[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Julie Benson & Shawna Benson
Artist: Roge Antonio
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo
Last issue ended with Fenice being broken out of Arkham Asylum and Helena questioning her mother’s repentance. This issue opens with Helena still feeling used by her mother, but we quickly learn that Fenice is not happy about her rescue by the Calculator. It should come as no surprise that the Calculator is trying to use Fenice to get revenge on Oracle. He believes that he can leverage his prison break of Fenice into a favor through which she will use her former mob contacts to force the Birds of Prey to give up Oracle’s identity.
In the process of Fenice’s interrogation by Blackbird, Fenice gives the Calculator more than he could’ve hoped for- Helena’s identity as the Huntress. Dinah and Barbara try to get Helena to believe that her mother may not have been part of the breakout and was just as surprised as they were. However, the Birds decide to take the fight to the Calculator and his allies. Dinah recruits Green Arrow for assistance on the streets as Helena and Barbara do some online recon. Helena gets an alert from her home security system and she realizes that Fenice has given up her identity to the Calculator as the security system shows Burnrate in her apartment. Helena engages her system’s counter measures and fries Burnrate, but fails in destroying the android.
The Calculator then engineers a city-wide hostage taking spree by Gotham’s mob families to occupy the police and draw the Birds out. The Birds counter with a help call to Poison Ivy and Catwoman that ends with Helena under Blackbird’s influence ready to give up Oracle’s identity.
There’s a lot of movement forward in the story in this issue. But, at the same time, the conflict is still driven by the nature of the three lead characters. Helena is conflicted by her feelings for her mother, Dinah is apparently struggling with a fear of the strength of her Canary Cry and Barbara is burdened by Gus’s death and the proper response. Additionally, it’s all very personal.
While the Birds of Prey may not be a household name, the animosity between Barbara (Oracle) and the Calculator is on par with arch nemeses like Superman/Luthor and Batman/Joker. It’s only right that the Calculator could get this close to Barbara.
This run of Birds of Prey has captured what makes the concept exciting and interesting, even though the details may be different.
Dinah’s reticence at using her power comes as a bit of a surprise, but it’s a minor complaint as the main conflicts work so well.
On its final run, it is more apparent that this run of Birds of Prey is doing everything right. This is one of the most interesting and unique concepts and deserves an audience. Perhaps, jumping on at the end sends the right message to the powers-that-be. The intimacy of the conflict and intimacy of the lead characters will always make the Birds of Prey stand out from the rest of the crowd.