[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Julie Benson & Shawna Benson
Artist: Roge Antonio
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo
“MANSLAUGHTER” finale! A mysterious plague has infected all the men in Gotham City! The Birds of Prey have united the city’s female heroes to stop whoever’s behind this manfluenza, but even their combined might may not be enough to defeat the Daughters of Gotham and their mysterious leader, Patient Zero. They’ll have to act quickly if they want to save Batman and the men of Gotham before they succumb and the virus spreads far beyond the city limits.
You know the old saying “why can’t we all just get along?” That typifies my feelings when it comes to those characters who have gone from villain to anti-hero. Nothing warms my heart more than a Black Adam, Catwoman or Poison Ivy fighting alongside their former nemeses. This only works because the characters have developed into three dimensional characters over the years. Of course their has to be a real villain in the piece, and even in the case of “Manslaughter,” there’s a lot of sympathy for Patient Zero. While her methods are completely and utterly horrific, one can’t help feel her pain and at least understand her logic.
The most significant aspect of seeing everyone “get along” is that it offers hope that common ground can be found between those groups that seem to always be at odds with one another. Within the context of the story, one hopes that an event like this would affect the people of Gotham in a positive way, at least for a little while….
Finally, this story touches on a real truth: men and women need each other, and not just for the obvious procreative necessity. There’s a balance that men and women bring to each other. The conflict demonstrated in this story arc showed examples of each side over balancing, and the teaming up of the heroes and “villains” of Gotham showed how that balance can work.
There aren’t any real negatives here. The Benson’s are expanding the roster of the Birds slowly so that characters like Catwoman, Ivy and Harley Quinn can be used without it seeming errant or sensational. They are slowly bringing these other characters closer to the main three and it is working. There’s strong characterization for everyone and there’s a story to illustrate how these characters are able to work together.
Men! Women! They have to live together! And, the Birds of Prey and friends figure out how to stop the slaughter of the men in Gotham City through the classic example of pulling together for a common cause. There is a true hopefulness in this issue that is only matched by the characterization that gets us there.