Birds of Prey: Volume 2: Your Kiss Might Kill
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artists: Travel Foreman, Jesus Saiz, Javier Pina, Jeff Huet, Timothy Green II, Joseph Silver, Cliff Richards, Romano Molenaar and Vicente Cifuentes
Colorists: June Chung, Gabe Eltaeb and Chris Sotomayor
Distributed By: DC Comics
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Okay, so the last volume of The New 52 version of Birds of Prey, Trouble in Mind, ended in a cliffhanger. When we last saw the Birds in action, Katana had just taken out a major bad guy named Choke, killing him which is hugely against BOP rules. But then, we get the most shocking news of all - the man who was killed by Katana’s sword was not the villain known as Choke! So who was he? Only one way to find out - I couldn’t wait to read Birds of Prey: Volume 2: Your Kiss Might Kill.
This trade paperback volume collects Birds of Prey issues 8-12 and 0. Why does issue 0 come after 8-12? Probably just because they were released in that order…which begs the question: why? Well, I’ll get into that later. For now, let’s review the rest of the trade paperback, shall we?
The volume opens with A Far Cry, in which we watch the Birds battle a number of strange mutants and learn the answer to a question from the last volume. In Trouble in Mind, we had been told that Black Canary was wanted for a crime she didn’t commit. However, now we know that isn’t exactly the case. As Black Canary reveals, she killed a man three years ago…her husband. To make things more confusing for the avid Birds of Prey fan, the man she killed is in no way, shape or form the husband we know. Apparently, in this New 52 timeline of things, Black Canary never married Green Arrow. Sigh!
As we move forward, the Birds of Prey find themselves battling psychotic members of the Order of the Owls, a band of…for lack of any other term, specters who have long been purging the evil from Gotham. This time, they have decided that the evil in question are the members of the Birds of Prey who band together to capture one of the Order’s members for Batman. To do so, Poison Ivy puts her life in peril and the Birds must fly to a secluded area full of greenery to ensure her recovery, but not before receiving a warning from Batman regarding their partnership with the former criminal. His warning is a foreshadowing of events to come.
As the Birds find themselves stuck in a partnership that has become quite deadly for them, we are left wondering what will happen next. And that is when we are hit with Birds of Prey #0, which flashes back to the birth of the team. In this issue, Black Canary has gone undercover in Penguin’s establishment to capture a major player in a weapon of mass destruction deal. This is where she meets Starling, a member of Penguin’s security team…or is she working for someone else? It is also here that she meets Batgirl…wait just a cotton-picking minute! What?! True Birds of Prey fans will remember that Batgirl and Black Canary are old friends and that it was Barbara Gordon, in the guise of Oracle, that got Canary back on the superhero crime fighting track.
Issue #0 effectively erases all the good work writers like Chuck Dixon and Gail Simone did for all those years on previous Birds of Prey comics. What a let down! Here’s another let down: What the hell happened to Choke?! Is he really dead? Is he alive? Was his storyline completed in another New 52 title? Apparently not, so what happened to him? We may never know.
Long ago, I mourned the loss of Oracle, thinking that she was not only a cool character, but a way to let folks know that having a disability doesn’t mean that you can’t be a hero…a superhero in this case, effectively fighting the bad guys from a new perspective. But, okay, the powers that be have decided that Barbara Gordon should no longer be confined to a wheelchair. Fine, whatever, but don’t erase the history of how she ended up in the chair or how she now finds herself out of it. That was a long and important road traveled for her character. How can we just forget that now?
And how do we forget the friendship of Dinah Lance and Barbara Gordon, something that was the glue of the Birds of Prey series for years? Seriously?! It’s absolutely ridiculous!
Okay, so the storyline sucks and the continuity has been destroyed, but the action is still there, I‘ll grant them that. You may no be asking what about the art? Well, with so many artists on board - I count no less than nine - there are bound to be some problems. In some issues the characters look pretty realistic, but in others, they look like caricatures of themselves. They don’t look like anime characters, thank goodness, but they don’t look like what we have been expecting from this team either. In fact, during the Owls arc, I didn’t even recognize Poison Ivy at first and Canary looked like a washed out version of herself.
So, on a whole, the action of Your Kiss Might Kill was spot on, but the storyline never picked up where the last left off, the Owls storyline might have been okay, but there were some gaping holes in it, the continuity of the series is shot and the artwork is sub-par. If you’re a Birds of Prey fan like me, you will purchase Birds of Prey: Volume 2: Your Kiss Might Kill anyway, but this may be the last issue you actually purchase. This volume was enough to make me seriously reconsider spending money on the series from this point forward.
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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