Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Birds of Prey #11 review


Action!

Romance!

Leaky bowels ... this one has it all.

As a good Catholic girl, the Huntress is attracted to bad boys. And one in particular, Catman, who shows up just as she's chasing down a gang who have captured a hostage with medical problems. Will he help Huntress, or take the side of the villains? After all, he is a member in bad standing of the Secret Six, the DC Universe's favourite band of mercenaries.

It's been a while since the sparks between Helena Bertinelli and Tom Blake have been addressed, but author Gail Simone makes up for that this issue. In spades. The race against time through Gotham allows for perfectly paced characterisation and by the end of the issue we're in no doubt as to where each stands on the matter of a possible relationship. It's not often we see such chemistry between two characters, but the pull Catman and Huntress feel towards one another is palpable. 

He's a bad guy and she's on the side of the angels. She tells herself that she's in a grey area, more like a villain than a hero, but she's fooling no one. Yes, they're very alike, but it's a matter of him being more on her side of the line than he admits, not of her being anything less than a grade-A hero. 

Plus, they're both a little warped: she's packing Catholic angst, he's full of self-loathing. If they'd just go a little easier on themselves they'd have a real chance.

While this is the Catman and Huntress show, Oracle and Black Canary have a lovely scene as they fear and cheer the idea of a relationship (no prizes for guessing who takes which position). I also like that Dinah's still making Green Arrow's super-hot chili - there's hope for those two yet.


Artist for this issue is Pere Perez, who's been doing sterling work filling in across the DC line over the last couple of years. And here he is again, helping a book hit a deadline with dynamic, attractive art and still no word of a regular gig. It just ain't right. His Huntress and Catman are suitably dark creatures of the night. Babs Gordon, in her Bat-pyjamas, is an altogether cuter propositition. 

Nei Ruffino brings her colours to the table, and leaves the table looking grand; the script doesn't require flashy effects, but every page is a treat. And Carlos M Mangual, a letterer I've not come across previously, keeps things reading nicely. 

An extra joy is the cover by Stanley 'Artgerm' Lau. Just look it at. Now that's one hot snog. Then look at it more closely - that's great character work. And I love the romantic treatment given the logo. 

Without hangers-on Hawk and Dove, and Lady Blackhawk likely babysitting/corrupting Misfit, there's room for a brilliant, tightly focused Birds of Prey tale of the old school. I hope it's a sign of things to come.

6 comments:

  1. Is this a good jumping on point? new story arc?

    I'm going to have to check out this series.

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  2. Next issue starts a new story, but I'd recommend this as a taster - you'll certainly get the flavour of the comic.

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  3. I was planning on jumping on next issue, but Catman (I nearly typed Cartman) drew me in. And that cover! Yow.

    But next issue is Jesus Saiz's first one, so that'll be something to celebrate, too.

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  4. Please let me know if you give it a crack, see what you think.

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  5. I have to say VERY DISSAPOINTED with htis issue, esp as BOP is one of my guilty pleasures. The political correctness is at an all-time high...female characters can kick men arses but the men cant strike back without being accused of being woman-beaters...exactly how the previous issue turned out with snide 'you cant hit a woman' comments as the BOPs themselves rightly stuck it to the villains, Here, catman acts all over-pc over huntress [ who certainly dosent need it ] and were given the ' all men are weak fools' schtick that lowers Gail Simones work in my eyes.
    Memo to Ms Simone kindly treat men and women as EQUALS please.

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  6. Interesting remarks, Karl! Are you sending them to DC, for the lettercol? It'd be interesting to see their response.

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