graphic thoughts

Birds of Prey #5 (v. 2)

Birds of Prey #5 (v2)

Part One of Two: Two Nights in Bangkok

Birds of Prey (v2) #5, November 2010

Written by GAIL SIMONE
Lettering by SWANDS

I understand that Ed Benes had some health issues, but I seriously wish the art would stop changing on this book. It really does interrupt the narrative for any comic to have the art constantly shifting and changing. It goes without saying that the artist brings his or her own story-telling skills to the table and even if the writer is consistent, a book can feel very uneven if the art is in constant flux.

That said, I know there were some insurmountables here, but GEEZ. Meanwhile, loving Alvin Lee’s pencils. Wish he could have been kept as the permanent artist, but the next few issues continue the bumpy road of random artists. *pulls hair*

Our opening story arc has ostensibly wrapped, but its fallout goes directly into this two-parter. After last issue’s strong focus on our primary characters (Oracle and Black Canary), this issue spends a nice chunk of its time with our brilliant next tier, Huntress and Lady Blackhawk (so beautifully shown on the cover–kudos to cover artist Alina Urusov), though everyone gets a look-in.

I’m still unsold on the inclusion of Hawk and Dove, though I think Gail is using them about as well as can be expected and I am intrigued to find out what the story is with Hawk’s resurrection — which is the much ballyhooed-on-cover “Brightest Day” tie-in. Yes, that’s it. Just the scattered bits related to Hawk and Dove. BoP is the only “Brightest Day” thing I’m reading at all so I have no clue how this ties-in to the larger story — nor do I care.

I do like Dove and wouldn’t mind her sticking around, but I don’t think that heroic pair ever works separately…so I guess if we want Dove, we’re stuck with Hawk. Le sigh.

The issue opens on the aftermath of Oracle’s ordeal. As is often the case in Gotham, it’s raining (it’s POURING actually) but it is in this cold, slippery, precarious location that a relationship long hoped-for is finally realized.

Her little moment of respite is interrupted by Dinah’s ongoing battle — now switched to psychological territory — with White Canary; a battle which results in Dinah quitting the team and heading off to Bangkok in order to save the lives of her almost-daughter Sin and the girl’s foster family.

We also visit all our wounded warriors in hospital, get our little “Brightest Day” tie-in moment, find out Penguin is either smitten with Dove or desperately trying to make up for stabbing her so Huntress doesn’t eventually track down and murder him, and get a really nice scene with Huntress and Lady Blackhawk where the time-lost WWII vet scrambles out of her sick-bed to go track down Black Canary like she’s a naughty five-year-old. *loves*

This is a bit of a choppy issue with lots of ideas being introduced (Oracle’s new base of operations; more details regarding White Canary’s convoluted revenge plot; the BD stuff with Hawk; Huntress’s desire for revenge after the team’s ordeal; the fresh beginning Oracle hopes to provide to Savant and Creote), but it has the highlights of the opening hug through Huntress and Zinda’s closing street fight (which annoyingly switches art mid-scene) to anchor it and keep our interest.

The final reveal is a really nice cliff-hanger, though I have to admit I didn’t really follow all the scene-switches and details too well the first time I read it. Rereading for this review made things much clearer.

Next up: Aftershock, Part Two