Though the title of this series seems to suggest it’s all about Batgirl, it’s really a team book sharing time between Black Canary and Huntress and this issue is proof of that. If you ever wanted a Black Canary flashback sequence you get it here–is it good?
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #3 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The DC summary reads:
“WHO IS ORACLE?” part four! The dangerous new Oracle is finding that Gotham’s mobs aren’t up to the task of keeping the Birds of Prey off the scent…so send in the Snakes! Copperhead, The Asp, Cottonmouth, and Lady Viper are the most venomous foes the Birds have ever faced!
Why does this book matter?
Julie and Shawna Benson have proven they get how to write dialogue and artist Claire Roe (with flashback artist Roge Antonio this issue) knows how to make every expression count. Together they’ve put together a book that’s all about character which makes the experience a fun one. It’s like you’re hanging with the girls as they solve crimes. Most comics don’t do that.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Black Canary’s flashbacks do a good job explaining her anguish and pain, further reminding us she’s not as simple as most heroes. She has a lot of crap to sift through and we get to see key moments in her childhood here. These scenes help to break up the main narrative, but also explain how she got so good at fighting. This culminates into a moment between Black Canary and Huntress that’s even more heartfelt due to the recent reminder of how hard she’s had it being an orphan. I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers!
The main narrative is essentially a fight comic as the bad guy sends their goons to kill Commissioner Gordon and the man he’s supposed to protect. The Birds of Prey get to kick some butt and it’s fun to see the villain’s powers (though they’re not very powerful come to think of it) which allows Roe to continue to do good work. There’s also a comedic bit that shows this team isn’t quite as sharp on timing as they could be.
It can’t be perfect can it?
While good, the art by Roge Antonio in the flashbacks is a bit jarring when compared to the main narrative. It jars you out of the flow of things due to the very different look and feel. The color is quite different too–though probably on purpose to convey flashback–creating an even more stark contrast.
Due to the flashback slowing things down the main narrative crawls in this issue. There’s certainly some decompression going on, which leaves you wanting more. The cliffhanger isn’t all that shocking or interesting either since we barely know the characters who finally come together. I’ll bet we get a big flashback to explain their relationship next issue, but as far as this one you’ll shrug your shoulders at it.
The plot thickens.
Is It Good?
This series continues to be a fun character-soaked ride. If you dig character building–or just Black Canary in general–you gotta read this. If not though, the main narrative is so slow moving you could skip it and miss little.