Friday, February 17, 2012

COMIC: Top of the Stack - Birds of Prey #6 (Review)

Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Javier Pina
Cover: Jesus Saiz

Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

7 for 7, another different title makes it to the top of my reading stack this week and I am starting to think that 2012 has brought on a renaissance with team books because I cannot get enough of them!

DC Comics makes its return to my weekly pick after a few weeks away with the release of BIRDS OF PREY #6 from Duane Swierczynski and Javier Pina. I have been a reader of BIRDS OF PREY for many years, since around the latter part of Chuck Dixon's run on the original volume but for the most part of that time I was reading the book despite its stories because of how much I loved the characters (or their potential) that were a part of it.

Now that we are firmly implanted in the new DC 52, the BIRDS OF PREY has gotten a new lease on life and I am loving every bit of it. Still on the team from its previous incarnation is Dinah Lance, the Black Canary, who also is wearing a new look, one that slightly resembles an old costume between her fishnet stockings outfits. So far six issues in I consider this almost a perfect book for those who wanted a solo Black Canary story and found her feature in the GREEN ARROW/BLACK CANARY book lacking. Sure it is a team book but she is by far one of the main characters.

Also on the team is Katana, who is slightly different in the new DC 52 and has a soul stealing mystical sword; Poison Ivy, who has not turned a new leaf but coexists with the group despite her crazed ways. She adds to the level of greyness surrounding the team; Starling, a 'master spy' who is as dangerous as lovely; And Batgirl, who seems determined not to be a part of the team but finds herself involved more than she'd like.

The man behind this team would be writer Duane Swierczynski, who besides having written several novels was previously an exclusive writer for Marvel and had a long twenty-five issue run on CABLE roughly three years ago. Along with artist Jesus Saiz, a veteran DC artist who worked on books like THE OMAC PROJECT, the two have been on the series from the start and have provided a solid foundation for the future of the title. Filling in for Saiz this month is Javier Pina, who collaborated with the previous issue's art and has worked on DC's MANHUNTER series back in the day and more recently BOOM! Studios' SOLDIER ZERO.

In this issue the Birds further plunge themselves into the sleeper agents cell they uncovered, focusing on a character that was introduced in the very first issue of this new run. Readers get a nice explanation just how complex the webs woven by this mysterious 'Choke' who created these sleeper agents without the very people being used knowing it happened.

The art is perfect for a book featuring many beautiful heroines. Sometimes I see books that feature women characters get illustrated with styles that do not match with them and not look pretty but that is not the case with BIRDS OF PREY. Each character looks unique, looks great and even better, look awesome in action. There is no stiffness or forced poses that can sometimes seduce artists that draw women. The pages really give off a feel of excitement and adventure that reminded me a lot of another great heroine book at one time, Bryan Q. Miller's BATGIRL.

I do miss some of the old members of the team, like Dove and Lady Blackhawk, but I have to admit that I am enjoying getting to know this new cast of girl power surrounding Black Canary. Poison Ivy has always been one of my favorite DC bad girls, Katana was one of the few reasons I would pick up THE OUTSIDERS book back in the day, and Starling just seems like a great other voice for Dinah in the vein of Huntress with the prior group. I cannot wait to see what trouble these girls will find next, I mean of course once they handle 'Choke'.

Look to buy the BIRDS OF PREY #6 digital comic on Comixology for $1.99

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