Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Birds Of Prey #2 Review


Written by: Kelly Thompson
Art by: Leonardo Romero
Colors by: Jordie Bellaire
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Cover art by: Leonardo Romero, Jordie Bellaire
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: October 3, 2023

Birds Of Prey #2 enters the gearing-up phase of their mission to save Sin from Themyscira before she brings about the end of life as we know it. It's a silly billy scavenger hunt, Y'all!
Is Birds Of Prey #2 Good?

Forgive the glib tone in the paragraph above, but that last sentence perfectly encapsulates what this version of Birds of Prey by Kelly Thompson has become. Birds Of Prey #2 isn't a serious comic or an action/adventure comic. Birds Of Prey #2 is a semi-serious buddy cop cartoon with MCU Phase 4 levels of humor. If that's what you're looking for, that's what you get.

When last we left the BoP, Black Canary assembled a questionable mix of heroes and villains to form a new team to save Sin from Themyscira because a future version of Maps, called Meridian, said the Amazons will "accidentally bring about the end of the world." That's it. No details were given as to how or why, but you get the team, and they have their mission.

Now, Black Canary sets a timetable for everyone to sneak onto Themyscira, but the team splits up first to gather the items necessary to get Sin without alerting and being forced to kill any Amazons. Why? Because Black Canary said Meridian said, "There's some kind of creature attempting to make Sin its host." However, Meridian never provides that explanation in the first issue or this one (at least, not in the copy we received). The team splits up into pairs to procure magical items necessary for the trip, but all teams coincidentally wind up in the DC version of Diagon Alley in a silly comedy of errors that culminates in the first team fight against giant, yellow golems.

The issue concludes with the team on a rubber raft outside the waters of Themyscira on the blind promise from Harley that she can get them onto the island. Harley comes through by calling in a favor from Nanaue, King of the Sharks.

Yep, it's turned into that kind of comic. Basically, it's the Harley Quinn HBO cartoon with less cursing.

On a side note, much online huffing and puffing was made over the inclusion of Harley because Harley "almost beat Cass" in a fight. Per Kelly Thompson, Harley's value comes by way of her unpredictability. I was skeptical, and in this issue, that skepticism holds. Harley's contribution to this issue is fighting and winning against opponents who outclass her on every level, calling in favors, and making a generally annoying nuisance out of herself. The much-heralded unpredictability Harley is supposed to bring to the team doesn't play a factor once in this issue. Thompson will have to do better to prove why Harley is on this team.

What's great about Birds Of Prey #2? Admittedly, some of the humorous moments are amusing. If you're into cartoonish humor that sits somewhere between the Harley HBO cartoon and MCU Phase 4 slapstick ala Thor: Love and Thunder, you're in for a treat.

What's not so great about Birds Of Prey #2? Black Canary's secondhand off-panel explanation of Sin's predicament is an egregious no-no. When an entire arc centers around stakes that are loosely explained by an offhand comment, that's a rookie writing mistake. The mild slapstick shenanigans that get everyone to converge on Diagon Alley at the same time kill any sense of dramatic tension surrounding Dinah's mission and Sin's predicament.

And as feared, Harley's goofy, over-the-top personality overshadows every scene she's in, which is nearly every scene in the comic. This isn't a Birds of Prey story. It's a Harley Quinn story, guest starring the Birds of Prey.

How's the art? There are a few cool moments with Leonardo Romero's visuals, particularly when the teams fall through seams in reality to get to Diagon Alley. The rest is just fine. Romero's style probably suits a slice-of-life story best, but here, it's adequate.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces: 

Birds Of Prey #2 abandons any dramatic tension or seriousness in favor of a sanitized version of the Harley Quinn HBO cartoon with less cursing and more MCU Phase 4 levels of humor. The reason for Sin's predicament is explained, albeit poorly, and the team makes slapsticky progress on their mission, but it's very clear Thompson is writing for a very small audience that does NOT include legacy BoP fans, and Romero's art makes that small target audience even smaller.


1 comment:

  1. Great review, very fair. This was a big disappointment after issue one. I never cared about Sin in the original BoP, I’ve never been sold on her as Dinah’s sister-daughter (has she even been mentioned in the last 15 years), so if a big story centres on her, I need details.

    Why does this future person have to be Maps, there’s no trace of her sweet personality, why does Dinah trust her?

    The handwaving away of the ‘why not just talk to Wonder Woman?’ was terrible. I still have little idea who that Wildstorm Amazon is.

    Has Dinah lost access to Justice League transporter tech? Is she not talking to old pal Ted Kord? And so on.