I told Julie Benson that, despite my problems with series so far, I would be reading this issue. And here’s why: I love the Birds of Prey, and regardless of how weak I thought the last two issues were, I’m convinced that the creators love them as well. The series just needs to show improvement. Thankfully, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #2 is an improvement. Not a huge improvement, but it’s a start.
Beginning with a wild car chase, Batgirl, Black Canary and Huntress join forces with Commissioner Gordon to take mobster Santo Cassamento to a safehouse. If they’re to get the information from him regarding the identity of the mysterious villain Oracle, they’ll be needing to keep him safe. However, Commissioner Gordon has his concerns and the discussion between himself and Batgirl is a tense one. Later, at the Watchtower, Batman is sent to have a chat with Batgirl too.
After being taunted by Oracle, the Birds of Prey track the IP address to a server farm. Once there the Birds of Prey find themselves racing against the clock in the form of a ticking time bomb. With Oracle continuing to evade them and with a group of killers ready to strike against Santo, can the Birds of Prey’s awkward teamwork keep them alive and lead them to success?
Yes, once again there are moments of mediocrity with this issue, from painfully weak character portrayals to some woeful dialogue. Commissioner Gordon looks like an ass who’s willing to let someone in police custody be interrogated by a vigilante he doesn’t even know. Batman is so dumb that he doesn’t bother to make the point that Batgirl has taken her mask off in front of Huntress, a huge no-no. Likewise, Huntress apparently plans to break the laws of physics with a crossbow as she guards her teammates from a ridiculously long distance.
Then there’s the ticking timebomb scene.
What could have been a scene full of tension is let down by some of the worst pacing and biggest plot holes possible. Oracle has led them into a trap with a bomb placed… in clear sight. Instead of a camera to watch them and a remote detonator to ensure their deaths, it’s… a timebomb. Because of a tripwire it can’t be defused, but it can be easily removed from the wall so presumably it doesn’t a mercury tilt switch built in. So does Black Canary run outside with it to dispose of it? No. She leaves it in the building and…
However, all the problems this time seem a little less obvious because of the faster pace. Which isn’t to say they aren’t still there, it’s just that the suspension of disbelief is a little better this time around. The art is an improvement too, although there’s still a lack of flow and the placing of characters during the action sequences makes no sense.
All in all it’s one small step forward for Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, but it still needs to make that giant leap if it’s going to make history.