[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Julie Benson & Shawna Benson
Artist: Roge Antonio
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo
It’s never easy to end a series. A final issue often has to wrap up the current story line as well as tie a bow around the series. If the series doesn’t feature well known characters, it could be the last appearance for the protagonists. In the case of Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #22, these characters will be seen again. Hopefully, in another Birds of Prey series in the near future. While there’s a sadness here because this current series is ending, these characters will be around in the DC Universe.
Apparently, under the control of Blackbird, Helena seems to be on the verge of giving up Oracle’s identity to the Calculator. Not so fast! Blackbird can’t do that to to Helena with her Spyral hypnos still active. Calculator stops Blackbird from a physical assault, believing there’s another way of getting the information he wants.
Back at Terracare, the Batgirl, Green Arrow, Catwoman and Poison Ivy are reeling from Black Canary’s sonic attack on Burnrate. Burnrate is toast and the rest slowly come to. Batgirl and Canary take Burnrate’s head with them to use it to get a lead on the Calculator and leave Ivy and Catwoman to bring Ollie up to speed. Batgirl is able to use Burnrate’s head to pinpoint the Calculator’s location.
It’s showdown time as Batgirl and Black Canary rescue Helena and have to watch the mind controlled Fenice (Helena’s mom) continue to assist the Calculator. It comes down to a face to face showdown between the Calculator and Batgirl. In order to end it, Barbara finally answers the Calculator’s question, “Who is Oracle?” But, Canary and Helena answer in the affirmative as well- confusing the Calculator once again. In Calculator’s final attempt to win the day, Fenice takes a bullet for Helena and Helena returns the favor with a crossbow bolt which incapacitates the Calculator.
In the wrap up, Helena goes on to focus on her future instead of her past, and Dinah apparently moves in with Ollie. Barbara finds a message from Gus which leads the team to a warehouse with all his Birds of Prey memorabilia. After viewing the museum like collection, the Birds decide to go out and make more memories!
The end of this story arc dove tails nicely with the end of the series. It’s clear the Birds will fight again someday, and the issue ends on this upbeat note. While it was gratifying to see Barbara tell the Calculator that she was Oracle, it was equally gratifying to see Black Canary and Huntress echo her response so as to keep the Calculator in the dark.
It was a little disappointing that Fenice had to die. If Helena had to continue to reconcile with her mother it could provide for some really great character development and an emotionally charged plot line. However, it may work best as is since this is the last issue of the current series. One wonders if this would’ve been handled differently if the series was not ending.
Over the past two years, this series successfully grew out of the “New 52” into the Rebirth era to embrace both modern and dare I say the classic Birds of Prey into a formidable title that gelled into an amalgam of all eras. It never felt derivative, only inspired. This series will be missed. Please, show your support and make this a “must buy” this week.