Batgirl and The Birds of Prey Rebirth #1 review

First issue of Birds of Prey fails to take flight

In the waning days of the pre-New 52 era of DC Comics, Birds of Prey was one of the more acclaimed and fan favorite titles. The New 52 version failed to attract nearly as much devotion so DC head honchos are hopeful the second time is the charm. If the Rebirth preview is indication, the Birds might need another spin before the title takes off.

Sibling writers Julie and Shawna Benson spend half the issue catching readers up to speed with Batgirl’s status quo. Mainly that’s a rehashing of the established history with her most significant moment being shot and paralyzed by The Joker. There’s little mention of Batgirl’s stint in Burnside from her most recent solo title.

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The Bensons have an intriguing plot — Batgirl learns a criminal has assumed her Oracle identity and using their extensive knowledge base to facilitate and aid crime. Execution wise? It’s a work in progress.

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Batgirl reunites with her pal Black Canary and the two track leads on this new Oracle. Meanwhile, The Huntress is back in action attempting to take down that lead permanently. The Bensons have Batgirl’s voice down. The issue’s best sequence is the opening act as Batgirl narrates how she takes down a group of criminals. The other Birds of Prey were more of a struggle for the Bensons as they find their way with Huntress and Black Canary. It’s the set up issue so the followup will be key.

This is the first Rebirth title seriously hit by continuity problems. This issue comes out after the events of Batgirl’s solo title, which don’t kick off until July 27. Black Canary has been hanging with Green Arrow in his title, but there’s no mention of him.

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Claire Roe’s art is a little rough and crude particularly with regards to facial expressions. Batgirl has pronounced features that vary from panel to panel. In some, her nose is broad in others her ears and chin are exaggerated with most characters looking especially toothy. Based on the tone of the first issue, Babs Tarr’s more playful and cartoonish style seems like it would be a better visual fit.

After a string of books meeting expectations and genuine surprises, Birds of Prey’s relaunch was somewhat disappointing. The title may be a slow starter, but for those hoping for a return to former glory this wasn’t the relaunch they were waiting on.

Rating: 4 out of 10

Image Credit: DC Comics

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