Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Birds of Prey #1 Review

The Many Faces of Crime Fighting

Written By: Brian Azzarello
Art By: Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy, Trish Mulvihill, John Kalisz, Steve Wands
Cover Price: $9.99
Release Date: June 2, 2020

It's finally here!  The on-going series turned mini-series, turned Black Label one-shot that was delayed beyond belief is finally out and about and it's a hundred damn pages.  Well, at least we're getting a bang for our buck and the creators are hopefully being able to tell all the story they can in that over-sized page count because it's got to be hard to put everything you had into one release and hope that everything makes sense and flows together well.  That's just what we're going to find out as we jump into this Black Label look at the Birds of Prey and see what kind of mature Universe we're dealing with.  Let's check it out.

Whenever you deal with a Black Label book you can pretty much expect it to be a part of its own continuity and with that, you don't have any baggage going in and can start out fresh with whatever the writer is going to give you.  Personally, I love continuity and for anyone else out there like me, there is a cool thing going on with this Birds of Prey book, where you can say it's its own thing, but you can see pieces in here that can make this one-shot a sort of continuation of the New 52 continuity that most writers have abandoned after Rebirth hit.  What I'm talking about is that our story begins with a former teammate and lover of Dinah Lance calling her up in the middle of the night right before he's killed by this book's big bad, but from this death, it seems that we can trace this back to Dinah's work with Team 7 and not only that but Dinah is still the lead singer of the Black Canary Band.  Not only that, but Harley's release from Belle Reve, taking her out of the Suicide Squad and getting her back to Gotham, where the Joker wants her dead can harken back to what we dealt with years ago in the New 52, but really....... this aspect really just seems like it's playing from what we got in the Birds of Prey movie.  Yeah, it's a little bit of this, a little bit of that, but overall you're getting a more comic accurate portrayal of the characters, even if they're depicted in a more mature light.

As for the mature aspect to this book, yeah, you get some swears, some decapitations and blood flowing, but the majority of it seems to deal more with the mature aspect of alcohol and drug abuse and possibly some risque aspects of Dinah's sexual desires that are more alluded to in my mind, but overall there wasn't anything too over the top for the Black Label status here.  Essentially though, you get the formation of this story's Birds of Prey which consist of Black Canary, Huntress, Harley Quinn and pinch of Renee Montoya sprinkled in and it's Renee who becomes the catalyst for this whole endeavor that our heroes have taken on, but in the end, because of the way that Azzarello's story had to be condensed there wasn't really a satisfying ending in my mind.  The book just kind of ends and the fate of some of the characters and the resolution to their adventures are just kind of left open because we ran out of time and page space, but overall, there's still a lot to enjoy from this truncated story.

All in all, the art in this one-shot is amazing and I love how all the characters look and want to see Emanuella Lupacchino back on an ongoing series soon.  The story on the other hand doesn't come together as well as I would have liked, simply because we didn't have the time to really get us where we needed to be for everything to be fleshed out and feel like we got a natural progression to what was going on.  Even with that though, I still enjoyed this one-shot for the most part and would have liked to see what we would have gotten from an ongoing, Black Label or not because there was some fun to be had here, even if that fun was a bit over the top violent at times.

Bits and Pieces:

For anyone who was a fan of the New 52 or a fan of the Birds of Prey movie, you'll get aspects of both here as Azzarello tries to put together a world where Black Canary, Huntress and Harley Quinn are the heroes of Gotham.  Yeah, it doesn't come together as well as I would have liked because of how the story had to be condensed for this one-shot, but overall it was still fun and the art was amazing throughout.


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