Review: Birds of Prey #9
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Kelly Thompson
Art: Jonathan Case and Gavin Guidry
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Clayton Cowles

Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd




Part 1 “Worlds Without End” begins in Birds of Prey #9- just where did Dinah, Barda, Sin, Cass and Mari go when they followed Barbara into that portal?


The fourth art team debuts on this series and Jonathan Case and Gavin Guidry have another style to strut on the pages of Birds of Prey #9.  It’s adjacent to Leonardo Romero’s, but remains distinct.  Jordie Bellaire’s colors go along way in maintaining a consistency.  The atmosphere in this story is communicated quite well through the art as we explore this strange world.


The latest issue of Doom Patrol puts the team in a routinely bizarre situation…oh, er… uh…this isn’t Doom Patrol?  Tone has been an issue with this series since issue #1.  In that issue, Harley was rightly feared to distract from the tone of the series, and Kelly Thompson has managed to do that to an even greater degree with Birds of Prey #9 without Harley even being mentioned in the issue.  Thompson has Dinah mention Danny the Street and that makes it clear that this series has veered into Doom Patrol territory.  That’s exactly how this issue feels.  There’s almost nothing in this issue that feels like a Birds of Prey comic.  Despite Dinah and Barbara being a part of the story…it’s gone off in such a strange direction that it reads like a Doom Patrol comic.  As a Doom Patrol comic it has some potential.

That tone is reinforced by some of the awkward humor in the opening sequence.  This was apparent in parts of Birds of Prey #8 as well.  It doesn’t land the way Thompson thinks it does and just comes off as a juvenile.  Thompson also brings back the picking between Mari and Dinah over Dinah’s costume choices.    Would they really pick like that when thrust into an unknown, confusing and dangerous situation?  Thompson also is having trouble with Dinah’s voice, she’s more and more detached as “too cool to care,” despite what we get of substance with the character indicates the opposite.  There’s no secret to be revealed that Dinah genuinely cares for Barbara.  The decision to include it is misplaced, unnecessary and superficial.  It’s just an odd thing to bring up.

Negatives Cont’d

There’s a strange moment when Meridian comes to- she was knocked out and left behind.  She goes to Star City and goes to the home of … Oliver Queen?  There’s an additional attempt at awkward humor before Zealot steps out from another room.  It’s not clear, but this must be Grifter, right?  He and Zealot were together in issue #1, but a blond man with facial hair in Star City is going to be taken as Ollie.  

There are unanswered questions as Dinah, Sin, Barda, Cass and Mari find a way out of this world and it seems rushed.  It comes off as a contrived moment to make the reader think, “oh wasn’t that fun!”  However, it really just makes the story feel like it’s going nowhere.  Almost nothing of real significance happens.  Everything is to cutesy.  Is this Thompson’s style or just a poorly conceived approach to this series?  


Birds of Prey #9 strays further from the what makes the Birds of Prey the Birds of Prey.  Ill suited humor and a tone and milieu that resembles the Doom Patrol are the biggest culprits.  Coupled with the fact that the story barely moves forward, the issue is relies on the out of place elements to carry it.  There’s little substance to what transpires and it seems to set up a meandering arc that will end in a “surprise.”  There are some elements that have potential, but not in within the pages of Birds of Prey.



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