Birds of Prey: Volume 3: A Clash of Daggers

Writer: Duane Swierczynski and Gail Simone

Artists: Romano Molenaar, Vicente Cifuentes, Admira Wijaya, Daniel Sampere, Juan Jose Ryp

Distributed By: DC Comics

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

                I was starting to worry about the Birds of Prey comic book series.  The new incarnation of my favorite series – The New 52 version – was not turning out to be all that enjoyable.  Something was missing.  Was it the witty banter, the friendship between the members that surpasses many a storm, Gail Simone and her amazing writing?  OR was it simply that they had once again revamped the entire DC Universe, took Barbara Gordon out of the wheelchair and placed her back on rooftops as Batgirl and changed Black Canary’s backstory?  I had very little hope for the series, but like that favorite blanket, I was reluctant to give it up too fast.

                Birds of Prey: A Clash of Daggers, the third trade paperback in The New 52 version of the series, compiles the Batgirl Annual and Birds of Prey comics 13-17.  First up is the Batgirl Annual, featuring the writing of Gail Simone, every Birds of Prey comic book fans favorite writer.  In this tale, Batgirl is hunting the faction behind several homeless people forced to set fires all over Gotham.  Meanwhile, someone has hired Catwoman to help spring a former member of the Court of Owls from Hardwood State Penitentiary.  Both missions lead them one of the leaders of the Court of Owls and the two enemies find themselves joining forces to survive.

                In the next story, someone has stolen Katana's sword, someone from her past with a powerful vendetta against her.  Her enemies want Katana to suffer and, with the depletion of her team thanks to the workings of Poison Ivy, it seems Katana's enemies may just get their wish.  Perhaps the team can find some help in Condor, the one person who was able to go up against this formidable foe and win...but first, they have to get the sword back that he stole.

                Finally, we are introduced to the newest member of the team, Stryx, the Talon formerly a member of the Court of Owls.  Despite Batgirl's reassurances, the team is not pleased with their newest acquisition...especially when she tries to take out Black Canary.  But Stryx senses something going on with Black Canary and her powers, something she has not revealed to the team.  Could it be that Stryx is right and Dinah is a liability to their mission?

                Okay, that's better!  Seriously, I was beginning to worry about the Birds of Prey comic book series, but A Clash of Daggers is definitely a worthy entry into the trade paperback collection.  I loved the Batgirl Annual - who wouldn't when Gail Simone is writing it?  I enjoyed the addition of Stryx to the team.  She adds that bit of mystery and a whole lot of punch.  The three storylines here were engaging and I loved the action.  The artwork was terrific and extremely colorful. 

                I still have some questions though.  Still wondering just what it is that Starling is playing at.  You can definitely see she is a double agent, but whose side is she really on?  And what's the deal with Condor?  Why does he want to join the Birds of Prey? 

                All-in-all, Birds of Prey: A Clash of Daggers shows a marked improvement  from the two trade paperbacks before it.  The storyline is getting better and I'm enjoying the characters even if I have my reservations about the New 52 reboot.  I can't wait to read the fourth trade paperback, The Cruelest Cut.


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