Review: Birds of Prey #11
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Kelly Thompson
Art: Robbi Rodriguez, Javier Pina and Gavin Guidry
Colors: Jordi Bellaire
Letters: Clayton Cowles

Reviewed: Matthew B. Lloyd




The team finds itself in another “world,” this time populated by dinosaurs.  By the end of the issue, they come face to face with Maia, the big bad.


The art is the biggest positive coming out of Birds of Prey #11.  Rodriguez, Pina and Guidry combine for some fun action bits with the dinosaurs.  Jordie Bellaire also utilizes varying color combinations to make the world interesting and add to the excitement of the action.

The plot moves infinitesimally by the end of the issue as the group meet Maia face to face.  There’s an attempt by Thompson to have some “deep” moments with Dinah, Mari and Sin.  While aspects work, for the most part they just feel like they are there to be there.  Thompson’s script is uneven as it tries to be goofy and silly that when she goes for serious moments they feel out of place even if those moments are more in line with what’s made Birds of Prey a great series in its past incarnations.


The tone for the series is still obviously wildly off, and the fact that the ladies are fighting dinosaurs in this issue should be a huge warning sign.  The idea that as Thompson has Barbara say in the issue, “We’re probably a match for dinosaurs under normal circumstances.”  Does she not realize this team isn’t Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Mary Marvel?  Barda isn’t that strong, Cass and Sin have zero super-powers, Dinah herself would have limited effect on them with her cry (no Dinah you can’t punch a dinosaur- yes, she effectively punches a dinosaur) leaving only Vixen with her animal powers.  It might be a very difficult fight under normal circumstances.  Luckily for them Thompson isn’t really interested in a realistic encounter as they are able to escape.  It’s silly, it’s goofy, it’s completely out of place in a Birds of Prey series.

Negatives Cont’d

It’s clear Thompson doesn’t really want to write a Birds of Prey series.  She wants the wackiness of a Harley Quinn comic, but with a team of women.  That just isn’t what Birds of Prey has ever been.  It’s going to be hard to turn this title into that, the characters don’t lend themselves to that type of storytelling- square peg, round hole.  These characters are grounded, street level types- even Vixen’s connection with the animal world firmly places her in the realities of the world.  They feel out of place in the mystical and magical that Thompson is relying on for this series.  Thompson is trying to rebrand Birds of Prey, but it’s just not hitting the right notes.

Back in Gotham, Meridian has enlisted Constantine’s help. Zealot is also present and Thompson continues to harp on the one-note aspect of her character-“I don’t like killing Amazons.”  Please, tell us, what is this all about.  This was one of the interesting aspects Thompson introduced in early issues of this run, but in Birds of Prey #11 it’s just a reminder that it’s the only thing we really know about Zealot.  It’s supposed to be “revealing” dialogue, it’s supposed to be “clever,” but like most of Thompson’s ideas rooted in being “clever” it just comes off as tedious and superficial.


Birds of Prey #11 somehow isn’t the worst issue of this series.  There is some fun to be had with the action and some satisfaction with the brief confrontation with Maia at the end, but the tone, dialogue and superficial quality to the story fail to make any deeper connections.  Thompson is using a deep cut villain with Velvet Tiger (Maia’s mother), but there’s no substance to the connection and it’s emblematic of this series and issue- style over substance.  “Oh, isn’t that clever!”  No, it’s not.  It’s disappointing.  See Tom King’s Wonder Woman for more disappointing style over substance comics.  Too many female led titles are suffering from poor writing- Power Girl, Wonder Woman and Birds of Prey– can they get some help here?


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