27 February 2013

Faster than a DC Bullet: Birds of Prey, Part VIII: Perfect Pitch

Comic trade paperback, 223 pages
Published 2007 (contents: 2005-06)
Borrowed from the library
Read February 2013
Birds of Prey: Perfect Pitch

Writer: Gail Simone
Pencillers: Paulo Siqueira, Joe Bennett, Joe Prado, Eddy Barrows, Adriana Melo, Bruce Timm, David Lopez, Adam Dekraker
Inkers: Robin Riggs, Jack Jadson, Dick Giordano, Will Conrad, Fernando Blanco
Letterers: Jared K. Fletcher, Pat Brosseau

Perfect Pitch opens with a three-part celebratory story, which is possible one of the funnest Birds of Prey tales yet. The first part gives us a part for the recovered Dinah, with lots of fun moments for each of the characters, especially Zinda's attempts to flirt with Creote, Helena trying a new Italian restaurant's food, and Barbara making up with Dick. (Speaking of which, I feel like I only ever have half the story on that relationship-- was the other half happening in Nightwing comics I haven't read?) Then, there's a crazy story of a cultist attempt to sacrifice reporters in downtown Metropolis while Superman's away, which Dinah defeats with her usual aggressive approach. Bruce Timm's artwork for this tale is, of course, amazing. Finally, Helena gets to do some avenging. I'd say she was rapidly becoming my favorite Bird of Prey, except Barbara and Dinah are just as awesome.

The next story, the titular "Perfect Pitch," puts the Birds of Prey up against the Calculator (last seen by me being an anti-Oracle in Identity Crisis) as they continue their efforts to destroy Gotham's gangs by letting Huntress take over one of them. I didn't like this as much as some of the other recent stories: Batman is a jerk for unexplained reasons (if he previously told Oracle to stay out of Gotham, we never saw it happen in Birds of Prey itself), and Deathstroke the Terminator, possible my least favorite DC villain who is not Mongul, shows up. While him posing a threat to the Birds of Prey is more probable than him posing a threat to the Justice League, he's still completely overdone, and I was beyond pleased to see Dinah get him in the eye! Actually, there are a number of good moments in the story, such as Barbara revealing her new secret identity to her father, Huntress continuing to be badass, Dinah reconnecting with Oliver Queen for the first time since he cheated on her in Straight Shooter, Savant and Creote finally achieving real redemption, Dinah... "thanking" Batman, and Zinda learning the truth about Creote.

There's a year-long gap between "Pefect Pitch" and the next story, "Progeny." By the time of "Progeny," Dinah has left the team to switch positions with Shiva, who she wants to both learn from and redeem. I found that takeaway from Dinah being in the village where Shiva was raised kinda weak: she learns who she really is for the umpteenth time, I think. But I did like the subplot with Sin, even knowing how this will end up in Green Arrow and Black Canary.

On the other hand, Shiva serving with the Birds of Prey as "the Jade Canary" is every bit as delightful as you might imagine. But ugh, Prometheus shows up, and as long-time readers of my reviews might know, I hate him as much as Deathstroke and Mongul combined, probably. How did this many bad villains end up in the same collection? Also, Gypsy joins the Birds in this story... only you wouldn't even know that was her name were in not for the dramatis personae at the volume's beginning! Whoops.

Paulo Siequeira and Robin Riggs draw most of this volume, and they turn out to be Simone's most solid artistic partners yet. Good faces, solid linework. I was amused to notice that in this volume, Helena starts wearing purple lipstick that matches her Huntress costume's colors!

No comments:

Post a Comment