Aspiring librarian Barbara Gordon lives a secret life, protecting the Gotham borough of Burnside as Batgirl. Yet even Barbara’s secret life holds a secret life!

Years ago, Barbara was paralyzed following an encounter with The Joker, and lost her ability to walk. However this did nothing to slow her battle against evil. She adopted the moniker of Oracle and—while working with fellow vigilante Dinah Lance, the master martial artist and sonic-screaming siren known as Black Canary—used her talents for research and computers to become the most powerful “white hat” hacker in the world!

Now, another hacker has adopted the Oracle name and is selling information to the Mafia families of Gotham City. Barbara Gordon isn’t happy about this. Neither is Helena Bertinelli, a former spy with the covert organization Spyral, whose family was gunned down in front of her by the Mafia when she was just a child. Adopting the name Huntress, Helena is determined to find this “Oracle” and put a permanent end to their activities, along with the rest of the Gotham City mob.

The three heroines are set on a collision course when Barbara approaches a reluctant Dinah about getting the band back together for one last mission, despite Dinah still holding a grudge about Batgirl accidentally burning down her dojo. Can two former friends and partners in crime-fighting overcome their bad blood? Can they convince Helena to give up vengeance in the name of justice?

Julie and Shawna Benson had their work cut out for them in revitalizing Birds of Prey for DC Rebirth. While Barbara Gordon, Dinah Lance, and Helena Bertinelli still existed in some form or fashion in The New 52 DC Comics Universe, they were quite different from the characters in Gail Simone’s legendary run as writer on the Birds of Prey series. In the new reality, Barbara Gordon was able to walk again and had left behind her identity as Oracle. Helena Bertinelli—once a loose cannon as Huntress—was now the director of a major spy network. And Dinah Lance—once a Justice League founder and legacy heroine—was now a homeless youth turned rock star!

The Benson sisters managed to turn all of this around in less than an issue, explaining all of their heroines’ histories while establishing personalities more in-line with how they were before. The story they spun that united the three as the new Birds of Prey is a riveting one, full of honest mystery and surprising twists.

The artwork by Claire Roe and Roge Antonio is competently executed. There is some visual discontinuity in the chapters where both artists are at work but this is a minor flaw in an otherwise fine looking comic. Roe’s style makes use of heavy inks and thick lines that establish a dark aesthetic that suits the story. Antonio, by contrast, favors a lighter, more exaggerated style that lends itself well to the comedic moments of the comic.

This volume is rated for audiences 12 and up. I consider this a fair rating, as there is nothing in this book that would be inappropriate for a teen audience. There is no nudity or sexual content. There is only some mild violence, with perhaps the tensest scene being a recreation of the moment in The Killing Joke where Barbara Gordon was paralyzed.

Batgirl and the Birds Of Prey, vol. 1: Who Is Oracle? (Rebirth)
Written by Julie Benson and Shawna Benson
Art by Claire Roe and Roge Antonio
ISBN: 9781401268671
DC Comics, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: 12+

  • Matt

    | He/Him Librarian

    Reviewer

    A librarian with over 10 years experience in public and academic settings, Matthew Morrison has been blogging about comic books for nearly as long as they’ve had a word for it.  Over the past two decades, he has written regular columns, commentary, parodies and reviews for such websites and blogs as Fanzing, 411 Mania, Screen Rant and Comics Nexus.  He has served as an Expert in Residence for a seminar on Graphic Novels and Comics for Youth and Adults at the University of North Texas and has given several lectures on the history of comics, manga and cosplay culture at libraries and comic conventions around the country. In addition to his work for No Flying No Tights, he is the Contributing Editor of Kabooooom.com and maintains a personal blog at MyGeekyGeekyWays.com.

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