that Cheshire might be innocent of this particular crime. Desperate to hunt down the true killer of their sensei, Lady Shiva and Black Canary create an unlikely alliance with Cheshire who has information pointing toward a certain government official as being the guilty party.
Meanwhile, in New Gotham, Oracle is experiencing her own difficulties. Batgirl, Green Lantern, and even Batman himself have fallen victim to misinformation supplied by Oracle. She soon finds that someone has hacked her impossible-to-hack high-tech security system. When the hacker becomes more threatening, Oracle decides that it may be best to evacuate headquarters and seek out the Justice League for back up. However, someone else has other plans and Oracle is ambushed by a party of suit-wearing thugs. Hired by Senator Pullman, the thugs question Barbara and several other hackers like her in hopes of discovering the “Oracle” who took possession of blackmail files once belonging to the villain Savant. Having been blackmailed by Savant, and certain that Oracle is a new player in the blackmail game, Senator Pullman will stop at nothing to discover Oracle’s true identity and stop the information she has in her possession from going public. A wary Barbara Gordon must now rely on Huntress to rescue her from her prison before Senator Pullman decides to terminate all prisoners.
As the story arc comes to a close, Barbara and Dinah realize that Huntress should be made a permanent member of the team. However, short tempers and ill-stated words threaten to break the partnership up before it has truly begun. This makes for yet another interesting subplot, the Birds each going their separate ways and coming around full-circle in the end.
Birds of Prey: Sensei & Student is rife with appearances by fan favorites including Batgirl, Catwoman, Gypsy, Robin, Katana and more. The artwork is excellent. It was a special treat to notice that Gypsy seemed to look like the Huntress from the now defunct Birds of Prey television series. It was as if the artists decided to throw a nod of appreciation to the television series fans who are so enthralled with the comic book series. Gail Simone once again proves that she has what it takes to be a Birds of Prey writer. Subtle plot twists and underlying sub-plots keep the reader’s imagination active. A clever side story involving the original Black Canary (Dinah Lance’s mother) is especially enjoyable, as the present-day Black Canary is called upon to solve a case once investigated by the original Black Canary. Readers will not be disappointed with this trade paperback. Perfectly enjoyable from cover to cover, Birds of Prey: Sensei & Student is the perfect addition to every Birds of Prey fan’s collection.
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