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Batgirl and The Birds of Prey #4 Review and *SPOILERS*
Written By: Julie Benson, Shawna Benson Art By: Roge Antonio, Allan Passalaqua, Deron Bennett Cover Price: $2.99 Release Date: November 9, 2016
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
The hunt is still on for the faux-Oracle, but Huntress' personal hunt for Santo has led to a rift in the team........ Well, that and the fact that she doesn't have a problem killing people...... that hurts the team a little. At the end of the previous issue we saw Fenice's snake-men kidnap Santo right under the noses of our heroes and saw Huntress leave the Birds of Prey team. Let's jump into this issue and see if Huntress can make it on her own or if the Birds will pull her back to their nest and smooth everything over. Let's check it out.
Our issue begins with a little history lesson about how the Bertinellis and the Cassamentos became the mafia of Sicily back in the 1860's, when they were protecting the people from thieves and murderers, but with great power comes great greed........... that's how that one goes right? Anyway, eventually the families started acting more like the mafia that America knows and when the two families immigrated to the Gotham, business continued as usual........ That is, until the Bertinellis, along with the rest of the crime families voted the Cassamentos out. This would lead to a big feud that would go on until know, especially since the Cassamentos ordered a hit on Helena's father, killing the rest of her family in the process, right in front of her. This is our history lesson that Helena, informs our Birds of Prey team of, but the thing that's messed up to me is that we see how she moved to Sicily to be with family and also so she wouldn't be a target in the Gotham mafia wars and how she was trained by her Uncle so that she would never be a victim again, but what we don't get is any of the time that she spent in Spyral or why she gave up on avenging her family so that she could become Matron for a time........ It just seems to be retconned out of this backstory and it comes off odd.
The way we get Huntress back on our Birds team and her informing Batgirl and Black Canary about how she became so savage is because Huntress went out to hunt down Santo on her own and was met by the remaining snake-men, but luckily the rest of the team showed up and made sure that Huntress didn't get in over her head. With the snake-men retreating with their tails between their legs and Fenice making off with Santo once again, our team regroup at the Watchtower, where they tell Helena that Oracle had a file on her that allowed Barbara and Dinah to figure out who Huntress was and now that all the barriers are broken and everyone's secret identity seems to be revealed to one another, it looks like Huntress sees her new teammates in a new light out of nowhere and even considers them her new family. Yeah, it's a little forced, but it's also nice.
In the end, after setting a data trap for Oracle, Barbara determines where this impostor is hiding....... which leads to a fight between our heroes and robot versions of Batman's rogues gallery, which was weird as hell, but ultimately they make it to Oracle's computer space, where they don't find their target, but what they do find is one hell of a Batgirl memorabilia collection making it seem like this new Oracle is more of a fan than a threat.
That's it for this issue of Batgirl and The Birds of Prey and while I enjoyed getting the backstory about Helena Bertinelli and why she's so death obsessed when it comes to mafia bosses, I also found it odd that her Spyral story was completely omitted here, especially since we know she was a part of that organization for a long time and for whatever reason put her vendetta on hold to become Matron. Besides for the backstory though, there wasn't a lot to this issue besides for awkward looking fight scenes and dialog that ultimately led us no further to finding out who this faux-Oracle is or even what's up with Fenice. Just not a lot going on here, but I was happy that I found myself enjoying the artwork in this issue more than I have previously and I like that our team are finally acting as a team, even if it came off a bit forced and out of nowhere.
Bits and Pieces:
Batgirl and The Birds of Prey still doesn't feel like that strong of a comic and even though I enjoyed getting some backstory in this issue concerning Huntress' motivations, the rest of the issue just wasn't that interesting. Luckily, this issue looked great though and was probably some of the strongest art that we've seen in this series.