In part three of the “Debugged” storyline, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey are out to stop Poison Ivy from killing innocent people. Jeez, just another day in Gotham, right? The funny thing is, Ivy is never far from attempting to do the right thing.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“SOURCE CODE” finale! Oracle’s past entanglements with Gotham City’s underworld have gotten the Birds in deep trouble as Calculator, Catwoman and Poison Ivy all pull the team into their own dark agendas! Even if they can get themselves out of this mess, the question remains: Does Oracle really belong with the Birds of Prey, or is he a criminal at heart?
Why does this matter?
Shawna Benson and Julie Benson know how to write strong characters via dialogue and plotting. That’s a given. Then you have Roge Antonio who can draw insanely good panels (he made it into POP last month!) and you have a recipe for success.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Nice use of repeated angle.
Once again Roge Antonio kills it on art, with some excellent use of perspective in an opening scene in a air duct that lands a funny visual joke. You never lose the fact that Catwoman doesn’t jive perfectly with this group and that element re jiggers things nicely. I also love how ripped Antonio draws Catwoman and Poison Ivy. It makes them somewhat more realistic looking given their physical prowess. Ivy looks fantastic in her costume and the use of glowing green hands helps convey her nearly magical powers.
As far as the story itself, the writers do well to link plants with bees, which adds a new element to Poison Ivy that fans won’t want to miss. I’m not sure how I feel about what is revealed in this issue, but it certainly adds a new layer to the character. The message behind it all–namely bees are dying and it’s really not good for humanity–comes through clearly too, which is always nice to see in comic storytelling.
The bigger win of this issue is seeing Ivy and Catwoman interact with the somewhat straight laced heroes. Certainly Huntress has some dark things in her past, but for the most part these villains add an interesting element to the team.
Dang, she’s ripped.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Unfortunately, it took two artists to finish this issue with Breno Tamura taking over the last three pages. Tamura’s art isn’t bad by any means, but the style is very different which threw me off. In these three pages–which act as an epilogue of sorts–the story gets redirected for the next issue. That means exposition and I’m not sure Tamura nails it. It feels stuffy and slow, which is an unfortunate way to end a solid issue.
On top of this there’s a rather abrupt switch for a certain character who seems to have decided very quickly to move on. I don’t know if this is an attempt to refresh things and get a new team in order, but it certainly feels forced.
Is it good?
Ivy and Catwoman steal the show in a good issue that has some major flaws. That said, these villains add a new dimension to the team you’ll want to keep an eye on next issue.