Like with The Phantom Stranger, last month saw the end of Birds of Prey. The difference: Birds of Prey… wasn’t that great of a series. The latter always felt handicapped and editorially mandated to do things instead of growing on its own.
How does its true final issue, this Futures End tie-in, hold up? Is it good?
Birds of Prey: Futures End #1 (DC Comics)
So in three years flat, Dinah Lance/Black Canary has infiltrated and taken over the League of Assassins (damn, Ra’s al Ghul must not be even paying attention to what goes on in his organization anymore). She has reformed it as the Red League, an organization of women who bring justice to the downtrodden and put bad guys in their place. Her group’s recent activity involves busting a human trafficking ring.
So from swords to tonfas? Interesting change in mandatory weapon use for this organization.
I’ve heard nothing but bad things in regards to the last issue of Birds of Prey (their official last issue that wasn’t a tie-in I mean), so going into this comic, I wasn’t expecting much to be honest. What I got instead was a semi-decent little tale. Sure, there are some problems (I even pointed out the most glaring one in the plot summary), but the tale isn’t too bad and for the readers of this series, this issue should be rewarding on some level. You basically have Dinah acting like a real leader in comparison to previous issues of the series and bringing down bad guys like an actual hero. There’s no overwrought drama or romance angle that bogged down the comic as has happened in the past. Just a fun little one-shot.
Christy Marx’s writing in general for the book is perfectly fine here. The story moves at a decent pace, flows well from scene to scene, and the dialogue and narration isn’t bad either. There’s a neat cameo to another Futures End tie-in that makes a lot of sense character-wise, though the ending is rather anti-climactic. The only problems I had with this issue’s narrative are some nitpicks with the story and the fact that there is no appearance by or reference to some of the other members of Birds of Prey. It wouldn’t have been bad to hear something from them honestly.
The standard transport of all ninjas: The White Van.
The artwork here is decent enough (unlike that silly looking cover). The characters look fine and are drawn well, the layouts are decent and easy to follow, the coloring is decent and gets the job done, and the action looks rather nice most of the time (an occasional rather static looking image notwithstanding). It’s not the kind of artwork that’ll push boundaries or anything like that, but it’s art that does get the job done well enough and is an improvement from the some of the art I have seen on the book in the past.
Is It Good?
Birds of Prey: Futures End #1 is a decent enough send off to the series, even if there are some plot problems going on. It’s a fine one-shot and with decent characterization and artwork. Where Black Canary goes after this is anyone’s guess, but hopefully it’s to a good book where she can get the best treatment she deserves.