BIRDS OF PREY #34 by Christy Marx with pencils by Robson Rocha and breakdowns by Scott McDaniel, inks by Oclair Albert and colors by Christopher Sotomayor fails to make me care.
A couple of months back when I first got this reviewing job, I was assigned the final handful of issues of BIRDS OF PREY. I’d never read an issue before and was only vaguely familiar with most of the characters. I decided to not do any reading up on the series before hand. It probably wasn’t the best place to start my experience, but I wanted to see if these issues were strong or interesting enough to make me interested in checking out more of the series. The last couple of issues had me waffling back and forth on whether or not I was enjoying it, but this issue, the last proper one besides next month’s FUTURES END 5-years-later tie, finally, definitively had me come down on the side of “not interested.”
Well, I still dig the art. I’ve always been a sucker for heavy cross hatching and here it’s used well here to make the art look really dirty, which fits great with the desert setting of the issue. I also enjoy the choreography of the fight scenes. Super hero comics sometimes have a tendency to just have nonsensical fights of one big hit after enough, sort of existing in a vacuum independent of each other, but the artists generally strive to lay out the actual real progression and flow of a fight, move by move. It’s not always as exciting this way, but it’s more fun and interesting.
This issue is just all kinds of lazy. Whenever there is an easy way out to take, you can bet it goes for it. The Suicide Squad and the Birds fight until it’s time to stop fighting and work together. Black Canary and Amanda Waller, who have been punching each other while talking about Canary’s husband for two issues now decide it’s time to stop punching each other because, hey! This series is almost over! Gotta wrap all that stuff up. The Birds and the Squad had ostensibly been fighting over who was going to get to rescue this particular guy, and after they stopped fighting each other and Waller and Canary had as well, Waller (head of the Suicide Squad) decides that the Birds can rescue the guy, because it is their book after all. After the fight, Black Canary’s amnesiac former husband immediately decides to take Waller up on her off of help and goes off with her immediately, Batgirl decides she is mad at Black Canary and leaves the team, another team member decides she’s got better things to do and leaves, and Black Canary flies off with her new man. And so the Birds of Prey call it quits in a spur of the moment decision because THE BIRDS OF PREY is ending.
Is Black Canary a character who is always completely defined by her relationship with her man? I don’t know that much about the character, but that’s how she is presented here. I think every line of her dialogue in the issue is about a man. Of course, this is the end of a storyline about her and her returned-from-the-dead former husband, so it’s to be expected, but it’s handled in a way that feels kind of demeaning to the. She seems to be on the point of hysteria for most of the issue. At one point Waller tells her that her husband only married her because they were about to go on a mission that he thought would be a suicide mission and wanted to give her happiness before they died, and it made me feel kind of weird. Then at the end she is upset about him choosing to go with Waller instead of staying with her, then she immediately flies off to seemingly start a relationship with her teammate who has been hitting on her and whom she rejected a couple of issues ago. It all adds up to make her come across as a week character completely emotionally dependent on the men in her life.
I hated this issue and it killed my interested in the series. Well, I guess it’s a relief that I don’t feel the need to hunt up any back issues to see what I missed.
Buy this comic if you like dependent women, cliche super hero-first-fight-then-team-up storytelling, or hastily wrapped up endings.