BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #14 [Review]

Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey #14 Cover
BATGIRL & THE BIRDS OF PREY #14/ Written by JULIE & SHAWNA BENSON/ Art by MARCIO TAKARA/ Colors by JORDAN BOYD/ Letters by JOSH REED/ Published by DC COMICS

Helena “The Huntress” Bertinelli had thought that bringing her friend, fellow superhero and famous rock star Dinah Lance along as a chaperone on a class trip might score her some cool points with her students. At the very least she thought it might silence the complaints about giving up their phones for a day as they visit Colonial Gotham!

Of course that was before Dinah was introduced to the wonders of social media and how she could use filters to turn herself into a cute cartoon pig and proved to be as incorrigible as Helena’s teenage charges. It was also before some ancient evil tied to the foundation of Gotham awoke under the historical theme park, requiring Huntress and Black Canary to deal with it without blowing their secret identities.

Back home in Gotham City, Barbara Gordon (a.k.a. Batgirl/Oracle) is holding down the fort alone. What started out as a quiet morning quickly requires Barbara to put on her I.T. hat in order to save Batman and his team from a Riddler death-trap. Then, when the police find themselves overburdened by bank-robbers and a string of simultaneous crime-waves, Batgirl will have to hit the streets solo to save the day!

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Batgirl And The Birds of Prey #14 is a rare book in many respects. The most obvious aspect is that it is based around a trio of superheroines in a male-dominated medium. The most subtle aspect is that said heroines are written with distinct personalities and come off as real women, no doubt owing to the book being written by sisters Julie and Shawna Benson. The most surprising aspect is that this comic is fun in a way that few superhero comics manage, even in the more lighthearted reality of DC Rebirth.

That free-spirit is well represented by the artwork in this issue. Marcio Takara sports a bold, dynamic style that matches the kinetic spirit of The Bensons’ action sequences. It falters only in the smaller panels, where Takara’s heavier inks obscure the details of his pencils. There is a similar incongruity in the colors of Jordan Boyd. Boyd’s bright, vivid colors suit the scenes of Batgirl rescuing cats and Black Canary going spend-happy at the Colonial Gotham gift-shop. They don’t quite match up with some of the scenes set at night or just look slightly off, such as the attempt at a sepia-filter during one flashback sequence.

Despite these minor issues with the artwork, Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey #14 is a wonderful one-shot introduction to one of DC Comics’ most underrated books. If you enjoy stories with strong women who aren’t generic “Strong Female Protagonists”, comics that deliver the perfect mix of action and humor or books that are just plain fun, this should be on your pull-list.

About Matt Morrison

Matt "Starman" Morrison is The Grand Exalted High Macha of Raspur - a non-existent but real-sounding country. He has been writing about comics since before the word "blogging" was coined. He enjoys acting, role-playing, movie-riffing and sarcasm. You can follow his adventures on Twitter, @GeekyGeekyWays.

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