Thursday, October 27, 2011

Birds of Prey #1

DC Comics, 20 pages, $ 2.99

Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Jesus Saiz
Colorist: Nei Ruffino
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual

Just last year, writer Gail Simone returned to her signature title Birds of Prey, relaunched it and re-established it as a well-received title with solid mid-level sales. For its “New 52” relaunch, DC decided to switch creative teams again anyway.

Reading the new book, which stars a group of DC Universe superheroines, doesn’t make the decision any less puzzling. Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz offer up a rather bland action story with some awkward storytelling hiccups.

In one particularly baffling sequence, one of the protagonists ends up dangling from a rope around her neck that’s shown to be cutting into her flesh while she’s surrounded by invisible assassins. You’d think the situation was kind of pressing. The creators disagree. They forget about the character entirely for one page and then have her wallow in an extended—and random—flashback, before it occurs to her that, hey, why not draw my knife and cut myself loose from this rope that cuts me seeing as I am dangling from it in the middle of a bunch of invisible assassins, dang it.

Towards the end of the issue, the art shows one of the attackers to have a similar face as the guy who was just rescued by the heroes. One of the protagonists sees him, but seems more surprised by the fact that he tries to kiss her. Is it meant to be the same face? Why doesn’t she mention the incident to her teammates? I have no idea what the scene is meant to be communicating.

It doesn’t really matter, though, because there isn’t a single distinctive character in the book. I couldn’t even remember their names without looking them up, let alone what their mission or the conflict was supposed to be.

What a non-starter.

Grade: D

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