01 March 2013

Faster than a DC Bullet: Birds of Prey, Part IX: Blood and Circuits

Comic trade paperback, 206 pages
Published 2007 (contents: 2006-07)
Borrowed from the library
Read February 2013

Birds of Prey: Blood and Circuits

Writer: Gail Simone
Co-Writer: Tony Bedard
Pencillers: Nicola Scott, Paulo Siqueira, James Raiz
Inkers: Doug Hazlewood, Robin Riggs
Letterers: Travis Lanham, Pat Brosseau, Jared K. Fletcher, Rob Leigh, Ken Lopez

Even though there's no year-long gap in the middle, Blood and Circuits feels divided in much the same way as its predecessor. The first half continues the Birds of Prey's encounters with the Secret Society of Super Villains that began in Perfect Pitch, as they compete for control of Black Alice. Dinah considers her membership of the team, because of the girl Sin she adopted in that volume, and Helena has another showdown with a mobster from that story. On the other hand, a mysterious wannabe-Batgirl has appeared in Gotham. It's an okay story, worth it as always for the characters' interplay and growth, which wraps up with Dinah really deciding to leave. She also publishes a book about her career, which is charming, though I found it hard to believe that Barbara wouldn't have noticed until it came out!

The second half gives us a very different approach, as Dinah recruits widely to find a replacement for the Black Canary. Huntress and Lady Blackhawk on a mission with Big Barda turns out to be every bit as amazing as you'd imagine, and we also get to meet Kate "Manhunter" Spencer for the first time. She is awesome;  I look forward to reading her solo series someday. We also get a villain matched to Oracle: the Spy Smasher. She seems good so far, though the fact that she went to college with Barbara is a bit much. Unfortunately, the story is hard to judge, as the book ends when it's only halfway over. In retrospect, the last few collections of Birds of Prey could have been handled a bit better, I think, with something like:
  • first half of The Battle Within (taking down rogue vigilantes; issues #76-80)
  • second half of The Battle Within and first half of Perfect Pitch (up against the Gotham mobs, ending just before the Infinite Crisis; issues #81-90)
  • second half of Perfect Pitch and first half of Blood and Circuits (Dinah and Sin, all after the one-year jump; issues #92-99)
  • second half of Blood and Circuits and... whatever comes next? (issues #100+)
The best part of Blood and Circuits, by the way, is definitely the little story in the middle, where Dinah explains her history to Sin. Well written by Gail Simone and Tony Bedard, and probably the best art that Paulo Siqueira and Robin Riggs did on the title. The second half introduces Nicola Scott on pencils and Doug Hazlewood on inks, and she's my favorite of the artists paired with Simone thus far; I look forward to seeing more of her work in future volumes.

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