Sigh. I like Birds of Prey. I like the female-centric story lines and the DC Universe’s women coming together to make a formidable crime solving/fighting team. It’s just that I find it hard to believe that women who are as smart and as kick-ass as Black Canary and Huntress really think that the most practical things to run around and fight crime in involve fishnets and leather bikinis. The series is written by a woman and supposedly appeals to a women due to its content, but the art remains drawn for a distinctly male audience. At their fiercest and grittiest Black Canary, Huntress and Oracle retain an overwhelming doe-eyed sexuality. These are not women who live or fight realistically, and that is not something that is likely to appeal to a female audience, at least not until Batman and Nightwing are stripping down to their skivvies and draping themselves across beds in order to fight the bad guy. Now that’s a book I’d read.
Leaving aside my qualms about the sexualization of the female superhero (more so here than in previous volumes of Birds of Prey) this was a pretty good story. It deals nicely with the ongoing trust issues between Oracle and Black Canary. It brings up elements from Black Canary’s past and makes her face her feelings of helplessness as a result of having lost her sonic cry, and because she is a woman. I felt a little like DC was pulling their punches with this volume, but that I think is a function of age appropriateness and not lack of understanding of topic matter on their part. I’m curious to see where the series is going with their look at what it means to be a woman and to be a superhero and how images of helplessness and strength are conflicting in that situation.
Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds
by Gail Simone
Art by Ed Benes
DC Comics 2004