For the first time since 2003 the regular writer of Birds of Prey is not named Gail Simone. As part of DC’s New 52 writer Duane Swierczynski takes over a team that, quite frankly, has seen better days.
The recent run of the title never matched the heights of the first volume and, although I love Gail Simone, I wasn’t opposed to giving someone else a shot at the title. Sadly, this isn’t what I had in mind.
Not only does Barbara Gordon‘s return as Batgirl throw Stephanie Brown under the proverbial bus but it leaves a huge hole to be filled on a title that centered around her as Oracle. The comic was about the relationship between Babs and Black Canary, and started clicking on all cylinders with the inclusion of the Huntress (and great supporting characters like Zinda Blake).
Although Black Canary is present here (in another puzzling costume redesign that makes me nostalgic for any of other costumes – even her Justice League look), the Huntress isn’t part of the team and Babs is present only a token appearance.
The focus this time seems to be on Canary (wanted for murder, by the way) running her own team consisting of Starling (a brand-new character) and other members who haven’t yet been recruited. The pair attempt to save a reporter from a murderous gang of invisible killers (which isn’t nearly as cool as it sounds).
Even when Volume 2 of the series struggled (like whenever Hawk was in a panel) it still had Gail Simone’s passion and wicked sense of humor. Sadly this one does not. I might give this another issue or two to see how the introduction of other members changes the dynamic of the comic, but more out of respect for characters Simone helped nurture and make wildly popular than any real hope for improvement. Hit-and-Miss.