Birds of Prey: Metropolis or Dust

Writer: Sean McKeever

Penciler: Nicola Scott

Inker: Doug Hazelwood

Distributed By: DC Comics

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            When Birds of Prey: Metropolis or Dust hit the comic book stands, I wondered whether it would match up to past trade paperbacks in the
Birds of Prey series.  I had been a fan of Chuck Dixon’s Birds of Prey storylines, but he had left the series long ago.  Gail Simone took over and made the Birds ever more interesting and dear to our hearts.  She, too, moved on to other pastures and Birds of Prey fans were left to wonder what would happen to our favorite comic book heroines.  We were especially bewildered by the news that the Black Canary would be leaving the fold.  An original and founding member leaving the Birds of Prey?  What good could come of that?  So, it was with great trepidation that I purchased this latest trade paperback, hoping that my fears for the series were unfounded.

            Metropolis or Dust finds the remaining members of the Birds of Prey battling to save Metropolis from Tabitha Brennan, the 17-year-old psychopathic leader of a local mafia family.  Unfortunately, things don’t go exactly as planned.  In fact, the Birds attempt to stop Tabitha in her latest venture is disastrous and hundreds die as a result.  Superman chastises Oracle, causing her to question her actions and leaving her team in disarray.  As Oracle calls upon all of her allies in an effort to understand what went wrong with the Brennan incident, Lady Blackhawk mysteriously disappears and only Huntress can save Zinda from an evil nemesis from her past.  With her team torn apart and her confidence dealt a severe blow, can Oracle pull things together fast enough to prevent another massacre, or is it time for the all-seeing, all-knowing Oracle and her team of do-gooders to call it quits?

            Metropolis or Dust is a compilation of Birds of Prey issues 113-117 and features cover art from Stephane Roux.  The storyline marks the return of Tabitha Brennan, who first appeared in Blood and Circuits.  As you may remember, the rescue of Tabitha Brennan from a Mexican prison was one of the first missions that Oracle’s revamped Birds of Prey were sent out on.  Right about now, Oracle is probably wishing that she had left the girl to rot in that prison.  Sean McKeever’s writing style isn’t much of a departure from that of Chuck Dixon and Gail Simone.  However, it should be noted that the levity that used to be so much a part of this series has suddenly disappeared.  I miss the witty banter between Oracle, Black Canary and Huntress.  An attempt has been made to bring some of that back with the introduction of Misfit, a teleporting teenager that Barbara Gordon has taken in and promised to train.  Thus far, the addition of Misfit has been little more than an annoyance, but only time will tell.

            It has taken some time for me to get used to the idea that the Birds of Prey headquarters has moved from Gotham to Metropolis.  Now, with the Metropolis or Dust storyline, it appears that the Birds will be moving again.  With all the computer technology that Barbara Gordon must lug around to maintain her status as Oracle, I wonder how her identity remains a secret, but then again, this is the world of DC Comics, where anything is possible.

            I have to say that I truly enjoyed Birds of Prey: Metropolis or Dust.  The storyline was engaging and I enjoyed the attempt to turn back the clock a bit by bringing back a villain from the past.  I was also happy to see Black Alice again – I had been wondering whatever happened to her.  I did think Sean McKeever’s Superman was just a tad out of character, but then again, it has been quite some time since I have read a Superman comic book, so he may have changed a bit when I wasn’t looking.  But for the most part, I thought Sean McKeever did an excellent job filling in very large shoes as a Birds of Prey writer.  Hopefully, he will decide to stick around for a while.  Kudos to the artwork found in this trade paperback – very realistic.  I’m not a fan of the manga or cartoonish look that sometimes make an appearance in Birds of Prey comic books.  The artwork found in Metropolis or Dust is just what the doctor ordered. 

            Fans of the Birds of Prey definitely need to check out Metropolis or Dust as it signifies yet another evolution for the team.  And, of course, since the mystery is only partially solved by the end of the trade paperback, I can’t wait for the next Birds of Prey trade paperback to hit the stores.


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: 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

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