Birds of Prey: Club Kids
Writer: Tony Bedard
Penciler: Nicola Scott
Inker: Doug Hazelwood
Distributed By: DC Comics
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When I heard that the Birds of Prey comic book series was slated to end in February of 2009, I was saddened by the news. Here was a comic book series I had really sunken my teeth into. I like reading comic books, but loved reading Birds of Prey. I can’t help but think that if Gail Simone had been kept on as writer and if they hadn’t tried to add on too many new members to the team, this may never have happened. Knowing that this was probably close to the last graphic novel being produced for the series, it was with heavy heart that I purchased Birds of Prey: Club Kids.
Birds of Prey: Club Kids is a compilation of issues 109-112 and 118. Why skip from 112 to 118? No idea. I struggled with the concept of the title – Club Kids – until I reached issue 118 and realized that the title mostly referred to the last comic book of the set. Why name a graphic novel after the last comic book in the compilation? Again, I have no idea. This was new to me as all of the other Birds of Prey trade paperbacks contained titles that pertained to the collection of comics contained in the issue, not one specific comic book.
Something else that was new to me – this graphic novel seemed to be all over the place. We begin with Stone Cold Knockout, in which Barbara Gordon is trying to talk Dinah Lance into declining Oliver Queen’s marriage proposal. Due to Queen’s history of dalliances, Barbara understandably wants to keep her friend from being harmed. Meanwhile, as Big Barda attempts to keep Dinah’s adopted daughter Sin busy, we learn that someone has been systematically killing off the New Gods. We are led to believe that Big Barda is the next target when out of nowhere, Knockout appears, making her own attempt at her nemesis. Unfortunately, it is Knockout who is the assassin’s target and she is sent hurtling to her death.
The next issue, The Fan Club, has no mention of the events in the last comic. Instead, in this tale, Oracle selects Huntress to stop a group of kids from activating the weapon of a criminal currently in prison. The kids get the idea from the villain himself, who is more than happy to chat with his computer-based fan club. When Huntress advises Oracle that she is currently involved in another case, Oracle goes through all of the various reasons as to why she can’t possibly use another agent to complete the task.
We follow up with Nerds of Prey. The Calculator is back and still obsessing over the identity of Oracle. Learning that the answers he seeks may be locked in the hard drive of a mainframe computer at the site of a computer convention, The Calculator disguises himself as a computer geek to gain access. Fortunately, Oracle is already there undercover, attempting to recover the same information The Calculator seeks. Can she stop The Calculator before he learns the true identity of Oracle?
Now we come to The Warrior Wake of Zinda Blake, where we discover that Big Barda has been killed. What happened to cause the death and who was responsible for her demise? We’re not even given a clue. But we do get to watch as Zinda makes an ass of herself partying hearty in homage to the death of a warrior.
The final tale in this compilation is Club Kids, a story strangely reminiscent of the Birds of Prey television series episode entitled Gladiatrix. Metahuman teenagers are kidnapped and forced to fight one another in an underground club. They are heavily drugged and persuaded to only use their powers in the ring. Sound familiar? Misfit has been missing for some time, having been kidnapped while visiting the ruins of her former home. After her fifth win, Misfit is returned to her cell where she is surprised to discover that Black Alice is now also a captive. But the folks at the Dark Side Club had no idea what they were in for when they decided to suck Black Alice into their game.
As usual, the artwork for Birds of Prey: Club Kids was spot on. Stephanie Roux provides some amazing cover art for this graphic novel and the interior art is nicely done. I enjoyed some of the writing, but Tony Bedard is just not Chuck Dixon or Gail Simone. They handled these characters better and the banter between them was far more enjoyable when written by Dixon or Simone. I felt like there was no cohesion in this trade paperback – like the story bounced around a lot and there were a bunch of holes in the storyline.
This is the first time I can honestly say that a Birds of Prey trade paperback was not worth the $17.99 US price tag. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, you could probably skip Birds of Prey: Club Kids and not be missing much. Maybe this is the reason why the comic book series is about to end. Let’s hope that the next graphic novel is a good deal better than this one.
For more about Birds of Prey, check out these links:
Birds of Prey: Batgirl / Catwoman & Catwoman / Oracle
Birds of Prey: The Battle Within
Birds of Prey: Between Dark & Dawn
Birds of Prey: Black Canary / Oracle: Birds of Prey
Birds of Prey: Blood and Circuits
Birds of Prey: Dead of Winter
Birds Of Prey Feature
Birds of Prey: Metropolis or Dust
Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds
Birds of Prey: Old Friends, New Enemies
Birds of Prey: Perfect Pitch
Birds of Prey: Secret Files & Origins 2003
Birds of Prey: Sensei & Student
Birds of Prey Television Series
Birds of Prey Television Series DVD