Review – Birds of Prey #1: A New Squad Takes Flight

Comic Books DC This Week
Birds of Prey #1 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Birds of Prey #1 – Kelly Thompson, Writer; Leonardo Romero, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist

Ray – 10/10

Ray: Few bits of news made me more excited than the announcement that Kelly Thompson (the acclaimed writer of Captain Marvel and Hawkeye, plus the creator of the most important new character in the last decade, Jeff the baby land shark) was coming to DC—and giving Birds of Prey a new a-list start. Add in the fact that Cassandra Cain is one of the flagship characters, and I was sold—even if Cass and Black Canary were joined by an oddball trio of Big Barda, Zealot, and Harley Quinn. But any minor quibbles I might have had with the choice of characters are gone after reading this phenomenal first issue, which not only perfectly establishes the team but picks up on some long-gone plotlines that I never expected to see again.

Fight night. Via DC Comics.

The biggest is one of the main missing threads of Black Canary’s history—her adopted daughter Sin (now referred to as her sister), who Dinah gave up to protect years back. But now Sin is in danger, and Dinah needs an elite squad to rescue her from an unknown fate. But this squad can’t include Dinah’s most trusted allies—either Ollie or Barbara. Instead, it includes people with more of an edge. Cass is the first recruit, amid a dazzling fight sequence that shows Romero’s art at its kinetic best. Cass then recruits Big Barda (and kicks off one of the most unlikely comedy duos I’ve seen in a while) and Dinah recruits Zealot (who still feels like the odd character out here, but I’m sure that Thompson has a very clear plan for why she picked her).

Then there’s Harley, who is as odd a pick as she seems. But she’s being recruited for her chaotic energy, and that is exactly what Cass shows in a flashback that starts out intense and turns hilarious. The thing about this first issue is, every time I think I know where it’s going, it surprises me. The collecting of the team is an old trope, but this might be the most entertaining execution of it I’ve ever seen. And then there’s the last few pages, where we find out where Sin is being held—a huge twist in its own right—and a new player with a surprising and fan-pleasing identity is introduced. This is easily one of the best first issues I remember out of DC in a long time, and it’s clear Thompson already loves and knows this universe. This could be a match made in absolute creative heaven.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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