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Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds by Gail Simone
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Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds (2004)

by Gail Simone, Ed Benes (Illustrator), Alex Lei (Illustrator)

Other authors: Rob Lea (Illustrator)

Series: Birds of Prey, Birds of Prey [volume 1] (56-61)

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The cover of this one made me feel a little skeevy when I picked it up from the library-- only one button, Oracle? a "belly window," Huntress?-- but this is the start of Gail Simone's celebrated run on Birds of Prey. For most of the story, Black Canary is captured and seemingly under threat of torture, an interesting contrast to what happened to her at the beginning of Mike Grell's Green Arrow run in The Longbow Hunters. That torture removed her sonic cry, destroyed her ability to have children, and caused her to largely abandon her crime-fighting career. And, of course, she was utterly dependent on Green Arrow to rescue her. (Though what's not often mentioned is that in the prelude to The Black Arrow Saga a couple years later, Green Arrow was just as badly tortured, and rescued by Black Canary in an amazing example of sheer ass-kicking.) The torture her serves as a rebirth of sorts for Black Canary: she remasters her sonic cry, and she's rescued not by her boyfriend, but by her new best friends, Oracle and the Huntress, working together as they've never done before-- not to mention Canary's own quick thinking. It's an effective way to signal the beginning of a new era.

Otherwise, this is a serviceable but unremarkable superhero story, involving captures, double-bluffs, escapes, and lots of fighting. The best part of it is Simone's grasp of the characters; she ably picks up the ball from Chuck Dixon and carries on the development of Dinah and Barbara, adding Helena into the mix as well. There are a lot of great moments: Helena saving a baby, Dinah having to cope with a wheelchair of her own, Barbara's battle of wits with Savant.

If only Ed Benes didn't feel compelled to show off all the female characters' butts and boobs at every opportunity. Are you fifteen, dude? What is this supposed to be in aid of? I also miss the Black Canary costume introduced at the beginning of Dixon's run; I'm not sure where it went in the gap between Old Friends, New Enemies and this story. Benes also draws Dinah a little too young; especially with that haircut, she looks like she's 20 years old, when in fact she's a few years older than Barbara. On the other hand, I think he gets Barbara down perfectly, and he's pretty adept with facial expressions, which is important when you have a largely immobile character!

Birds of Prey: « Previous in sequence | Next in sequence »
  Stevil2001 | Feb 17, 2013 |
Summary: Barbara Gordon once fought crime as Batgirl, but a bullet in the spine ended that life. After reinventing herself as Oracle, Babs uses a vast computer network and her own photographic memory to act as an information broker to superheroes. She also takes a more proactive approach to crime fighting with the help of Dinah Lance, a.k.a. Black Canary, her field agent and friend. But when an extortionist named Savant abducts Black Canary, demanding Batman's secret identity for her safe return, Oracle needs to call in help from another costumed femme fatale - the Huntress.

I'm torn between liking this quite a lot and being a bit embarrassed by it. Gail Simone's writing is wonderful - with a solid plot, smart, snappy dialogue and winning characterizations. Simone writes superheroes who are tough, but also good, with lovely friendships. The loving camaraderie between Dinah and Babs is a joy to read, and Simone injects her story with liberal doses of action and humor.

Savant makes for an interesting villain. He's got somewhat bishounen inspired good looks, a lot of Batman's fighting ability, and he's a top-notch hacker with a lot of information on some very powerful men. He's brilliantly clever, but also a bit mad, as he can't keep his memories straight - he doesn't always know when things have actually happened.

Benes artwork is a bit of a detractor. It is very typical of superhero comics, with the girls all having very exaggerated breasts and striking plenty of lurid, provocative poses. There are an embarrassing number of panels framed by someone's ass and thighs. I'm not generally one to complain about the female form, but there is a point where it gets a bit embarrassing. Although I do have to admit to liking the way he draws their hair (it's very pretty.)

All in all this collection is fun, and while it is actually a collection of issues 56-59 of the monthly comic, it is in fact a perfect place for new readers to start as it marks the beginning of Simone's run on the title. I love the way Simone writes the characters, the sparkling dialogue and the development of the team dynamics and friendships, keeps me returning to this superhero title. ( )
1 vote catfantastic | Oct 24, 2010 |
Three women (Oracle, Black Canary, and Huntress) band together to fight the baddies... and do a fine job of it. Who needs Batman (or Robin... aka Nightwing, here) for that matter? I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series. ( )
  lweddle | Jan 9, 2007 |
Gail Simone's work with Birds of Prey is of an high order. This trade is a compilation of four issues dealing with the kidnapping of the Black Canary by the cult leader known as Savant, after a mission gone wrong.

The other Birds, with a bit of help, must work out how to get to her, and get her out.

http://graphicsf.blogspot.com/2006/12/birds-of-prey-of-like-minds.html ( )
  bluetyson | Dec 21, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gail Simoneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benes, EdIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Lei, AlexIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Lea, RobIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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I bet you're thinking how nice it might be to get a ride.
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Two stories featuring the most intriguing women in the DC Universe--the hard-hitting Black Canary, Oracle (the former Batgirl), Catwoman, and the Huntress.

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