Birds of Prey: The Death of Oracle
Writer: Gail Simone and Marc Andreyko
Colorists: Nei Ruffino, Bob Schwager
Distributed By: DC Comics
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I was so happy that the powers that be decided to bring back the Birds of Prey comic book series with Gail Simone at the writer’s helm, I couldn’t contain myself. I rushed out to purchase the first trade paperback compiling books 1-6 entitled End Run. Then the DC Universe fell apart when DC Comics announced the cancellation of every title it published as part of a company-wide relaunch. Just what we needed - another relaunch (see The Comic Book Conundrum). Then, Gail Simone jumped ship after Birds of Prey #12. I don’t suppose that mattered much since the series was coming to an end, but it still stung somewhat. And yet, despite it all, I was stoked to purchase the final trade paperback of this incarnation of the Birds of Prey series entitled The Death of Oracle.
Birds of Prey: The Death of Oracle compiles issues 7-15. The writing is done by Gail Simone up to issue twelve and writing duties are then taken over by Marc Andreyko to complete the series. This trade paperback contains a couple of story arcs. In the first, The Death of Oracle, a four-part story arc, Barbara Gordon decides that her undercover persona has become way to public. It was time to put an end to the Oracle identity, if only to keep those who she cares about most safe. To do so, she decides to hit her top enemy hard, openly engaging The Calculator and his cronies in a battle to the death…hers. The comic features some interesting villains, including Mortis, a woman whose touch forces you to relive the most important, and often times foolhardy, decisions of your life. She’s sort of like the Scarecrow with a twist.
The next tale, Which Reason Knows Not Of, is a sort of one-shot featuring Huntress on a solo mission to recover jewels stolen from a high profile exhibit. She reluctantly partners up with Catman to hunt down the jewels and the sickly curator of the exhibit only to discover that a leopard never loses his spots.
Gail Simone’s final story arc, Hostile Takeover, finds the team of Black Canary, Lady Blackhawk, Dove and Hawk sneaking into a high security building to uncover the murderous mysteries kept in the company’s basement. Meanwhile, Huntress stumbles upon The Question (AKA: police officer Renee Montoya) hunting down dirty cops exchanging weapons for drugs. As it turns out, the cops were turned after a visit from the very same monster hiding in the basement of the building the Birds of Prey are investigating.
The trade paperback finishes up with a two-part series entitled War and Remembrance featuring Manhunter, Marc Andreyko’s creation from the original Birds of Prey series. As it turns out, Manhunter’s mother is none other than the superhero known as Phantom Lady. She, Lady Blackhawk and Black Canary (in honor of her mother) are attending a charity auction at the Gotham Veteran’s Hospital, visiting with war heroes from their era. Unfortunately, a villain from their past has returned to reclaim something they took from him on one of their missions decades ago.
Birds of Prey: The Death of Oracle was quite an enjoyable collection of story arcs. I would have like to see more of the insane serial killer known as Junior, but the story arc seemed to end to soon. Especially after Barbara promised to hunt her down after she hurt her girls. I naturally assumed that the next couple of comics in the series would feature the Birds hunting Junior down, but I suppose that was not to be. Despite that, I found this trade paperback to be a lot of fun, filled with intriguing storylines and action and great art. The dialogue was a bit more grown up than I remember from past issues, with some harsher verbiage and more innuendo than usual, but I found that it added more of an edge to the series.
It’s a shame that DC Comics decided to revamp everything. I was actually starting to like the new Birds of Prey. Fans of the series will find Birds of Prey: The Death of Oracle to be a trade paperback worth keeping. Hopefully, the new incarnation of Birds of Prey will just improve upon what has always been a series with good, strong roots. Unfortunately, without Barbara Gordon as Oracle, I really don’t know what the future holds for our girls.
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: Club Kids
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: Platinum Flats
Birds of Prey: Secret Files & Origins 2003
Birds of Prey: Sensei & Student
Birds of Prey: End Run
Birds of Prey Television Series
Birds of Prey Television Series DVD
Oracle: The Cure
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