Review: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #12

For those keeping scores this is actually the fourth volume of Birds of Prey, not counting the various one shots and mini series.  For what started as a book staring two strong female characters, whose trust in each other grew to encapsulate the disavowed Huntress, has somehow degenerated into this haphazard book of barely recognizable characters.

As of last issue, the new Oracle admitted that he had ties to the super evil genius known as The Calculator.  However, it seems that even evil geniuses have families and the Calculator’s is under threat of death unless the team can help him out by taking back what was stolen by Catwoman.  Once quick call, one rooftop meeting and its Mission Improbable time as the gang break into the unbreakable as they aim to get to the root of Calculator’s problem.

To say that Julie Benson and Shawna Benson have failed to hit the heights of expectations is  more than an understatement.  I remember the hype of their announcement and the hope that at last the book could maybe get back to the dizzy heights of Gail Simone’s first run on this book.  Unfortunately, this book has been stuck in the mud, as the relationships that used to be such a focal part of the team has degenerated into nothing more than banter.  Hell, regardless of the costumes, I barely recognise the trio of heroines.  There is no way that the Helena Bertinelli in this book is the same Helena Bertinelli from the Grayson book and don’t even get me started on Black Canary!

Another failing in this book is the art.  I understand that there is a movement away from some of the curvaceous art  that has graced superheroine’s in the past. But in doing so we no longer see Ed Benes, Alan Davis amongst many, put pencil to paper.  This issue, by  Roge Antonio is as androgynous as you would expect despite the inclusion of a couple of DC’s greatest femme fatales.  Based on this book, I have no idea what the hell Bruce sees in Selina!

I can’t blame the fall of the this book on just the current crop of creators.  Since Simone left the first time, this book has been in free fall.  Not even Simone’s return pre-New 52 could reignite the magic.  For true fans of Batgirl, Black Canary and the Huntress, please get some top talent on this book, before the lack of anything of substance causes its cancellation and the cries of non diversification are placed squarely at your feet!

Writing – 2 Stars
Art – 2 Stars
Colors – 3 Stars

Written by Julie Benson & Shawna Benson
Art by Roge Antonio
Colors by Allen Passalqua
Published by DC Comics

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