Overview

Birds of Prey #100

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Birds of Prey #100

Credits

  • Words: Gail Simone & Tony Bedard
  • Art: Nicola Scott & Paulo Sequiera
  • Inks: Doug Hazlewood & Robin Riggs
  • Colors: Hi-Fi Design
  • Story Title: ?Blood and Circuits, Part One: A Chance to do Good? and ?Keepsakes?
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Nov 15, 2006

As the Birds reach a milestone issue, a founding member departs and Oracle reorganizes the team with some new faces.

In the wake of Black Canary’s retirement from the group, Oracle takes the opportunity to re-examine her operation and change the way she does business. She sends out a letter to numerous heroines, seeking new operatives. Soon she adopts a multi-tiered system that allows her to pick and choose agents as the mission dictates. First up: infiltrating a Mexican women’s prison to retrieve a very special inmate.

From the early Chuck Dixon days to the brilliant Gail Simone run, Birds of Prey has been one of DC’s most entertaining series and among my favorite comics. Here, the ladies reach the auspicious 100-issue mark, a truly impressive feat. Oracle and the gang have persevered through many trials and conquered the supposed industry trend that books with female leads don’t sell. (Maybe I’m just enlightened but I don’t see why the presence of an x-chromosome would make a character any harder to connect with. If comics readers can relate to aliens, mutants, and sorcerers whose life experience is so different from our own, is it really that hard to relate to--*gasp*-- a woman?)

This issue marks a dramatic shift in the book’s approach and cast. While BOP has come a long way from the two-person buddy book it began as, the expansion of the roster feels like a natural evolution and a revitalizing shot in the arm for the series. This first mission under the new system delivers all the wit, charm, action, and emotion that we’ve come to expect from Gail Simone and the potential in the group dynamics can already be seen. Big Barda’s slight haughtiness and warrior fury play nicely off of the new Judomaster’s unfailingly disciplined and polite demeanor. An intriguing new adversary with ties to a Golden Age hero is also introduced. However, the heart of the book remains Oracle and her primary agents, The Huntress and Lady Blackhawk. Under Simone’s pen, these characters have shot towards the top of my list of favorites. In #100, Huntress displays how far she’s come, from the reluctant and sometimes troublesome agent to a more balanced and capable leader. And Lady B is as appealingly enthusiastic, ditzy, and cute as ever.

Lest fans are already pining for the departing team member, the issue closes with a back-up story focusing on Black Canary and her newly adopted daughter, Sin. It doesn’t cover much new ground, mostly re-treading Canary’s history and the lessons she’s learned. Nevertheless, the bond already forming between these two is heartwarming and the story serves as an excellent primer on the Birds for new readers.

I first discovered Nicola Scott’s art a few years ago and I’m thrilled to see her receive a high-profile assignment like Birds of Prey. Scott is a natural for this book with a keen eye for realism mixed with a slight cartoonist’s influence. Her linework is solid and her characters have all the beauty and grace that superheroines should. Recent series regular Paulo Sequiera also turns in great work on the back-up feature, skillfully capturing the emotion of the burgeoning mother/daughter duo.

A new artist and a new direction combine with all the traits and quirks that make this an excellent and enjoyable series. Whether you’re new to the Birds or a longtime fan, this is an issue not to be missed.

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